CSUN beats Hawaii to snap losing streak

Kieran O'Dwyer

The CSUN women’s soccer team (4-5) shut out the University of Hawaii 1-0 on a sweltering Friday afternoon at Matador Field.  Junior forward Farryn Townley scored the lone goal of the game in the first half, and a very impressive performance by junior goalkeeper Kellie Drenner kept Hawaii scoreless to preserve the win for the Matadors.

The victory was an important one as it snapped a two-game losing streak, and it gave CSUN some momentum heading into its match with cross-town rival UCLA next weekend.

Head coach Keith West decided to start goalkeeper Drenner over Leah Elliot, which turned out to be the right choice. After missing all of last season due to injury, Drenner finally looks like she has rounded back into form.

“I feel fantastic,” Drenner said.  “I’ve been waiting so long for this.  It’s just great to be back out there with the girls.”

Her 12 saves were two off the CSUN single-game record, and tied her for second all time with teammate Elliot.

“She was phenomenal,” West said of Drenner.  “She kept us in the game.  She was outstanding both offensively and defensively.  She kept us organized.  I can’t say enough about how good she was today.”

Drenner made eight saves in the first half, including a brilliant punch-save in the waning minutes to prevent Hawaii from leveling the score.  She added four more saves in the second half to preserve the shutout, her second of the young season.

Farryn Townley scored the game’s only goal in the 16th minute on an assist from senior Niki Connolly.  Connolly looped a long cross to Townley on the wing, who made a quick move to the middle to beat her defender.  She fired the ball toward the far post and put it out of reach of Hawaiian goalkeeper Kristina Ehrett.

The early goal was “definitely very important, considering we only scored the one,” Townley said of her strike.

The goal was Townley’s team-leading fourth of the season.

Despite being outshot by Hawaii 29-8, the Matadors capitalized on their chances when they moved the ball forward.  However Hawaii’s 29 shots were a season-high for Northridge opponents, and were indicative of a Matador defense that struggled at times to get the ball out of its own half.

“It does concern me,” coach West said. “Hawaii just kept coming and coming. We held on, and finally did what we had to do to win the game.”

The win over Hawaii was “extremely important” for the morale of the team, according to West, and helped the Matadors shrug off its two stinging losses to Kent State and New Mexico last weekend.

“You know, you go away from home for so long and you start doubting that you’re even any good any more,” West said. “But the girls fought through it; it was a hard-fought win. So it was a great character win for us late in the game. We’ll take it and move on to UCLA next week.”