UCLA survived its first test in the NCAA Division I women's tournament, but just barely.
The Bruins needed goal-line heroics from defender Lauren Barnes, two saves from goalkeeper Chante' Sandiford and a perfect spot kick from Elise Britt to beat BYU on penalties following a 0-0 draw Thursday at Drake Stadium.
"This is the character that I've been waiting to see in this team," UCLA coach Jill Ellis told the school's website. "I was blown away by the way we competed. It's just constant belief that it can go your way, and that's honestly what it comes down to."
Burgeoning U.S. women's national-teamer Sydney Leroux nearly tallied twice for UCLA, but she hit the post at the end of the first half and was stopped on a 108th-minute breakaway.
UCLA (12-7-2), which is seeking an eighth successive College Cup final four appearance, on Saturday will face Central Florida (15-4-3), a 2-1 winner over Fresno State in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader.
The Bruins could be without star star midfielders Jenna Richmond and Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS). Richmond, a U.S. under-20 national-teamer, was stretchered off in the 17th minute with a knee injury; Wright had to be carted off 11 minutes later with an ankle injury.
UCLA put just three of 15 shots on target, but BYU needed a huge save in the 108th minute from goalkeeper McKinzie Olson, who tipped Leroux's chip shot over the crossbar.
Barnes (Upland/Upland HS) cleared shots by Jennie Marshall off the goal line in the 87th minute and with a little more than two minutes remaining in overtime to secure the shutout.
Barnes also started the Bruins toward a 3-1 lead after three rounds of penalties -- Chelsea Cline and Dana Wall also converted, and Sandiford had a simple save on BYU's Nicole Gilliam on the third kick -- but Olson stopped U-20 national-teamer Zakiya Bywaters on UCLA's fourth kick and made a foot save on freshman Natalia Ledezma (La Mirada/La Mirada HS), with the ball ricocheting off and over the crossbar, to prevent the Bruins from prevailing on the fifth round.
Sandiford made a superb save on Jessica Ringwood with BYU's sixth attempt, and Britt then converted for a 4-3 victory.
D2 DISAPPOINTMENT: No. 19 Cal State L.A. didn't last long in the NCAA Division II women's tournament, falling to underdog Montana State Billings on artificial turf in rainy Seattle. Amanda Brusic's 23-yard chip into the upper-right corner in the 66th minute carried the Yellowjackets (13-5-1), who will face host Seattle Pacific (15-1-2) in the second round Saturday.
The Golden Eagles (15-4-1) surrendered just four shots, and goalkeeper Gabriella Batmani didn't have to make a save.
"I thought we had a pretty good game," Cal State L.A. coach Chris Chamides said on the school's Web site. "We had a couple good looks at the goal, and it didn't fall for us. ... The bottom line is we don't play on turf ever, and we very, very rarely play in the rain, so it was a bit foreign to us. But having said that, full credit to them. I thought they played a good game."
REDLANDS REMATCH: Fionna Connolly scored twice, with the winner in the 71st minute, as Redlands' improbable postseason march continued with a 2-1 triumph at Chapman in an NCAA Division III women's tournament opener.
Connolly also scored in the 35th minute for the Bulldogs (11-9-0) set a date Sunday afternoon with Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Cal Lutheran (18-2-1) in Thousand Oaks. Redlands upset No. 15 Cal Lu, the regular-season champ, and Occidental to win the SCIAC tournament last week. Connolly has 11 goals this season.
Bridget Thomson (Carpinteria/Carpinteria HS) tallied for the Panthers (12-7-0) from a 41st-minute corner kick.
BIG WEST SHOCKER: First-half goals by Nick Posthuma (Pasadena/St. Francis HS) and Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS) stood up for Cal State Fullerton, which stunned eighth-ranked UC Irvine in Wednesday's Big West Conference tournament semifinals. The 2-1 victory sends the Titans (7-11-2) to Saturday's final at UC Santa Barbara (12-4-3), a 2-1 overtime winner over Cal Poly (8-7-3), with the victor heading to the NCAA tournament.
UC Irvine, the Big West regular-season champion, and UC Santa Barbara will get NCAA berths regardless. Fullerton, which last went to the NCAAs 10 years ago, was throttled twice by the Anteaters during the regular season and has won just two of the past 20 meetings. The brackets will be released Monday.