Women’s soccer thrashed by UC Irvine 6-1

Erin Anderson, 12, defends against the Irvine player in Northridge, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.

Bryan Hernandez, Contributor

CSUN hoped to get back to winning ways against opponent University of California, Irvine on Sunday after a sour 1-0 defeat last Thursday on Senior Night.

UCI had other plans in mind, thrashing the Matadors 6-1 with five goals coming in the second half.

The Matadors were set for a comeback after finding an equalizer in the 17th minute off a corner kick from attacking forward Cindy Arteaga.

Arteaga’s set piece found midfielder Ashly Torres who sent a header toward forward Alyssa Aguilar. As Aguilar shot the ball, a defender blocked the shot just enough to see it spiral away. But the ball was still in play, which caused the players to scramble for the ball.

Before any UCI player could get to the ball, midfielder Ashley Cruz poked the ball in near the right post to level the score for the Matadors 1-1.

The equalizer came after UCI stunned CSUN in just under a minute of play. Fans were barely getting to their seats while the Matadors had trouble starting their engine.

“I think one positive, offensively, is that we kept looking for [a goal] even though it didn’t come our way,” Cruz said. “We were still trying to find that goal.”

CSUN’s momentum from tying the game against the well-focused Anteaters would fade away several minutes into the second half.

The early troubles from the first half found their way back in the 48th minute when UC Irvine midfielder Destinee Manzo scored a first time volley off a corner kick to give the Anteaters a 2-1 lead.

UCI used a 4-3-3 formation with players on the wings stretched wide, with four defenders positioned in the backline. There was always a defensive midfielder in front of the center-backs and two midfielders in front of the defensive midfielder. Up front, two wingers and a lone striker were in charge of the attack.

The Anteaters had 55% of the possession over CSUN’s 45%, spending the majority of their time in the final third.

It was all downhill for CSUN as UC Irvine went on to score another five goals in a span of 30 minutes.

Throughout the match CSUN never gave up, lifting their heads up high, constantly looking to get back into the game.

It was a long evening for the Matadors defensive center-backs who couldn’t manage UC Irvine’s attack as they were constantly beaten by through balls and were often overrun by dribbles. Five goals came off of set-pieces — mainly through corner kicks — while one came from open play.

The lapse in concentration cost CSUN the game, along with the possibility of qualifying to the Big West tournament.

“I think we have to be better. I think it starts in training and our lack of focus,” CSUN head coach Christine Johnson said. “We save our set [pieces] for our walkthroughs and it’s a lighter laidback practice — I think we’re going to change that when we work on them.”

With two Big West conference games left, CSUN will look to pick up as many points as possible before the season comes to an end. The Matadors will travel to Fullerton to face California State University, Fullerton on Thursday.