Coming off winning performances at home against the University of San Diego and UC Davis, the Matadors made sure to make it a perfect homestand by defeating the University of Pacific, 1-0, in a Big West match on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers (1-9-2, 0-2) came out attacking from the start when they got the first shot on goal 10 seconds into the game.
Tiger defender Laura Hogan kicked the ball, which was saved on a diving play by Matador sophomore goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo.
The game was balanced for the first 15 minutes as both teams tried to penetrate opposing defenses, only to see opportunities fail.
This all changed on a single play in the 16th minute on a free kick awarded to the Matadors (7-5, 2-0).
Senior defender Desiree Cardenas connected with her fourth career goal on a free kick from sophomore defender Katie Russ. It was Russ’ first assist of the season.
The goal came on the Matadors’ first shot on goal, inside a box full of players in front of Tiger redshirt senior goalkeeper Jill Medigovich.
Cardenas knew how important the goal was to the team.
“I felt very excited because… I mean if there wouldn’t been a goal it wouldn’t have been tied and we would go into overtime, so it saved our legs,” Cardenas said.
A raucous came from the Matador bench with 10 minutes to go in the half on a drive from sophomore midfielder Marie Hirsch into the Tiger box. The bench called for a handball that they argued the referee didn’t see.
Pacific had more drives but none came as close as the games initial shot on goal.
Frustrations ran from the Pacific bench as the coach kept yelling at his players’ lackluster play as the first half came to an end.
The game was balanced at that point. The Matadors were outshot 7-4 and were at a disadvantage in shots-on-goal 2-1.
Matador goalkeeper Jacobo had two saves, compared to Medigovich, who had none.
The second half was all Northridge as they came out driving the ball into the opposition over and over.
Four minutes into the half, junior defender Brielle Slepicoff made a sharp pass towards senior forward Farryn Townley in the middle of the box from the left corner. Townley kicked wide left in front of the goalkeeper.
A dangerous shot on goal for the Matadors came with 25 minutes to go in the game as Cardenas lobbed the ball to sophomore midfielder Melissa Fernandez where a diving Medigovich stopped it.
The Matadors were able to endure a barrage of attacks from the Tigers that started with about 15 minutes to go. No drive went into the box, as the Matadors were able to stop penetration having nine players on the defensive.
Matador head coach Keith West was happy with the streak that the team has built.
“It’s fantastic, you know, the girls are finding out a way to pull these games out,” West said. “Those are two great teams we beat on Friday and Sunday. I think it was a fantastic win for us.”
Giving a lot of credit to her defense, Jacobo says that things are falling into place now.
“We just worked hard throughout practice,” Jacobo said. “It’s like all the work we had to put in throughout practice has finally showed up in the game. We’re finally showing what we can do and what we’re going to be doing in the future. We’re looking forward to the rest of the games with this awesome defense that we have,” Jacobo said.