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No. 2 Matadors sink in semifinals against No. 6 Long Beach State

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MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Northridge had two key plays at the end of the game, but was not able to capitalize on them. Matador goalie Dana Harvey had 11 saves while Sydney Sonoda (right) had one goal in game Saturday. photo credit: Herber Lovato / assistant photo editor

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – One penalty in the last period of play and one missed penalty shot in overtime made the difference in the semifinal game as CSUN failed to capitalize to make it to the Big West Championship game.

With 1:32 left in regulation and the Matadors up by one, CSUN’s Sydney Sonoda got called for a penalty in the five-meter, which allowed the 49ers to take a penalty shot that tied the game 6-6.

“It happens in games I had to change my role a little bit, because Heidi (Pettinger) had two ejections and I had to help keep her in the game because we already had lost Jessica (Goforth). I wasn’t okay that it happened, but it did,” senior Sonoda said.

No. 6 Long Beach State upset No. 2 CSUN with a 7-6 win in overtime. It was the 49ers’ third win over the Matadors this season.

With the tie at the end of regulation, the teams went into overtime, with 30 seconds off the clock, CSUN had a golden opportunity to go up by one again, but Pettinger missed on the penalty shot and on the 49ers next possession, LBSU scored, which gave it the lead.

“It was a close game all the way through. It was like whoever scored the first goal kind of pulled away and I felt we were playing catch up a little bit,” said Whitney Delgado, who had three goals in the game. “There were just certain points where there were small breakdowns and they (49ers) capitalized on it.”

The game itself was even through the first half, as both teams were playing solid defense, but 49er Lauren Sieprath scored at the 1:36 mark and with 41 seconds left, Sonoda tied the game 1-1. Pettinger collected two ejections in the first period, which shifted the momentum the rest of the game because she had to be careful not to get ejected from the game.

In a similar second period, the 49ers scored again with 3:21 to play and Northridge answered back with a goal by Delgado to make it a 2-2 game at the end of the half.

“Our defense did really well I just think we had some key breakdowns, which I thought hurt us and on the offensive end, we got called on a few offensive (fouls) that hurt us,” coach Marcelo Leonardi said.

The third period, which was a struggle for the Matadors during the season, was neck-and-neck, as both teams scored three goals. Long Beach State scored first once more at the 6:24 mark, as CSUN took two goals within a minute of each other and gave it the first lead of the game, 4-3, after Delgado scored.

Long Beach State came back, though with two goals of its own to take back the lead, 5-4, but the Matadors fought back to tie the game again at 5-5.

The Matadors lost Goforth in the beginning of the fourth on her third ejections. Both teams at early possessions called timeouts, but couldn’t capitalize with a goal. Then on a power play for Northridge, Melissa Doll gave it a 6-5 lead with 1:42 left in regulation.

Long Beach State called a timeout and once play resumed, CSUN got called on the five-meter penalty to end regulation at 6-6 to taking the game into overtime.

It took the game only one overtime period to have a winner when the 49ers capitalized in the first with a goal by Chelsea Parks at the 2:13 mark.

Leonardi said it was crucial plays in the game that ended the Matadors’ chances of making the championship game.

“Bottom line, I thought we had a chance to win it in regulation when it was 6-5, but we gave up that penalty shot, that was one, and once we got into overtime, we had two opportunities to go up, one the penalty shot in the beginning that we missed and we had a chance to tie it in the second one and we missed.

“A lot of it had to do with some fatigue and bottom line, being able to seize the moment,” Leonardi said.

Game Notes: CSUN played at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday against UC Davis for third place in the Big West Tournament. The score was not available at press time. A brief will be in Tuesday’s Daily Sundial issue… Delgado is now second place in the CSUN scoring standings… With the loss, the Matadors lose their bid for NCAA tournament. 

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