‘Eaters Brush off Rivals
UCI 2 CSUF 1
The women’s soccer team extended their winning streak to three games after a second-half surge helped knock off the Titans of Cal State Fullerton in a much-needed Big West road matchup. Friday’s 2-1 victory set up a pivotal Sunday night battle for first place against their rival Long Beach State ’49ers.
Freshman Cami Privett figured into both goals, scoring her 11th of the season and assisting the game-winning goal by sophomore Natalia Ledezma in the 75th minute. It was the fourth time this season the ladies had come back from a halftime deficit. The ’Eaters couldn’t find their offense in the first half, which was controlled by the Titans.
Fullerton was able to take advantage of their scoring opportunities early as they took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute after freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Randazzo denied a corner kick attempt, but the loose ball was rebounded by a Fullerton striker for a goal. Randazzo would recover to shut out the Titans for the rest of the game, adding four more saves to her season total (63) and netting her 10th win of the season.
Under pressure, the Anteaters came out firing in the second half. With nine of their 11 shots coming in the second half, the ’Eaters were finally able to break through in the 60th minute after Ledezma’s high arching corner kick was headed by junior defender Sarah Devine into the reach of Privett. Privett then drilled it in past a Titan defender. The Titans would respond with shots of their own, but were denied by a pair of acrobatic Randazzo saves.
By the 75th minute, UCI took control as they pushed their lead to 2-1 on a Ledezma rocket off the crossbar. Privett was able to dribble past a defender and find Ledezma who crushed the ball from the top of the penalty box. The ball ricocheted off the top cross bar, down past the goal line, and into the net.
The game would come down to the final 30 seconds as the Titans became desperate. With the crowd on its feet, Fullerton made one final attack. After a Titan free kick from 25 yards out was blocked, Fullerton was able to get a shot at the goal past Randazzo, but a UCI defender was able to clear the ball out of traffic. The rebound reached another Fullerton striker whose kick sailed high over the goal as time expired.
With such an exciting finish to the game, the ’Eaters were able to improve their conference record to 3-1-1 and an overall record of 10-3-2.
“We have learned from the NCAA Tournament [last year] and are [continuing] the winning tradition and our motto: anyone, anywhere, anytime,” senior defender CoCo Goodson said of the team’s forward thinking attitude.
UCI 2, LBSU 0
The Anteaters extended their win streak to four games on Sunday evening, defeating the Long Beach State 49ers 2-0 at Anteater Stadium.
Last season, Irvine was heartbroken by a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Beach in the Big West Championship game. On Oct. 16, they made sure the 49ers’ rivalry win streak ended at one.
Senior forward Lexi Kopf put the first point of the evening on the board with a breakaway goal in the 37th minute. It was the eight goal of Kopf’s season. She was assisted by Natalia Ledezma.
UCI entered half with the one goal advantage. Ledezma struck a goal of her own in the 71st minute, keeping pace with Kopf for her eighth goal of the season and putting the Anteaters ahead, 2-0.
In the box, No. 0 Jennifer Randazzo matched her jersey number with Long Beach’s scoring output, shutting Long Beach out in the Black and Blue rivalry game and thrusting the Anteaters into first place.
Irvine will have a fresh set of legs for their next matchup. Without any midweek games, they’ll travel to Cal State Northridge on Oct. 23 for their second to last conference game of the season. At 4-1-1 in the Big West, UCI is gearing up for a busy November.