GRESHAM, Ore. — Natalie Popescu (Sr., San Jose, Calif.) fired a shot that tipped off a defender’s hand and into the cage with one second left in the fourth quarter to help Southwest Division Champion/No. 11 University of California-San Diego top host/Northwest Division Champion/No. 6 University of Washington, 7-6, and make the 2018 Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship Fifth Place game at Mt. Hood Community College.
UC-San Diego, which is making its inaugural appearance at the Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship after capturing the program’s first division crown, will take on Big Ten Division Champion/No. 13 The Ohio State University at 10:15 a.m. Pacific/1:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, in the Fifth Place game.
Trailing 3-2 at halftime, Washington pulled even 25 seconds into the third quarter as Kellie MacPhee (Gr., Encinitas, Calif.) netted the equalizer with 6:35 on the clock. However, the Tritons regained the lead as Cathleen Nguyen (Sr., Walnut, Calif.) and Kinsey Van Deynze (So., Davis, Calif.) drilled in shots at 6:05 and 4:11, respectively, to make it 5-3. Lauren Hickey (Gr., Palos Verdes, Calif.) closed out the quarter by burying a feed with 2:38 on the clock to move the Huskies back within one score at 5-4 going into the fourth quarter.
Hickey struck again 39 seconds into the final frame to balance the scoreboard at five-all, but Van Deynze pushed the Tritons back in front at 6-5 with her second goals at the 3:10 mark.
Washington once again pulled even as Mary Elizabeth Ward (Jr., San Rafael, Calif.) cashed in on a man-up bid at 2:40 to deadlock the squads at six-all and raise the spectre of overtime.