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Women's Soccer: 'Eaters slip by 49ers

Wood's penalty kick with 55 seconds left in second overtime breaks scoreless tie to push UCI into second in Big West.

October 21, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

LONG BEACH — In an up-and-down season, there remained a few things the UC Irvine women's soccer team could count on. One was senior Rachel Wood's penalty kicks.

Wood, a senior transfer from North Carolina, converted her fifth penalty kick of the season with 55 seconds left in the second overtime to cap the Anteaters' 1-0 Big West Conference victory over host Long Beach State on Saturday.

It's the fourth straight time UCI (9-8-1, 5-1-1 in conference) has won the regular-season meeting between the two teams that have combined to win five of the last six Big West regular-season and conference tournament titles.

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The victory extends the Anteaters' win streak to three games. It also lifts the two-time-defending conference regular-season champions into second place with one Big West match remaining. UCI's 16 points (three points for a conference win and one for a tie) are topped only by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's 17 through Saturday.

Long Beach State (11-6, 4-3) remains tied for fourth place with Cal State Fullerton (12 points each, one point behind Cal State Northridge). The 49ers, who have won the last two Big West Tournament crowns by topping UCI in the title game, have two conference matches remaining to try to secure a spot in the four-team conference tournament, held this year at UCI on Nov. 1 and Nov. 4.

UCI meets Cal State Northridge (one of eight conference teams in action on Sunday) on Friday at home at 7 p.m. to complete its regular season.

It appeared Saturday's game, in front of a Long Beach State-record home crowd of 1,304, would be completed without a score.

But UC Irvine senior Mar Rodriguez fired a shot at the top of the 18-yard box that glanced off a defender and the referee whistled a hand ball in the box on the 49ers.

The result was a penalty shot that Wood, who is playing through an ankle injury that not only requires her to miss practice, but to wear a boot whenever she is not playing in games, buried it in the 119th minute.

Long Beach goalkeeper Marrina Meyers lunged to her right in an ill-fated guess to try to make what would have been her first save.

It's the fifth goal of the season, the second game-winner, for Wood, who came to UCI to play forward, but was shifted back to defender (her position at UNC) due to the ankle injury that has hampered her for weeks.

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