Boise State, San Diego State Ready For 2013 MW Women's Soccer Championship Final

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There’s a lot on the line for both Boise State and San Diego State as each team prepares for Saturday’s 2013 Mountain West Women’s Soccer Championship final at 1 p.m. MT from the UNM Soccer Complex on the grounds of the University of New Mexico.

Not only does the winner take home the MW Championship tournament trophy, they also earn the Conference’s automatic bid into next week’s 2013 NCAA tournament.

“There’s always pressure when you get to this point of the season,” said Boise State coach Jim Thomas, whose third-seeded Broncos defeated No. 7 Wyoming 3-0 in the second round and No. 2 Fresno State 2-1 (2 OT) in the semifinals to reach the championship. “San Diego State is a really good team. We’re excited to play against a team with the same system as ours.”

The No. 3 Broncos (13-6-3) and No. 1 Aztecs (12-6-2) each had to overcome a bit of adversity in the semifinals to advance to the championship match. For Boise State, it was recovering from surrendering an own goal that evened its match with No. 2 Fresno State midway through the second half. The Broncos weathered the storm and with just over a minute left to play in the second overtime, won the match 2-1 on a goal by sophomore midfielder/forward KT Clayton.

San Diego State, the regular-season champion and No. 1 seed in the tournament, twice had to rally back from one-goal deficits to slip past No. 5 Utah State 3-2. Albuquerque, N.M. native Victoria Barba ultimately proved to be the difference, as she had a hand in all three Aztecs’ goals. The sophomore midfielder assisted on the first, scored a beauty of a goal on a blast from 25 yards out that evened the match, and assisted on Hannah Keane’s game-winning goal in the 74th minute.

“Any time you can come back two times in a game is nice,” said San Diego State’s head coach Mike Friesen. The Aztecs won the regular-season and tournament titles in 2012. “I think it does really work to our advantage so that if it happens again on Saturday, we know we can (come back).”

In the teams’ lone regular season meeting, San Diego State slipped past Boise State 1-0. It was the only time in Conference play where the Broncos were held without a goal. Both coaches expect more scoring chances in the rematch, and agreed that the midfield battle could ultimately tip the scales in one team’s favor.

“I have a lot of confidence in our midfield with Mikhaila Bowden and Hailey DeVries,” Thomas said. “San Diego State’s midfield is so much fun to watch. They create a lot of chances, so it’ll be a fun contrast to see how we handle that.”

“Boise State has shown that they are great with set pieces,” Friesen said. “(Katy Oehring) is someone we’re going to have to deal with, for sure. It should be a well-matched game, very similar teams and styles. It was a battle the last game and I’m sure this one will be, too.”

You can watch tomorrow’s championship match live and for free on the Mountain West Network http://www.themw.com/#!/watch-live.