The UC Irvine Women’s Soccer team (3-8-2, Big West 0-3) lost 2-0 to Big West opponent, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-2-1, Big West 3-0) on Friday night at Anteater Stadium.
The Anteaters are without a win in the Big West Conference so far, even though the season is still in progress. The team’s prevalent deficiency, however, has been finishing off shots on goal.
Nonetheless, UCI saw an admirable performance from its soccer team. It was a rough start in the first half as Irvine tried to coordinate its defense against Northridge’s fast offense. Efforts did not prove successful when CSUN freshman midfielder Tryna Tafoya scored on a cross by junior midfielder Brianna Monka.
The Anteaters fought back with six shots against the opponent, proving their determination and focus to a roaring crowd. UCI sophomore goal keeper Marissa Welliver saved six powerful Northridge shots in the first half.
UCI freshman midfielder Frankee Kelly and freshman defender Brittany Del Soldato fought through CSUN’s defense and managed to take shots on goal.
Just as things were looking better for UCI, CSUN sophomore forward Casey Dodd scored on an assist from senior forward Rebecca Hidalgo in the first half.
With the end of the half approaching, both teams had already collected a number of fouls; Cal State Northridge had seven while UCI had six.
The Anteaters came back to the field in the second half more prepared and ready to play.
UCI senior defender Alyson Spencer felt ‘the second half was a lot more organized.’
The Anteaters dominated the field with coordinated passes and a fortified defense.
UCI sophomore midfielder Britney Webster and senior midfielder Julie Scheppele managed to push the offense forward and helped perpetuate shots on the opponent’s goal. Strong efforts and great shots from Webster, junior defender Joy Grey and freshman midfielder Kim Conlan prompted more attention from the Matadors’ slipping plays.
While the Anteaters had a more engaging second half, one of the team’s primary weaknesses on the field, according to Spencer, was that ‘we just can’t put our chances away.’
Spencer pushed for an uncompromising defense and with aid from Welliver and senior midfielder Gina Scachetti, the Anteaters reduced the Matadors’ shots on goal.
UCI successfully weakened the opponent’s threatening corner kicks.
The field’s stalemate disposition in the second half kept the referees on their toes. Northridge received three cautions and ejections for the game while Irvine received just one. The Anteaters closed the game scoreless but satisfied with their performance.
Scheppele later commented, ‘Everybody worked so hard. We’re due in Sunday’s game against Pacific.’
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