THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.- Three first half goals propelled Cal Lutheran to a comfortable 4-1 win over UC Santa Cruz in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship, Saturday night at William Rolland Stadium.
The Regals advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will await the winner of tonight's contest between Emory (Ga.) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for a chance to earn their spot in the Sweet Sixteen.
UCSC may have outshot Cal Lutheran 12-9 on the night, but the Banana Slugs could not muster much more than a half chance as most of their scoring opportunities came from outside the penalty area. The Regals were clinical with their chances, placing six of their nine shots on target.
CLU were the dominant side as they quickly bagged three goals in the span of 12 minutes to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
Danielle Vis opened the scoring in the 3rd minute when Maddy Griess headed a clearance from the UCSC goalkeeper into the box. Vis showed great instinct to run on to the bouncing ball in the box and strike it cleanly with her left foot to thrust her team out in front. This was the fourth goal of the season for the junior.
In the 12th minute, Cal Lutheran scored two goals in rapid succession as Aly Legrand netted her first goal of the season from a ball that was lofted into the box and bounced over the keeper's head to double the lead. Less than a minute later, Mandy Crawford made a brilliant run and blasted her shot from 25 yards and rocketed it into the back of the net to make it a three-goal advantage.
The Regals felt confident heading into the break with a 3-0.
However, the Banana Slugs got a goal back through Karina Bulli to show a sign of life in the 53rd minute.
CLU were quick to respond as they were awarded a penalty kick in the 55th minute. Senior Zandra Stewart stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly slotted it home to restore the three-goal lead.
After some solid defending for the remaining minutes of play, the Regals cruised to a 4-1 win to advance to the next round.
Putting in a great performance in the midfield was Sonia Chan. The excellent sophomore midfielder controlled the middle of the pitch with her dribbling ability and incisive passes to create scoring opportunities for her forwards.
Tallying shots on goal for the Regals were Crawford (2), Griess, Vis, Stewart and Legrand.
Cal Lutheran will await the winner of Saturday night's first round game between Emory (Ga.) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Box Score: CLU 4, UCSC 1
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director