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Sounders Women advance to championship final

By WPSL Communications, 07/21/18, 1:00PM CDT


Seattle Sounders Women, white jerseys, won 1-0 vs. Fire & Ice SC during Saturday's WPSL semifinal match in Norman, Oklahoma. [Seattle Sounders Women]

NORMAN, Oklahoma — Mireya Grey scored in the match’s only goal in the 52nd minute as Seattle Sounders Women defeated Fire & Ice SC (St. Louis) 1-0 during the second Women’s Premier Soccer League match Saturday morning.

The Sounders will play Pensacola FC in Sunday’s WPSL Championship match at Gordon Drummond Field in Norman. Kickoff is at noon, and admission is free.

India Jencks assisted Grey on the goal. Grey is a University of Washington sophomore.

Fire & Ice SC, the 2017 WPSL champions, threatened only once, but it was a 71st minute screamer that caught everyone’s attention. Kirsten Crabtree, initially appearing content on dribbling the ball forward, suddenly fired a left-footed shot from 35-yards that caught Seattle keeper Jaelyn Cunningham by surprise.

Crabtree’s shot violently ricocheted off the left post and then into the crossbar before deflecting back in front of goal where a trailing Sounders defender was able to clear the ball away from goal.

“We knew coming in that they would be motivated to repeat as champions, but we used that as motivation for ourselves as well,” Sounders coach Scott Ford said. “We wanted to be the team to knock them out so we could seal our own journey and quest to try to be a champion.”

Seattle Sounders Women controlled the entire first half but was unable to break the scoreless deadlock. Seattle had four first-half scoring chances compared to none for Fire & Ice SC.

Pascale Dumesnil was unlucky not to score in the 13th minute. Her shot from 15 yards out deflected and trickled behind Fire & Ice goalkeeper Kindra Lierz, but midfielder Cassie Kaiping desperately cleared the ball as it began to roll over the line.

Grey had three rapid-fire shots on goal in the 26th minute. Lierz saved two immediately with a Fire & Ice defender comfortably clearing Grey’s final rebound shot off the line.

“It was a game of two halves,” Ford said. “In the first half I thought we were probably the better team, and in the second half I thought they came out aggressive. It put us under a lot of pressure and played some good soccer.

“But we defended well, stayed organized and compact between the lines. We should great pride, grit and determination to see us through the end.”

Seattle Sounders Women is making its first WPSL Championship match appearance. Pensacola FC played in last year’s final and has qualified for championship weekend four of the past six seasons.

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