Four games, two overtimes, and 386 minutes later, the UC Irvine women’s soccer team (4-1-0) dropped their first game of the season Thursday evening against Nevada (1-2-0) courtesy of a Wolf Pack penalty kick in extra time.
It was sophomore forward Angel Meriwether who had ultimately punched in the game-winner in the 98th minute of what had become a closely called match with UCI recording 12 fouls and Nevada taking on 15 of their own.
Indeed, the game was plagued by numerous foul calls on both sides that amounted to 22 in the first 90 minutes and five in the last eight. The game’s stoppages were the most evident in the waning minutes of the second half when five consecutive yellow cards—two of which were assessed to Nevada and three of which were assessed to UCI—were given in a span of 21 seconds.
On the final foul call of the game, the 27th on the evening, Meriwether was awarded a penalty kick which she sent right past ‘Eaters’ goalkeeper Maddie Newsom. The shot was just the second attempt for the Wolf Pack, the first of which was blocked and saved by Newsom 33 minutes into the opening half.
UCI had actually been the aggressor for the majority of the game, putting up 10 shots to Nevada’s six. In fact, three different ‘Eaters also had great looks at the net.
Out of the pitch, Redshirt junior Noel Baham kicked off the ‘Eaters offense with an attempt early in the first half that went high over the post. Baham was relentless though and returned in the 18th minute to give Nevada a near scare when she launched one that was timely secured by Wolf Pack senior keeper Kelsey Quintos.
Despite numerous stoppages in play, UCI came in hot in the second half with two more near attempts. After a foul was assessed to Nevada, redshirt senior defender Kelsey Texeira, who had been named Attacking MVP at the Boise State Invitational last weekend, looked to add to her scoring total this season with a rocket that, again, fell into the hands of Quintos.
In the 81st minute, junior defender Andrea Mensen joined Baham and Texeira and nearly knocked one in. However, Mensen’s shot would only serve as a third save for Quintos and the last clean look for the ‘Eaters on the evening.
Heading into extra time, sophomore midfielder Lili Andino mustered up a shot that went wide before Nevada would draw a foul in the 98th minute that would set up a perfect opportunity for Meriwether, who was substituted into the game just in time to snag the first victory for Nevada on the year while snapping UCI’s four game streak.
With the overtime loss, the ‘Eaters’ have also snapped an overtime win streak that dates back to 2014, a streak that has accounted for nine overall extra time matches.
Having taken their first defeat, the ‘Eaters will finally return home Sunday where they will face the Pittsburgh Panthers at 4:30pm.