PHOENIX — Sometimes, in championship situations, it is the most unlikely of players who step up and make the biggest plays possible.
For the Utah Valley University women's soccer team, the first goal of freshman Siri Dahl's career was just that play.
Trailing 1-0 in the 89th minute of the Western Athletic Conference championship match, Dahl took a pass from Breanna McCarter in the penalty area and put the ball in the back of the net to tie the match at 1.
Dahl's goal forced extra time between the Wolverines and Redhawks. Despite numerous shots by both teams, the score remained tied after extra time.
This championship match was to be determined by penalty kicks.
Breann DeWaal, Libby Weber and Tori Smith went 3-for-3, goalkeeper Brooklyn Nielsen forced three Seattle University misses and UVU walked away as WAC champion with a 3-1 advantage in penalty kicks.
It is the second WAC title in three years for the UVU women and is the first under first-year head coach Chris Lemay. Lemay was hired Feb. 21, 2017.
"This is hard to describe," Lemay said. "We've had some ups and downs over the course of the entire season but we always truly believed that we were capable of winning this championship. This is what we wanted and set out to do from day one and we went out and achieved it today. It feels unbelievable today. All the credit goes to our players for continuing to battle all year long. I'm extremely happy and proud."
The Wolverines outshot the Redhawks 20-11 with a 5-2 advantage on goal.
After starting the season with a brutal nonconference schedule and a 3-0 conference loss at WAC regular season champion UMKC, UVU has gone 6-1-1, and that tie resulted in a penalty kick advantage to win the WAC tournament.
UVU came into the tournament as the No. 2 seed and defeated sixth-seeded Grand Canyon 1-0 on Friday night at GCU Stadium in Phoenix.
Now at 10-11-1 overall on the 2017 season, the UVU women await their next opponent in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection Show takes place Monday with the time to be announced.
Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias
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