Women's Premier Soccer League News

FC Indiana  Becomes First Expansion Team to Win WPSL Title
August 2, 2005

Stars Shine in Classic National Championship Match

AGAWAM, MA - FC Indiana overcame a goal and assist by United States Olympian Brandi Chastain, to win the Women‚s Premier Soccer League‚s National Championship over the defending champion, California Storm. In what is certain to go down as one of the best women‚s soccer matches in the league‚s history, FC Indiana defeated the Storm 4-4 (4-3) on penalty kicks. „This is the kind of game that sustains women‚s soccer,š stated Chastain.

The underrated team from Goshen came out fast and furious against the defending champs. Indiana struck first on the 20th minute on a goal by Paty Perez. The Mexican international and WPSL tournament Most Valuable Player took a feed from Caroline Smith (University of Kansas) and rifled a shot past Storm goalie Brittany Gillespie (University of Mississippi). The defending Goalkeeper of the Year had no chance at stopping the blast. At the mid-way point of the first half it appeared that the defending champions would suffer the same fate as the host team, the New England Mutiny, who fell 4-0 the previous evening.

However, veterans Chastain and Brazilian star Sissi, along with U.S. National Team player Leslie Osborne were able to settle the team down. California evened the match in the 31st minute on an amazing goal. Chastain took a feed by the right side of the penalty box and delivered a low cross to the Storm‚s Annii Magliulo. The UNLV striker dove head first at the cross, but overran it. In mid-air, Magliulo flicked the back of her right heal; delivering the ball into the lower right corner of the goal past Indiana keeper Nikki Westfall (Notre Dame). „In 31 years of playing soccer that goal ranks in the top five for goals scored. And I have seen a lot of goals scored in that time,š commented Chastain. Five minutes later Chastain would score a goal of her own. California‚s Sissi ran onto a through ball on the left side of the goal. The Brazilian international chipped Westfall, but the ball struck the crossbar. The ever-present Chastain ran in and headed the rebound into goal. Three minutes later Chastain would strike again receiving a through pass from Osborne, but the goal was called back for an offside.

FC Indiana regrouped after the disallowed goal and answered the Storm‚s onslaught. Tasha St. Louis from the Trinidad & Tobago National team was on the receiving end of Perez‚ cross and headed the ball sharply inside the lower left post to send the teams into the locker room knotted at two goals apiece.

FC Indiana would regain the lead just six minutes into the second frame. Holly Gault (University of Kansas) picked up a lose ball inside the 18 and sent a right-footed shot past the diving Gillespie. The scored remained 3-2 with the Storm applying relentless pressure in the game‚s final minutes. Storm head coach Jerry Zanelli sent seven players forward. With just 12 seconds remaining in stoppage time the Sacramento-based team got their miracle. Chelsea Hunt (University of San Francisco) rocketed a left-footed shot into the right side of the goal past Westfall, stunning Indiana and sending the crowd into frenzy. Just seconds later the whistle blew; officially sending the game into overtime. The overtime period was just as frenetic as the game‚s first 90 minutes. The majority of the crowd had left the stands to surround the barricade around the field to witness the eventual winner. Just five minutes into the first overtime period, FC Indiana went ahead on a goal by Smith. The Kansas product collected a blast from Perez from 40 yards out that rang off the crossbar and nestled it home for what appeared to be the Championship-winning goal. However, the Storm showed the heart of a champion and equalized in 102nd minute as Magliulo headed in a cross from Osborne, sending the Storm players into a joyous celebration. The amazed crowd could still not believe what they were seeing. University of Connecticut head coach Len Tsantiris, who witnessed all four games over the weekend, stated the Championship match was „better than a WUSA game. Both teams played with skill, speed and passion. This was fantastic.š

The second overtime would not produce a winner and forced the penalty shootout. Sissi and Kim Yokers (UC Berkeley) would convert the first two opportunities for the Storm. Likewise, Fatima Leyva (Mexican National Team) and Smith converted their shots. Westfall then saved Keri Sanchez‚ (San Jose Cyberrays) attempt. Perez converted for Indiana to give them the 1-up advantage. In an ironic twist of fate, Chastain would miss the fourth attempt for the Storm. Gillespie would keep the Storm alive by saving Hishamar Falconer‚s (Jamaican National Team) penalty. Annika Schmidt (University of San Francisco) converted for the Storm, thus setting the stage for Aivi Luik (Australia) to win it for Indiana, which she did and sending the Indiana bench onto the field in celebration. „What an exciting game. It‚s the kind of game that you could play all night long and it would still end in a tie,š commented WPSL Commissioner and Storm coach Jerry Zanelli. „This was a great game and the Mutiny [host team] put on a great event and have a terrific organization. We would love to come here again,š commented Indiana‚s head coach Shek Borkowski. The crowd that numbered 3,203 for the weekend would applaud both teams on the „classic.š A large number of fans stayed afterwards to get pictures and autographs with Chastainųan icon in women‚s soccer.

In the third-place game, the New England Mutiny defeated the Steel City Sparks 2-1. The game-winner was scored by Rebekah Splaine (Boston Breakers) off a cross from Naomi Stone (Carolina Courage). Sara Arseneault (Slippery Rock) tied the match just before halftime after Jenny Maurer (Boston College) put the host team in front in the 11th minute. The Mutiny ended their season 14-1-0.
 

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