CSUN women’s soccer comes up short against UCSB

Kendall Capps

Defender Desiree Cardenas battles Cory Yoshida of UCSB, in Sunday's Big West match. Photo Credit: Sami Eshaghi / Assistant Photo Editor
Defender Desiree Cardenas battles Cory Yoshida of UCSB, in Sunday's Big West match. Photo Credit: Sami Eshaghi / Assistant Photo Editor

The Cal State Northridge women’s soccer team (5-7, 1-1 Big West Conference) was defeated by UC Santa Barbara 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Matador Field. It was a rollercoaster game with a wide range of emotions mixed in.

The Matadors were at a slight disadvantage to start the game. Neither of their two starting goalies could dress for the game with injuries suffered Friday, so freshman goalkeeper Haley Hawes got the start in net.

Just 34 seconds into the game, UCSB midfielder Kailyn Kugler took a pass from junior forward Jacqui Simon and hit an amazing shot from about 20 yards out. The ball went far post and beat Hawes for the early 1-0 lead.

Following the goal, the rest of the half was played pretty sloppily on both sides. Neither team had a lot of solid chances, and struggled to penetrate deep into the offensive end. Northridge looked lethargic and could not string passes together. It was probably the worst half they have played this season.

In the 38th minute, UCSB junior forward Kylie McDonald sent a perfect cross from deep in the left corner to another junior forward Erica Seidman. She headed the ball off the post but got her rebound and knocked it in for the 2-0 advantage.

The Matadors went into halftime demoralized, seeing that they were coming off one of their best performances Friday against Cal Poly.

“We didn’t bring our A game in the first half,” head coach Keith West said. “If the first half were to be on a grading scale, it would grade out around a C at best.”

The second half started the way the first one ended, with sloppy play. However, as the half progressed, CSUN played with more energy and intensity, only the execution was lacking.

Midway through the half, Northridge began to play with a sense of urgency and put a lot of pressure on the UCSB defenders, leading to a game-changing mistake. In the 75th minute, two Matador forwards pressed on one of the Gaucho defenders, who accidentally kicked the ball pass her goalkeeper, making it a 2-1 score.

With momentum clearly on the Matador side, CSUN continued to press. In the 78th minute, sophomore defender Brielle Slepicoff took a pass and went down the left side of the field. She hit a cross right on the foot of junior forward Farryn Townley, who deposited it into the back of the net for her sixth goal of the year, tying the game 2-2.

After the goal, Northridge seemed to relax a bit on defense; possibly because of the energy they exerted in order to tie the game.

“We didn’t make the right decisions, possibly panicked and tried to force it instead of finding the right option,” said Slepicoff.

Less than five minutes after the tying goal, UCSB sophomore midfielder Katy Roby was surrounded by Matador defenders deep in the Northridge end. She turned toward net and put a shot in the only place that could have beaten Hawes, in the top left corner.

The goal deflated Northridge, the game ended 3-2 Gauchos.

“This was a hard one to swallow,” West said. “We were very good in the second half, but when you give up a goal in the first 30 seconds; it’s hard to really get going.”