Nov. 5, 2006
DALLAS, Texas - The UAB women's soccer team was crowned as the Conference USA Tournament Champions on Sunday after a 3-2 victory over fifth-seeded Colorado College in the championship match.
With the win, UAB has secured its spot in the 2006 NCAA Women's College Cup. This also marks the second conference tournament championship for the Blazers, and the third overall championship in four years. The Blazers have previously won the Conference USA regular-season championship in 2003 and the tournament title in 2004.
"This senior class has won three championships during their time here," said UAB head coach Paul Harbin. "Conference USA is a very deep tournament. I think anybody could've won it. We picked a good time to play well. This is just a tribute to how good the conference really is.
"Colorado College is a great team. They are very deserving of a berth in the NCAA tournament, as are other teams in our conference."
The Blazers, who were seeded seventh in the tournament, advanced to the championship match by topping UCF, 2-1, in the first round and outlasting Memphis in penalty kicks during the semi-final game.
"Each team we played in the tournament, we lost to during the season," said Harbin. "We were confident going in and we were familiar with our opponents. It was kind of nice to get that second chance to go back and beat some teams that we lost to during the regular season."
UAB started its scoring against Colorado College during the seventh minute of the contest when freshman Rachael Axon, who was listed on the All-Conference USA second-team and freshman squad earlier this week, knocked in her first goal of her collegiate career with an assist from junior Jenny Meyer.
The Blazers continued their attack when All-Conference USA second-team selection Sally Palmer tallied her ninth goal of the year, with Jill Porto on the assist, to make it 2-0 UAB in the 14th minute.
Colorado College got its first score of the game on an unusual own-goal to tighten the score to 2-1 during the 34th minute. The game entered halftime with the Blazers still holding the lead, 2-1.
In the second half, UAB's Porto got her fourth score of the season, assisted by freshman Danya Barsalona, during the 83rd minute to put the Blazers up by two, 3-1. Colorado College attempted a comeback when Jamie Maltman scored an unassisted goal during the 87th minute to make the score, 3-2, but they would get no closer as 3-2 was the final score, giving the Blazers the tournament title.
"I thought we played well today," said UAB head coach Paul Harbin. "We played okay in the first half, but I thought we played much better in the second half.
"During the second half, we controlled the rhythm and played a lot better. Our finishing percentage was outstanding today, which is something we have been working on."
UAB's Katie Forbis earned the win in goal, nabbing three saves and allowing two goals during her 90 minutes of play. Geneva Sills allowed three goals while taking the loss for Colorado College.
Although Colorado College out-shot the Blazers, 9-7, including a 5-3 advantage in shots-on-goal, UAB made the most of its attempts by scoring on all three of its SOG's during the match.
UAB also grabbed four spots on the Conference USA All-Tournament team. Porto was named the Offensive MVP while senior Laura Richards was honored as the Defensive MVP. Axon and Forbis were also named to the all-tournament squad.
The Blazers earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's College Cup by winning the conference tournament. The 64-team tournament pairings will be announced on ESPNEWS on Monday, November 6 between 3-4 p.m. EST.