Senior women’s soccer captain Caroline Kabe converted a 54th minute penalty kick for the eventual game-winner as the UC Irvine Women’s Soccer team shut out Boise State, 2-0, on Sept. 19 in non-conference action.
The Anteaters dominated the majority of the game and possessed the ball far more than Boise State.
It was all Anteaters in the opening moments as UCI tallied three dangerous shots in the first 10 minutes. Boise State rarely crossed midfield. The Bronco defense was very rough against the skillful Anteater attack, and that strategy worked well for them in the opening half.
‘The scouting report on UCI is that we aren’t physical, and I give credit to Boise State for how tough they played,’ said Head Coach Marine Cano.
UCI continued to dominate the match but did not put forth many dangerous opportunities.
The Broncos showed some life in the final 15 minutes of the half, putting a scare on the flat Anteater squad but without any damage to the scoreboard.
Junior midfielder BreeAnn Milligan would tally three of the four total Boise shots. The teams would leave the field at halftime knotted at 0-0.
The second half brought out some fired up Anteaters. They had a disappointing tie at home against New Mexico two weeks ago and weren’t about to let that happen again. It wouldn’t be long before they got the spark they had been waiting for.
In the 54th minute, senior forward Hayley McNallan took the ball down the right side and hit a crossing pass into the goalmouth intended for freshman forward Lauryn Birkenshaw.
Birkenshaw was brought down in the box by a Bronco defender and was awarded a penalty kick.
Then Kabe, cool and composed, placed a perfect low kick to the left corner, past the diving Boise State keeper, putting the Anteaters up 1-0. It was Kabe’s first goal of the season.
Just one minute and 10 seconds later, the Anteaters would add insult to injury.
McNallan sent a beautiful through-pass to sophomore striker Lauren Baer, who caught up to the ball and sent a 16-yard shot up and over the goalkeeper for her first goal of the season.
‘I didn’t know if I was going to beat the defender, so I just took a shot,’ Baer said.
The shot turned out to be a great one and ensured victory for the Anteaters.
That was all Irvine needed to take complete control of the game. Boise State would show one final push towards the end, but it was nothing the Anteater defense couldn’t handle.
Cano tipped his hat to senior defender Leah Dawson, who played an excellent defensive game and led the Anteater defense throughout the match.
Despite the win, Cano felt his team’s performance was not quite up to par.
‘We got the win, but I didn’t think we played that well. We have more skill than that, and our offense needs to be better,’ Cano said. ‘I give them credit though; this is their fifth shutout in just eight games.’
The win pushes the Anteater’s record up to 5-2-1, as the Boise State Broncos fall to 2-5.
The Anteaters will be back at home Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. to take on the University of Nevada Wolfpack.