The UCI Women’s Soccer team (7-4, 2-1) defeated Long Beach State (6-5-1, 3-1-0), 1-0, in a dramatic overtime finish in George Allen Field, Long Beach on Oct. 7.
Standing No. 4 in the Big West Conference, UCI were the underdogs against a yet-undefeated team.
UCI wasted no time offensively, quickly receiving two offsides in the first two minutes of the game.
Continued pressure by UCI awarded them the first goal of the night when sophomore midfielder Gianna Creighton took an easy shot, bottom center, which was secured at the steady hands of LBSU freshman goalkeeper Zora Standifer.
Standifer made four impressive saves. Later in the game, she scored against only once due to a fatal mistake by Long Beach’s defense.
UCI sustained their early dominance as redshirt sophomore midfielder Destinee Manzo headed the ball into the top left from a brilliant cross by junior midfielder Scarlett Camberos, only to be stopped by Standifer.
LBSU retaliated with two big back-to-back shots; the first being from senior forward Kayla Cannon, who was consistently fouled early in the game.
Cannon shot the ball slowly towards the bottom center, which was easily saved by UCI redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Glo Hinojosa.
The second shot came from Long Beach junior forward Lena Silano. Silano had a difficult game, with only one shot that went out completely wide to the right.
10 minutes after Silano’s shot, UCI freshman forward Desiree Mendoza had a near shot on goal. Mendoza’s kick was no problem for Standifer, sending the ball straight to the top of the goalie box and just barely missing.
LBSU had the next shot with redshirt senior midfielder Daria Petredes who, just like rival Mendoza, shot it straight out the top of the goalie box.
UCI continued to be one step ahead of LBSU, continuing their fast-paced offense with two back-to-back shots from junior defender Maddy Chavez and Camberos. Camberos was the best player of the first half and the night for UCI: one assist, three shots and one shot on target.
Despite Camberos’ success, Long Beach’s defense was outstanding. Representing their defense was redshirt senior defender Kaitlin Fregulia, who was 2017’s defensive player of the year, and sophomore defender Aimee Medwin.
Long Beach’s solid defense was the reason why UCI accomplished little in the second half.
Although the first shot of the second half was by Camberos, who was the heart and soul for UCI this game, her shot was once again blocked by Standifer.
UCI’s desperation showed early in the second half. Sophomore forward Alyssa Moore was yellow-carded after berating the referee for not making any right calls on fouls on both sides of the field.
LBSU quickly gained momentum when Cannon shot the ball towards the bottom left side, only to be blocked by Hinojosa.
After an over the top shot by Ramirez 63 minutes into the game, LBSU’s offense shut down temporarily due to Chavez and UCI’s defense.
UCI’s offense finally sparked with Camberos’ last shot. However, the shot didn’t connect and the period ended with a draw. The game then went into overtime with the golden goal rule: both teams get 20 minutes, 10 on each half, and the first to score wins.
Five minutes into overtime, UCI won with an impressive goal by freshman defender Kiera Smeenge. Smeenge scored after a clean pass by Camberos. The ball landed on a silver platter right in front of Smeenge, allowing her to score and end LBSU’s unbeatable streak.
UCI now sits No. 3 in the Big West Conference, behind LBSU and Cal Poly. They will play against the University of Hawaii at Aloha Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 14.
Marcos Gonzalez is a 2021-2022 Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.