Women’s soccer falls to Hawaii at home

Hawaii forward Kelci Sumida, 30, goes for the ball as Matadors defender Kacie Garrity, 24, moves to steal it, in a game at the Matador Soccer Field on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Northridge, Calif.

Mark Armendariz-Gonzales, Reporter

Outshooting Hawaii 15-12 was not enough for the Matadors to earn their first Big West Conference victory of the season. CSUN once again played a strong defensive first half, only to give in to costly errors during the second half.

Thursday was not CSUN’s night, as the Matadors (2-12-1, 0-5-1 Big West Conference) lost 0-1 at home to conference rival Hawaii (5-3-2, 2-1-2 Big West Conference). This is the Matadors’ third straight loss, and fifth of the conference. In their last three games, the Matadors have not been able to score a single goal. With only four Big West games left this season, the Matadors still have not been able to pick up a win and remain last in the conference.

“We’re struggling right now,” said CSUN head coach Christine Johnson. “This is a game we should have won.”

CSUN midfielder Angelica Claiborne, 6, moves to block Hawaii defender Jacey Jicha, 21, while CSUN midfielder Cassidy Imperial-Pham, 18, goes after the ball in a game at the Matador Soccer Field on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Northridge, Calif. (Taylor Arthur)

Shots on goal were plentiful and came early in the match. The first one came in the ninth minute when Hawaii forward Kelci Sumida powered a shot that was saved by freshman goalkeeper Hayden Mauldin. Mauldin had a busy night, recording five saves, four of which came in the first half. The goalkeeper out of Bakersfield was not the only Matador making saves that night, as freshman defender Samantha Healy was able to head out another shot by Sumida, preventing the ball from reaching the back of the net.

The CSUN defense was on guard throughout the first half, constantly battling the Hawaii attack. The Rainbow Warriors had a total of six shots during the first half, but the Matadors defense stood its ground and did not let a single one into the net. A standout in the defense was freshman Sami Kolin. The defender out of Moraga, California, had not been part of the back line since early September, but she certainly made a case for herself Thursday evening. She jelled with the back line from the get-go and disrupted many scoring chances generated by Hawaii.

“We stuck her in and she did really well handling the pressure and speed of play,” Johnson said.

Hawaii struck first early in the second half, taking the lead 1-0. In the 49th minute, forward Krista Peterson got ahold of the ball after the Matadors turned it over near their goal, and shot it into the bottom right of the net.

The Matadors offense flipped the switch after conceding the goal and started applying pressure. The CSUN attack went from taking three shots in the first half, to 12 in the second. The Matadors best opportunity to level the match came in the 66th minute, when midfielder Ashley Cruz shot the ball but watched it deflect off a Hawaii defender. CSUN’s top goal scorer, Cindy Arteaga, found the ball and blasted it in to seemingly tie the game. What seemed to be a clean-cut play soon became controversial when the referee called the goal offside. The call ended the final chance for the Matadors to tie the game.

Hawaii forward Krista Peterson, left, follows CSUN midfielder Ashly Torres, who keeps the ball away from her in a game at the Matador Soccer Field on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Northridge, Calif. (Taylor Arthur)

“Rome was not built in a day and we’re pretty young,” Johnson said. “For the group, we just continue to remind them that these failures are really good lessons for us.”

Coming off three straight shutout losses, CSUN will have a bye week before playing back-to-back road games at UC Irvine and CSU Long Beach. This extended rest might be what the Matadors need to get on track in the Big West Conference.

“It’s going to be a good physical and mental rest for everyone,” Johnson said.

The Matadors’ season continues on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m., when they travel to Irvine to face off against the Anteaters.