Fifty fans stormed center field to embrace the women’s soccer team after a hard-fought and aggressive win over Pacific on Sunday, where the mindset was “don’t get mad, get even.”
After trailing by two points in a game full of high contact and emotions, Gonzaga found the power to win the match 4-3 in overtime.
“I think that what you saw in the game is just the continued pressure we put on them,” Head Coach Amy Edwards said.
The Tigers got off to a 3-1 lead, with the first goal off a penalty kick.
But the Zags came alive in the second half and took the game.
The thrilling match-up was the Bulldogs’ final home game of the season, where they celebrated and honored the team’s nine graduating seniors.
Prior to the start of the game, the seniors stood at center field with their families to honor their accomplishments over the past four years, but the real celebration took place during the game.
All four Gonzaga goals were scored by seniors.
Forward Sydney Anderson scored her first goal of the season in the 80th minute to get the Zags within one point of Pacific. Midfielder Kelly Bieraugel scored the game winning goal 57 seconds into overtime, but the hero of the game was defender Aliyah Miller.
Miller first put the Zags on the board in the 61st minute off a header. Then, with 42 seconds left in regulation, she scored the game tying goal that sent the game into overtime.
“To win this sort of game feels awesome, especially on senior day,” Miller said. “Honestly, I am just glad I could make a difference on the field and help the team get the win.
”During her freshman year, the Utah native was one of three freshmen to play in all 19 games. She came back her next two seasons and started all 19 games, as well as earned All-WCC Honorable Mention.
“[Looking back], there’s a lot that I’ve accomplished,” Miller said. “But just going through the ups and downs with this team and coming back like we did in this game is a huge accomplishment. This is an amazing team that I don’t think I could find anywhere else. I’m really going to miss this team and playing on this beautiful field.”
Other seniors that played their last game on Lugar Field included Sarah Carter, Kristin Standish, Ashley Aberton, Karley Baggerly, Lauren Luke, and Meg Rapp.
“I don’t think I could put everything they've done for us into words,” Edwards said. “I have been so impressed with their leadership this year and their selflessness. I think that they have been really good stewards in imparting what it means to be a Zag.
While their time playing at home is done, the Zags still have three more matches to close out the season. Their next game is October 28 at Santa Clara. They will go on to face San Francisco and BYU.
“Our work is not done,” Edwards said. “We have three games left and I will put us in any of those games. I’ve been really proud of our improvement in our play. Sometimes it hasn't shown in the results, but soccer wise, I think we continue to grow and get better. I am very optimistic in what those three final games hold for us.”