Third-Seeded Gauchos Fall in Big West Tournament Semifinal Heartbreaker to No. 2 CSUN, 1-0

Shaelan Murison (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Shaelan Murison (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FULLERTON, Calif. - Alexis White scored a goal in the 100th minute to shatter a scoreless tie and give second-seeded Cal State Northridge a 1-0 golden goal win over third-seeded UC Santa Barbara in the semifinal round of the Big West Tournament on Thursday evening at Titan Stadium.

The Gauchos (8-5-6) dominated on the offensive end for much of the match, but could not penetrate the Matador (12-6-3) defense. The loss for UCSB was just its second in its final 10 matches of the season, both coming against CSUN.

Santa Barbara finished with an 18-11 overall shot advantage and it tied in shots on goal at 8-8, but when White collected a pass from Ashley Cruz at the 99:14 mark, she pounded a beautiful shot past Gauchos goalkeeper Evann Smith, ending the contest. 

Smith, who played the final three matches as a replacement for the Gauchos' regular starter Hanna DeWeese, was outstanding in the tournament match. She recorded a career-high seven saves, including one on a penalty kick, preserving a scoreless tie and pushing the match to overtime. The OT goal was her only blemish.

Senior forward Shaelan Murison, the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, attacked the goal relentlessly in the first half, but, really, for the entire match. She finished with nine shots overall, exactly half of her team's total, and four on frame, but Matador keeper Amanda Delgado was up to the challenge as she checked in with eight saves.

Northridge will play for the conference title on Sunday, Nov. 10 against the winner of the Cal State Fullerton-Hawaii match, which will also be played on Thursday night.