Anteaters advance

Women's Soccer

Hardeman's goal in 64th minute propels UCI into Big West tournament title game against rival 49ers.

November 03, 2011|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — A lengthy individual run that UC Irvine women's soccer coach Scott Juniper said he had been waiting for all season helped deliver a championship rematch the Anteaters have been longing for since last November.

UCI senior outside defender Amanda Hardeman sprinted most of the length of the field to be in position to score the game-winning goal in a 1-0 triumph over visiting UC Davis in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament on Wednesday night.

The victory, the seventh in a row for No. 24-ranked UCI (14-3-2), creates a matchup against Long Beach State in Sunday's tournament final, set for noon at UCI.


Long Beach State (14-5-1), which topped Cal State Northridge, 2-0, in the other semifinal Wednesday afternoon, upset UCI in last year's tournament final, 1-0.

UCI, the regular-season conference champion, defeated second-place Long Beach State, 2-0, at home on Oct. 16.

"Long Beach is the biggest rivalry we have and exactly 12 months ago Sunday, we lost," said UCI senior defender Sarah Devine, who helped the 'Eaters record their sixth shutout during the winning streak. "We lost that game and watched [the 49ers] hold the trophy up. And this year, that's just not acceptable. It's not going to happen. I'm not going to sit there and watch them hold my trophy. It's ours. It's for Irvine."

Davis (11-7-1), which tied UCI in their previous meeting on Sept. 30 at Davis, made things difficult for the hosts.

UCI finished with a 14-8 advantage in shots and a 7-2 edge in corner kicks. The Anteaters controlled most of the play and opened the scoring in the 64th minute when Hardeman scored her second goal of the season on an assist by senior All-American inside back CoCo Goodson.

"It was an awesome effort by CoCo and Amanda," Devine said of the goal, which was Hardeman's second game-winner of 2011. "[Hardeman] just brings passion to our back line and you could see it in that run. She's the fastest runner on our team every time we do fitness and she just ran 70 yards and scored a goal. The defense really came through, literally."

Juniper said Hardeman's goal, a blast from 10 yards out on the right side, was indeed timely.

"She's fantastic," Juniper said of Hardeman, who had one shot and two assists as a junior, when the Santiago Canyon Community College transfer played in 19 games, all off the bench. "We've been trying to get her to make that run all season. I couldn't see her finish very well [from the bench], but it looked top class."

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