Lowell can’t close the deal

One shot hung just over the crossbar. The other dipped below and into the side netting.

In a game with few clear offensive chances, the result of those two shots proved to be the difference as the Oakland Tech girls’ soccer team defeated Lowell 1-0 Thursday at Boxer Stadium to even the Transbay Series at one game apiece. Sophie Quisquater scored the game’s lone goal for in the 37th minute, bending a perfect free kick from 5 yards outside the top-left corner of the penalty area into the goal.

The decisive third game is set for today back at Boxer at 3:30 p.m.

“They have some very skilled players on their team and that was a heck of a shot,” Lowell coach Ernie Feibusch said. “And we had shots galore — especially in the first half — but just couldn’t convert.”

The Cardinals (19-3-2) outshot Tech 10-4 in the game and 6-2 in the first half. But only two of them were true chances and both came off the foot of forward Lupe Gamez. The junior lifted a right-footed shot from 25 yards early in the first half that dropped inches over the crossbar and beyond the goal. Midway through the second half, she momentarily broke free near the end line 10 yardsaway, but Bulldogs goalie Marika Zumbro (seven saves) snared her left-footed shot.

“There were moments when I thought I was going to break through,” Gamez said. “But the ball always seemed to bounce away or I’d make a bad touch. We just couldn’t get one.”

The game was played primarily in the midfield. For Lowell, Gamez, Emily Anderson, Liliana Pedroni and Gina Cargas worked well together at times, but they never were able to sustain possession long enough to beat the Bulldogs’ defense. On the other side, Tech forwards Miah Compton and Mari Fuko occasionally broke free for a moment the defense recovered to poke the ball away. The low-scoring result came in contrast to Lowell’s 3-2 victory in Oakland in Game 1, a shootout in which the Cardinals went up 2-0, saw the Bulldogs (12-1-1) rally to the score at 2-2 in the second half then score one more in the 70th minute to get the win.

“We ran out of gas today and couldn’t find any cohesion,” Feibusch said. “I just hope we’ll be a bit luckier and pull it together [today].”

Today’s game now becomes all-or-nothing for both teams, a circumstance not lost on Gamez.

“We’re going to have to put the pressure on all game,” Gamez said. “This is something we really want.”

melliser@sfexaminer.com

Oakland Tech 1,

Lowell 0

Oakland Tech 1 0 — 0

Lowell 0 0 — 0

First half: OT—Sophie Quisquater, 37th minute.

Saves: Marika Zumbro (OT) 6, Rachel Baskin (L) 2.

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