RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Get ready Alabama. There's a group of California girls coming in two weeks.
All-American Fabiola Zanella da Silva made a strong case for her garnering her second All-American honor with two goals 10 minutes apart late in the second half, and the 11th-seed Lancers held on for a gritty, 3-2, win over Northwood (Texas) in the 2010 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship Opening Round Saturday.
The win is the Lancers' third straight national tournament opening round win and sends them to the final site in Decatur, Ala., again. And with some questionable tournament positioning by the NAIA that has all three GSAC teams in the same quarter of the bracket, the Lancers will next play The Master's in a round of 16 match Tuesday Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. (PST).
"Obviously, we're excited and thrilled to get the win," said CBU
Head Coach Kristen St. Clair, who has taken the Lancers to three national
tournaments in her four seasons at the helm. "We were hungry and aggressive and
did good things on both sides of the ball. The weather made it challenging, but
the players didn't let it affect them. They adjusted during the game and handled
the ebbs and flows quite well."
They improve to 14-5-2 overall, while Northwood has its season come to an end at 15-4-1.
The Lancers out-shot the Knights by a whopping 26-5 but the Knights were able to score on two of their five shots. Nine of the Lancers' 26 shots were on frame.
"This was a tough first round game," said St. Clair. "Northwood is a good team otherwise they wouldn't be here, but our experience and performance came through. Our goal is to compete for a national title, and we took another step today."
Kylee Nicassio scored and had an assist for the Lancers.
Northwood seemingly had one of the NAIA's top defenses from a statistical standpoint having not allowed in a goal in its past 11 games. It was second in the NAIA with 13 shutouts.
All that ended just 5:07 into the contest when the Lancers scored on a beautiful build up. Kitra Walters played a ball out to the left to Jacquelyn Witz, who sent a perfect left-footed cross to the area. Nicassio rose up and headed home her team-leading 12th goal of the year. All three Lancers involved in the play are all-conference honorees.
That lead was short-lived, however, as the Knights equalized in the 21st minute. Natalie Carter crossed a ball from the left that squirted off Lancer keeper Nicoline Jorgensen and right to Kristin Laborde, who ran onto it and tucked in what was probably the easiest of her seven goals this year.
The game remained deadlocked for the next 55 minutes until da Silva took over. Her first goal came in the 76th when she got a nice pass from Nicassio and beat Northwood keeper Lyndzey Goff to the far post. Then in the 86th, Beth Johnson took a free kick. The ball settled at da Silva's feet right in the middle of the area, and she tucked away her second of the game.
"Fabiola is a special player," said St. Clair. "She is so dangerous. She creates opportunities for herself and her teammates, giving us dangerous options in the attacking third."
Northwood got a late goal at the 88:19 mark when Heather Mathison headed in a corner kick.