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Hernandez Marquez Golden Goal Lifts Cal Poly to 3-2 OT Win Over UCI

Hernandez Marquez Golden Goal Lifts Cal Poly to 3-2 OT Win Over UCI

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly sophomore Monserrat Hernandez Marquez scored a 94th-minute golden goal at Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Friday night, lifting the Mustang women's soccer team to a 3-2 comeback overtime victory over UC Irvine in Big West Conference play.

Although the first half saw a combined 13 shots, neither side could get on the board before the break.

The Anteaters (still with 10 BWC points via 3-3-1; 4-12-1 overall), who came into the day in the hunt for either the 3 or 4 seed to the upcoming Conference Tournament, moved in front in the 53rd minute, when Piper Wurth put away a cross from Amber Huff right in front of the goal.

Cal Poly would play spoiler to UCI's postseason hopes on the evening, though, first pulling level in the 59th minute. Camille Lafaix was taken down by an Anteater defender just above the end line, earning a penalty. Jordan Patane stepped to the spot and for the third time this fall, cashed in a PK opportunity to equalize.

The Mustangs (now upon 8 points in the conference table, at 2-3-2; 5-10-3 overall) then took the lead in the 72nd minute, as Georgina Stiegeler buried a rebound of a Lafaix attempt which was saved by UCI keeper Maddie Newsom just in front of the left post, making it 2-1.

UC Irvine answered just five minutes later, however, when Newsom found Aleah Kelley for a header, which she redirected down to Kala McDaniel for another equalizer.

Both teams had chances to pull back in front again toward the end of regulation, but Olivia Ortiz's 78th-minute shot angled just wide of the post for Cal Poly, and UCI's Alex Jaquez tried a header with just under a minute to play before extra time, only to see Mustang goalkeeper Sophia Brown snatch it out of the air and force OT.

Only half a minute into overtime, Hernandez Marquez actually had a first look at a potential game-winner, but she shot over the bar. Her second possession of OT would be the last, however, putting Cal Poly in a position to move to .500 in Big West play later this weekend.

Mustang freshman Nikki Trucco started the game-ending sequence turning back into the pitch along the left side of the box, sliding a pass to Hernandez Marquez right along the 18-yard line marker. Hernandez Marquez settled the ball and on her second touch blasted a strike over the heads of two UCI defenders and beyond the diving extended reach of Newsom, perfectly into the upper-right corner of the net to seal the victory.

Hernandez Marquez, a grad of Aptos High from Watsonville who also played for the Santa Cruz County Breakers Club, began the week having played in every game this year (with three starts), averaging just over 31 minutes per match while placing five shots on goal.

Although the seeds are still to-be-determined, the field is now set for the four-team 2019 Big West Tournament, as Cal State Fullerton and CSUN are tied for first upon 15 points heading into their regular-season finale battle on Sunday, while UC Santa Barbara and Hawai'i, each with 14 points, both also enter the last day with a chance of a regular-season banner (which this season would include hosting rights for the Nov. 7-10 tournament on deck).

Cal Poly, which was mathematically eliminated from the Big West Tournament Thursday night due to Hawai'i topping UC Davis, goes into Sunday now with a chance of finishing the year in fifth place, just one spot back of advancing.
The Mustangs stay at home to close out the season Sunday afternoon, welcoming UC Riverside to Spanos Stadium for a 2 p.m. kickoff. Admission is free for kids 13-&-under.

Photos Courtesy © Juventino Ortiz