SEATTLE - Seattle University women's soccer outlasted Utah Valley, 2-1, as Jessie Ray scored in the 99th minute to lift the Redhawks to the 2019 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Championship. Leahi Manthei tied the match late in regulation and then Ray won it in the first OT session as SU claimed its fifth WAC Tournament title and second straight.
"I'm so incredibly proud of every single player on this team," said Coach Julie Woodward. "UVU gave us a battle today and I love how our team responded. Our seniors provided such great leadership today both on and off the field. I'm honored to be associated with every single individual on this team."
The Redhawks will await their NCAA Tournament opponent next. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be held on Monday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific.
The teams looked to settle at the start of the contest. The midfield was busy in the early going, but UVU began to get the better of the action as the half wore on. SU was pressured on both ends of the field and in the 32nd minute, a Wolverine break ended in a goal. Amber Tripp struck a hard left-footed shot into the top half of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
SU looked better after that, pushing ahead with energy from the Redhawks entering off the bench. Despite testing the UVU back line for the final 10 minutes, Seattle U was unable to tie and the visitors grabbed a 1-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Seattle U showed why it won the WAC regular-season crown. It controlled the flow of play and worked to tie the contest. A goal was disallowed by a foul midway through the frame, but the Redhawks were undeterred. Finally, in the 86th minute, SU struck. Rachel Bowler's free kick landed in the box, where a scrum ensued. Mikaela Morey headed a ball down toward the goal line, where Manthei came in and hammered home the equalizer.
The teams settled for overtime and neither side posted much offense in the session. In the 99th minute, Olivia Ovenell sent a looping ball towards the box, where Ray corralled it and smashed a shot into the left side of the net to ignite pandemonium at Championship Field.
Ray's goal is the first golden goal in a WAC Championship Game since 2008.
Coach Julie Woodward has now won five WAC Tournament crowns to go with five WAC regular-season titles since 2013. The Redhawks will make their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance next weekend.