When you’re ranked 14th in the nation, but competing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation where most of the other teams are ranked higher, you have to take advantage of every opportunity to get a conference win.
The Matadors missed a great opportunity on Saturday, losing 7-5 to the 13th-ranked Long Beach 49ers at Matador pool.
“I’m disappointed with our inability to score,” said head coach Molly Barnes. “I’m not disappointed with how hard we played, with chances that we created. I’m just disappointed that we can’t put the ball in the goal.”
Jessica Coy led the Matadors with two goals, followed by Kirra Kylander, Dayna Van Gorder and Allison Brookes, who each had one goal.
The Matadors got in foul trouble early, resulting in Chelsea Curran and Van Gorder having to sit out for a quarter.
“It was a major momentum shift,” a disappointed Curran said.
Coy was also disappointed with the loss, one that was hard to take, she said.
It’s just hard because coming into this game, I was so pumped,” Coy said. “I didn’t really care what was gonna happen, I just wanted to play well.”
The Matadors played a tight game with the 49ers. In the first period Long Beach got on the board first with a goal from Lauren Sieprath at 6:38. Van Gorder scored at 4:28, followed by a goal by Coy at 2:55 for a 2-1 Northridge lead. With 1:17 remaining in the first period, Long Beach tied the score at 2-2 with a goal by Branwyn Lee.
In the second period Sieprath scored her second goal of the game at 4:11. Kylander scored at 3:08 to tie the score at 3-3, but the 49ers went ahead at 2:38 on a goal by Becky Gentner and took the 4-3 lead into the half.
Brookes scored the lone goal in the third quarter to tie the score at 4-4 going into the final period.
The 49ers, however, outscored CSUN 3-to-1 in the last quarter. Kelsie Emerick scored back-to-back goals at 7:33 and 6:02 for a 6-4 Long Beach lead. Dayna Wawrzynski scored at 4:04 for the final 49er goal. Coy put one last shot in the net for the Matadors at 2:47.
Northridge repeatedly hit the post in the last quarter, including on a five-meter shot by Brookes.
“The post was definitely their best friend today,” Barnes said. “We had just as many opportunities. They capitalized, we didn’t. We played great team defense and the goals that we gave up in the fourth were counter off of our mistakes offensively.”
Barnes said that she is satisfied with the team’s defensive play, but that the offense has been struggling.
“We had a couple turnovers on that end that hurt us,” Barnes said. “Then on our chances, we had a six-on-four that we didn’t convert. We had two of them and a five-meter. At the end of the day, when you have chances like that, you have to convert.”
Goalie Jillian Stapf, who had seven saves in the match, said it was a frustrating loss, especially after the team “played nails defense.”
“I’m happy that I played well, but I wanna win. I just wanna get a win,” Stapf said.
Still, the team is getting better and is gaining confidence, Stapf said.
“We have potential to do very well,” Stapf said. “We haven’t peaked yet. It’ll come, but the process of getting there is so frustrating.”
Coy said the Matadors need to get on the same page and she expects the team to improve.
“I think definitely, though, you haven’t seen the best team yet,” Coy said. “I feel like collectively, not everyone is on the same page yet, but when we are, we’ll definitely be someone to reckon with.”
With the loss, CSUN drops to 4-9 overall and 0-3 in MPSF play. Long Beach State improves to 8-8 and 3-2 in conference matches.
The Matadors hosted the Northridge Mini Tournament on Tuesday. CSUN played Indiana at 2:30 p.m. and played Occidental at 6:30 p.m.