In it goes: Matadors’ efforts not enough against No. 9 UCLA

Christina Azouz

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Goal!: The first of two scores by the Bruins on Friday night. Simon Gambaryan / Contributing Photographer

 

The CSUN women’s soccer team began the 2011 season with a 2-0 non-conference loss to No. 9 UCLA Bruins on Friday night at Matador Soccer Field.

The Matadors (0-1) challenged the speedy Bruins (1-0) throughout the match and were content with their performance despite the loss.

“We did a great job tonight,” said CSUN goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo. “We kept up with (UCLA) and played great as a team.”

The Matadors had a chance to get on the scoreboard first, but UCLA goalkeeper Chante’ Sandiford blocked junior forward Melissa Fernandez’s shot early on.

That wasn’t the only chance CSUN had to go ahead. Minutes later, freshman defender Leandra Walker found a rebound opportunity following a corner kick, but her shot went off wide.

In the meantime,  Jacobo anchored CSUN’s defense with two saves to keep the Bruins at bay.

The Bruins made CSUN pay for its misses in the 28th minute, however. Midfielder Caprice Dydasco crossed the ball from the left wing to forward Sydney Leroux, who then shot the ball past Jacobo for the 1-0 lead.

In the second half, it was more missed opportunities for the Matadors, who only managed one shot on goal.  CSUN was off the mark on its shots, had trouble connecting on passes and gave a lot of balls away. However, its defense continued to be strong and blocked three shots in the half, including a clearing of a dangerous bouncing ball in front of the Matador net.

UCLA found a way to once again get the ball into the net, though. Off a corner kick, the ball bounced off the crossbar right to a waiting Rosie White, who headed the ball into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead.

“They are a great team,” CSUN head coach Keith West said of the Bruins.

CSUN had two more opportunities to score its first goal of the season late in the game, but the Bruins’ swarming defense held up.

UCLA out shot the Matadors 20-6 and had seven shots on goal to the Matadors’ one.

Fernandez led the Matadors with three shots while Walker had the only shot on goal.

Jacobo recorded four saves, bringing her career total to 120, fifth-most in school history.

CSUN wasn’t discouraged by the result. Jacobo, in particular, was impressed with the team’s ability to stand its ground against a team of the Bruins’ caliber.

“If we can keep up with (UCLA), we can keep up with anyone,” Jacobo said.

West took things a bit more calmly.

“There are a lot of positives to take away from this game,” he said. “But we still need to clean up a few things.”

The Matadors will have the opportunity to even up their record when they visit Baylor next Friday. Two days later, they’ll be at Texas.

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Other Big West teams in non-conference action:  

Long Beach State 2 – USC 1

Pacific 3 – Nevada 0

UC Irvine 2 – UTSA 1

Cal Poly 2 – Cincinnati 1

Cal State Fullerton 0 – Utah 0

UC Davis 2 – USF 0

UCSB 1 – Idaho 1

UC Riverside 0 – UNLV 3