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Soccer Claims Second GWC Tournament Championship
Nov. 7, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. - A goal by Regan Clifford just 12 seconds into the second overtime sent Utah Valley to a 2-1 win over Houston Baptist in the 2011 Great West Conference Tournament championship game on Monday.
With the teams locked in a 1-1 tie after 100 minutes of action, Clifford took the opening kick of the second overtime and lofted the ball over the goalkeeper's head for the game-winning - and championship-ending - goal.
"Both teams came out fired up and put each other under a lot of pressure," said UVU head coach Brent Anderson. "We stepped onto the field for the second overtime and asked the players to be shooters and Regan got it and took a 40-yard shot and dropped it in just under the bar."
Houston Baptist (11-9-1) took an early lead with an 11th-minute goal from Molly Missimer on a header from Kelsey Missimer. The Wolverines (12-8-1) tied it in the 32nd minute when senior Ashley Burdett's header found the back of the net following a free kick by Lexi Dunn.
The game was then tied for nearly 70 minutes before Clifford - the tournament's MVP - scored her seventh goal of the season to end it.
"We knew this was going to be a battle. We've been in the position many times, where we've been down a goal, and the girls knew how to respond. I'm just really proud of this team," said Anderson.
The shots were nearly even, with the Huskies holding a slight 21-20 edge overall and 8-6 on goal. Jadeshia Colebrook played the first 45 minutes in goal for UVU and had four saves while Lauren Sack got her 10th win after playing the final 55 minutes. Sack was credited with one save, which came on a potential game-winner for HBU by Cindy Hedden with just five minutes left in regulation.
The win is UVU's second tournament championship in the league's first three years and caps a season in which the program also won the GWC regular season title and set a school record with its 12 wins on the year. It's the program's third conference tournament championship including the United Soccer Conference tournament title in 2007.
Seniors Burdett, Camille Broderick, Brianne Larsen Bastian, Jaime Lyons and Kaitlyn Thomas all played a significant role in their final game for UVU. Broderick and Bastian both played all 100 minutes, as did Dunn, a sophomore, and junior Kelsey Kimball Cook. Cook joined Burdett, Lyons and Clifford on the All-Tournament Team.
"The girls trained hard over the summer and played hard all season," said Anderson. "We played some very tough teams in preparation for this tournament. I'm just proud of how they responded. The girls had a strong belief they could win the regular season championship and come out and win the tournament."
In 2012, the Wolverines will return five all-conference performers including Clifford, who in October married former UVU baseball player and 2011 GWC Baseball Tournament MVP Chris Benson. The conference's offensive player and newcomer of the Year Natalie Young and defensive player of the year Lauren Sack also return as well as Cook and Dunn.