The women’s soccer team (9-4-3 overall, 3-1 Big West) secured their third straight victory in a win against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 1-0 on Oct. 17, securing their fourth win of the season at Matador Soccer Field.
The Matadors, who were coming into the match up with a two-game win streak against UC Riverside and Cal Poly, were able to add on to the streak against the Gauchos.
The Matadors outshot the Gauchos 12-4 during the game and also held the advantage in the shots on goal category 4-1. CSUN also held the advantage over UCSB in corner kicks taken 9-3 throughout the match while trailing in the possession category 57% to 43% to the Gauchos.
In what was a physical match up with over 23 fouls called, CSUN was called for 16 of them. Three yellow cards were handed out with a pair of Gaucho forwards Katherine Sheehy and Jessica Wright both receiving yellow cards while sophomore defender Gabriela Robles from the Matadors received a yellow card in the 88th minute of play for a delay of game warning.
Junior forward Bethany Fitzsimmons led the way for the Matadors with a total of five shots and one shot on goal during the game. The deciding game winner came early on for CSUN with a free kick, resulting in a goal in the 33rd minute of play. Junior midfielder Avery DeWitt took the free kick straight ahead from 25-yards out and found the top right corner. DeWitt recorded her second career goal and first of the season for the Matadors.
“When I walked up, it looked really familiar and I knew what kind of kick I wanted to do from that angle and where I wanted to put it,” DeWitt said on the free kick that resulted in a goal. “We have been practicing the same type of corner piece previously during the week so it felt like the same type of style and I just felt very comfortable taking it.”
“She struck that one really well, I think this is the most she has played all year as far as minutes go and it is because she is playing well,” head coach Keith West said on DeWitt’s goal. “She played excellent tonight … this is the best game she has probably played as a Matador. I felt like she was a big part of tonight’s win.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Delgado recorded one save for her fifth shutout of the season and eighth shutout of the year for the Matadors. Delgado is leading the way for CSUN with a total of 42 saves, 11 goals allowed, five shutouts and a 6-4-3 record in her 13 matches in goal.
“Delgado was outstanding tonight, you talk about a keeper staying on their head … she did that tonight and she’s been doing that all year,” West said. “It is a big testament to our defensive backline as a whole, even our two front runners did a hell of a job defensively tonight. In order to beat a great team like Santa Barbara, you have to be able to play a complete game and I felt we got pretty close to that.”
With the close match up being very physical throughout the game with over 23 fouls and three yellow cards, West believes it was important as a team to stay composed in those situations.
“It is very important for us to stay composed, I was a little disappointed in some of the fouls we had tonight,” West said. “We have to be a little more disciplined than that.”
With this win over the Gauchos, the Matadors are now second in Big West standings with a 3-1 record in conference play. Being organized and disciplined were some of the contributing factors in tonight’s win for the Matadors.
“I thought we were extremely organized, disciplined, communicated well and we followed the game plan extremely well tonight,” West said.
“I think we stepped it up a lot, the whole week we were focusing on our defensive coordination and our organization and being very disciplined about that,” DeWitt said on their performance as a team. “I think we did probably the best we have ever done, I think we had a lot more confidence and especially myself but overall I think it was a good win for us.”
The Matadors have one game left on the current three-game homestand and are looking to build off this victory going into their match up next week.
“We have to keep staying organized, disciplined and keep this spirit we have as a team,” West said. “I said from the beginning of the year, we have a great spirit with the team and we saw it again tonight so I was extremely proud, and very proud to be a part of this group.”
The Matadors will conclude their three-game homestand and celebrate their Senior Night in a match up against the UC Irvine Anteaters (3-10-0, 2-1), on Oct. 24 at Matador Soccer Field at 7 p.m.