Women’s soccer falls to USC 2-0 at home

Angelica Claiborne, 6, defends as the USC attacker attempts to maneuver around her in Northridge, Calif., on Sept. 8, 2022.

Mark Armendariz-Gonzales, Reporter

Entering the night on a four-game losing streak, the CSUN women’s soccer team had hoped to turn things around for their first home game since the start of the new school year. Sadly, their bad break followed them into Thursday evening, as the team dropped three more points to USC in a 2-0 defeat.

With a packed crowd in the stands, the Matadors (1-6) continuously put up a fight against the Trojans (3-1). However, the team gave up two late first-half goals and was never able to start up an attack.

As soon as the first half began, the Matadors knew they were in for a defense-heavy game as the Trojans constantly kept putting pressure on them. One player who saw plenty of action was freshman goalkeeper Hayden Mauldin. Mauldin had three saves early on in the first half and recorded a total of 10 in the game.

“Hayden did a really good job,” said head coach Christine Johnson. “She came up big time on some saves.”

The Matadors’ attack consistently tried to jump off the ground during the first half, but the USC press proved to be too much.

Erin Anderson, 4, attempts to dribble past two USC defenders in Northridge, Calif., on Sept. 8, 2022. (Aliyah Hinckley)

“I think us connecting passes, our movement off the ball and support is something we are struggling with,” Johnson said. “I think it has gotten progressively better each game, but I still do not think we are where we want to be.”

After holding off USC for 35 minutes, the Matadors broke, allowing the Trojans to strike first when forward Simone Jackson set up defender Nicole Payne for a goal.

Jackson herself then joined the scoreboard in the 41st minute, when the Trojans took advantage of a Matador turnover and sent the ball up to Jackson for her to tuck it in the far-left corner.

The Matadors were unable to counter USC’s restless pressure in the first half. USC led 2-0 with seven shots on goal, while CSUN put up none.

Halftime was a bit of a blast from the past for the Matadors, as many past CSUN women’s soccer players took the field for alum night to show their support for the team.

The CSUN defense came out big during the second half of the game. Though the Trojan attack kept pressuring, the Matador defense stood its ground and did not allow another goal that night.

“The defense played great,” said Johnson. “They did their job, they stepped and dropped, and were very much a unit. I was very happy with the individual defending and the overall line defending as well.”

The game ended in a 2-0 defeat for CSUN, with the Trojans firing 12 shots on goal to the Matadors’ zero.

“I think we conceded two goals that we really should not have conceded, but the overall performance I thought was pretty good from us,” said the CSUN coach.

The Matadors have since lost to UC Irvine 2-1 on Monday. Their season continues on Thursday when they will travel to Cal State Bakersfield and try to snap their six-game losing streak.