Women’s soccer earns first home win of the season

CSUN women’s soccer team, left, and Portland State University woman’s soccer team huddle up before their game in Northridge, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

Mark Armendariz-Gonzales, Reporter

From scoring three goals in her first two seasons to scoring three goals in the last two games, junior forward Cindy Arteaga has done it all to help the Matadors women’s soccer team snap their seven-game losing streak. And now they finally have.

“I’ve been finding rhythm in myself because of the support I have all around me,” Arteaga said. “My coaches and teammates believe in me and that alone makes me want to work harder for them.”

Fueled by Arteaga’s efficiency, the Matadors (2-8, 0-1 Big West Conference) achieved their first home win of the season against Portland State University (1-5-3), securing a 2-0 victory. After playing a very even game through most of the first half, the Matadors found success through Arteaga’s first brace — two-goal game — of her career. This gave her a total of six goals so far in 2022, but more importantly, helped her team secure the win.

Sam Bustamante, 5, takes off with the ball against Portland State University in Northridge, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (Renee Rothe)

The first half of the game was any team’s to take; the ball was in CSUN’s box one minute and in the Vikings’ penalty area the very next. The Matadors kept applying pressure while their defense stood tall, doing its best to shut down any form of attack Portland State went on.

Just when it looked like the first 45 minutes would end in a scoreless tie, the Matadors pushed through. Junior defender Kacie Garrity rocketed a long pass above the defenders to the middle of the field where Arteaga was waiting. Arteaga used her speed to beat the last defender and force the Vikings goalkeeper, Enya Hernandez, out of her goal. Able to maneuver around the goalkeeper, Arteaga let the ball crawl inside the near post to give the Matadors the lead right before the end of the first half.

“She is so dangerous,” said head coach Christine Johnson. “She is really finding her rhythm right now and creating opportunities. She is giving our opponents a really difficult time.”

Looking for a change of pace after the late first-half goal, the Vikings substituted their goalie to start the second period, pulling Hernandez, who allowed one goal and made one save, for Sidney O’billovich.

Portland State tried to equalize the game four minutes into the second half, but the shot by midfielder Abi Hoffman was saved by freshman goalkeeper Hayden Mauldin, keeping the Matadors on top. Mauldin had a total of six saves in the game, with huge back-to-back saves coming in the 83rd minute. The freshman goalkeeper went on to have the first shutout of her Matador career.

Kacie Garrity, 24, defends against Portland State University in Northridge, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (Renee Rothe)

Just a few seconds after Mauldin’s big saves, the Matadors took advantage of an opportunity to put the game out of reach. Freshman forward Stevie Reynolds sent a pass to Arteaga, who blasted a shot past a diving O’billovich into the lower left corner of the goal. Arteaga earned her brace for the day and helped the team achieve its first taste of victory at home this season.

“We were very excited,” Johnson said. “We have been fighting tooth and nail to try and get another win, and we were able to execute today.”

Nearly scoring a hat trick in the 88th minute off a shot that was saved by O’billovich, Arteaga received her first career Big West Offensive Player of the Week award in recognition of her recent performances. In her first two seasons, Arteaga scored three goals through 41 games. This season, she has already racked up six goals through 10 games, making her the Matadors’ leading scorer.

“It is a great feeling,” Arteaga said. “It is a big moment for us, it is something we have been looking for in past games but could not quite capitalize on it. Huge team effort, we all wanted it.”

The Matadors’ season continues Sunday at 1 p.m., when they travel to UC Davis and faceoff against the Aggies.