The UC Irvine women’s soccer team tied Cal State Northridge 0-0 after two thriller overtime periods Thursday night at Anteater Stadium. They now drop to 2-2-2 in the Big West Conference as the fifth seed.
Despite a scoreless game, the Anteaters showed heart and cohesion, thwarting Northridge’s offense to only 11 attempted shots, with five on goal. Sophomore keeper Danielle de Seriere earned her third shutout of the season, recording five impressive saves.
“I think it was the best team performance we’ve had all season. I thought the way we battled, [and] the pride we showed was the difference in the game,” Head Coach Scott Juniper said.
Although sophomore standout Tanya Taylor was injured at the 54th minute, the Anteaters still persevered through adversity and attempted 18 shots, 11 on goal. It was easily one of their better offensive performances, despite a blank scoreboard. Tanya’s injury also allowed other upcoming players like freshmen Carly Crowder to soak in more game-time experience for the future.
“[Tanya is] clearly a big playmaker for us, a game-changer. She has improved in so many ways. At the same time, we’ve got players on the bench that haven’t had many opportunities because she has been playing so well. It just gives other players opportunities. We’ve got a lot of talent coming off the bench now in every position,” Juniper said.
The chemistry and resilience displayed by the women’s soccer team was, in part, attributed to the seniors’ last home game on Thursday night.
“You always get a little lift because it’s senior night. Our plan was to play and honor our seniors and a lot of that is a testament to how well respected our senior class is. They gave really every ounce that they had tonight,” Juniper said.
Although seniors Kathleen Lemieux, Rachel Flemming, Erin Henry, Megan Ortiz and Amanda Philips will depart next year, there is still plenty of motivation for them to finish out the season on a good note.
The Anteaters have two more important remaining conference games on the road.
Should they win their next two games, they will most likely ascend from the fifth slot to the fourth, granting them a bid to the Big West Conference Tournament semifinals on Nov. 6.
“We needed to win our last three games. So as far as I’m concerned, our game [against Northridge] was a missed opportunity. I think we dominated, but it was a missed opportunity. But depending on how the other games go at that point, it could be the difference in squeezing into that fourth spot,” Juniper said.
The Anteaters will battle for the fourth spot, taking on Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo on Oct. 31.
“We expect two wins on the road. Our players are going to take a couple days off and we’re going to train hard next week and get on that bus believing that we’ve got two more wins left in us,” said Juniper.