The road trip proved to be too much for the Matadors as they dropped their first loss in the Big West Conference, 1-0, to UC Santa Barbara on Friday night.
The Gauchos’ (6-5-2, 2-1-0 Big West) senior Kailyn Kugler recorded an early goal in the 32nd minute of the first half for the eventual game-winner at Harder Stadium. This marks the second time this season the Matadors (7-6-0, 2-1-0 Big West) have lost to the Gauchos.
Sophomore midfielder Erin Ortega earned an assist on the Kugler goal, which was her fourth goal of the season. She scored a corner kick from eight yards away from the net.
The game started in the Matadors favor with sophomore forward Melissa Fernandez earning a shot on goal from a header in the ninth minute of action that went wide. Shortly thereafter Erin Kelly got in on the action in the 10th minute of play with her shot high over the net.
After the two close attempts from the Matadors, the ball seemed to roll the Gauchos way with the Matadors receiving less offensive action. The Gauchos quickly took possession of the ball with two corner kicks in the 12th minute of the game by Jacqui Simon and Kylie McDonald.
Then in the 21st minute, Erica Seidman had a close shot that went high followed by a shot from Kugler in the 25th minute that was saved by CSUN goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo.
Simon picked up two more corner kicks in the 29th and 31st minutes of the first half. The game took a turn for the worse for the Matadors when Ortega took a shot on goal that was saved by Jacobo and a couple seconds later Kugler scored the goal that ultimately won the game for the Gauchos.
Heidi Farran and Stephanie Galarze were credited with shots on goal and the Matadors had a couple of chances in the second half with five shots taken but the team never got back into the game. The team was out-shot 15-8 and the Gauchos used the corner to their advantage with eight corner kicks to only one from the CSUN squad.
Matadors’ goalkeeper Jacobo made seven saves on the night, with five coming in the second half alone, compared to her opponent Makenna Henry, who only made two saves but recorded a shutout over the Matadors for the second time this year.
After Sunday’s game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Matadors travel to face UC Irvine in a Big West match up Friday at 6 p.m, The Anteaters lead the Big West conference with at 3-0 record.