The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN women’s soccer falls to fourth-ranked UCLA despite brave defensive effort

Jose Callejas
Defender Pauline Gericke waits to enter the game against UCLA in Northridge, Calif., on Sept. 10, 2023.

It was a packed Sunday afternoon at the Matador Soccer Field as hundreds of fans crowded the stadium wearing all red to support the women’s soccer team in their match against the defending champions UCLA Bruins.

Despite the amount of support shown by local fans, the Matadors fell short to the Bruins, as they lost 3-0, albeit with a respectable defensive effort.

“I think our defensive plan held up pretty well, we caused them a lot of trouble,” said midfielder Ashly Torres. “We benefited from our game plan to shift on one player and not let them go through the middle.”

The game comes as an improvement for the Matadors, following the 5-1 thumping suffered at home against the University of Idaho last Thursday.

For the first 39 minutes, the Matadors prevented the Bruins from getting any clear opportunities, with goalkeeper Hayden Mauldin making a save along with multiple key plays.

Two Bruins were booked twice in the first half, one of which proved to be the turning point of the game.

A foul in the penalty box committed by UCLA’s America Frias forced Mauldin to be subbed out of the game and be replaced by backup goalkeeper Kennedy Williams. A minute later, the Bruins would find the back of the net on a strike from the left wing.

“This was my first game I’ve played this season. It was kind of scary, as UCLA are the defending champions, but the one thing I reminded myself was to stay confident,” Williams said.

Although she conceded the three goals scored in the match, Williams recorded one save in her first minutes of action during the game.

Having opted to play more defense, the Matadors produced minimal attacking opportunities as the Bruins outshot the Matadors 24-2 with five of them on target.

Williams addressed the room for improvement in attacking opportunities for the Matadors.

“I feel like we are progressing as a team,” Williams stated. “But we do need to work on holding the ball and executing in the final third; we’re strong defensively, but we need to get the job done up there.”

The Matadors have only scored one goal in their last eight matches, including Sunday’s match against the Bruins.

Despite this defeat, Torres felt the game against the fourth-ranked Bruins showed the fighting spirit of the Matadors.

“I think we just need to keep working hard,” Torres said. “Our fight today was really good, and I think bringing that fight we brought today will really help us against teams in the Big West.”

The Matadors travel to the University of Hawaii on Sept. 14 to open up their Big West campaign against the Rainbow Warriors at 10 p.m.

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