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STORY BY JAIME SCHROEDER-ISU MEDIA RELATIONS
POCATELLO, Idaho – The Idaho State soccer team is heading to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 as the Bengals defeated the University of Montana Grizzlies 4-3 in penalty kicks after both teams tied 0-0 at the end of regulation and two overtimes. Freshman goalkeeper Sheridan Hapsic stopped three of UM’s penalty kicks helping ISU take the game and earning Hapsic Big Sky All-Tournament MVP honors.
“She [Sheridan] is unbelievable,” ISU Head Coach Allison Gibson said. “The kid has always been a strong player and had a lot of confidence. We saw her take off right at the beginning of conference and she has never looked back. She has gained more and more confidence every single game. Not all goalkeepers love penalty kicks. She loves penalty kicks. That is her environment. She thrives. It was awesome for us to have her in goal at that moment.”
This is the fifth Big Sky Tournament title for the Bengals as ISU took home the crown in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006 as well. Gibson’s second Big Sky title as she led the Bengals to a Big Sky Tournament Championship in her first year in 2006. The five Big Sky Tournament titles is the most for any Big Sky team as Montana and Idaho State each had four going into today’s contest.
“We finally built something here,” Gibson said. “It has taken me a while to get it to where I’d like it to be. I think it is finally here and I want to keep it consistent and to keep winning conference championships and not go up and down. I did inherit that entire group in 2006 and it was awesome but this year means more to me because these are the kids I recruited playing the system that we taught them. This means a lot more to me.”
Idaho State defended its home pitch at Davis Field as the Bengals completed the 2012 season with a 7-0 record in Pocatello. ISU also maintains its record of not allowing any other Big Sky team to win a Big Sky title at Davis Field.
Sunday’s championship game featured a strong defensive effort from both squads as neither team allowed a goal for 120 minutes. Hapsic recorded three saves during the contest while Montana’s Kristen Hoon had two.
Idaho State’s Allyssa Kenney had one shot on goal as did sophomore defender Mikaela Carrillo. The Grizzlies had three shots on goal during the contest with defender Lauren Costa, midfielder Tyler Adair and Chloe Torres each had one.
The Bengals had five players named to the all-tournament team including Hapsic. Junior defender Allyson Stainbrook, sophomore forward Amanda Ellsworth, freshman defender Vanessa Cabilan and senior midfielder Anna Pingree were also named Big Sky All-Tournament.
ISU will learn where it goes in the first round of the NCAA Division I College Cup Monday, Nov. 5 during the Division I Women’s Soccer Selection Show. The show will be available live at NCAA.com and begins at 2:30 MST.
Allison Gibson Quotes
We had a great talk the morning after the Weber State game and got really passionate. We knew we were that good and could go this direction or another direction. I asked them to trust the system and the process. Why not? Let’s risk it, give it everything we have and see where it takes us. They did and they never looked back. The soccer hasn’t always been pretty but these guys find a way to win. It is unbelievable and I am so proud to be a part of them.
I was really nervous and I couldn’t bring myself out of it. I told my coaches they are celebrating in their locker room before the game and we are celebrating in ours. I said they have the same record as we do and we tied them the last time we played them. It is going to be a championship game but the one thing I want to make sure is that we don’t let them out coach us. I needed to be separated from the team so I didn’t get locked up in the emotion.
Every ounce. It was crazy. I kept looking at the shots and it was like really it is 2-1. Championship games are so completely differently. It is the first team that blinks is going home.
It is something you have to prepare for and we did a really good job of preparing for it. Yes it is soccer like but it is totally the mental game at that point.
It was our pregame motivation. I went through every single senior that was a part of the 2009 team. I said no matter what happens today this is their last game on Davis Field. Let’s take them out on top. The seniors mean the world to me and are so awesome. I am so glad they get to put a ring on their fingers.