Matadors strike early, defense earns win in home-opener

Casey Delich

Stingy defense was on display by both teams Friday night, as the women’s soccer team took on Arizona State in their season opener at Matador Field.  It was the Matadors (1-0) first win over ASU (0-1), the projected 6th place team in the Pac-12 conference, in three attempts.

Midfielder Stephanie Galarze fights off a Sun Devils defender early in the first half of Friday’s home opener. Galarze scored the only goal in a 1-0 win. Photo credit: Danielle Hale/ Daily Sundial.

That stingy defense led to multiple yellow cards given to both teams throughout the match, including three to CSUN and one to ASU.

Starting their schedule with one of the toughest opponents they will face this season, the Matadors brought their best, with stellar performances by goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo and midfielder Stephanie Galarze.

Galarze scored the only goal in the 9th minute with an assist from Lyndsey Preston and Melissa Fernandez, on a cross from the right to center, sending the ball into the upper right side of the goal.

“I feel amazing and more confident from hitting that goal, like a weight lifted off my shoulder,” Galarze said.

Jacobo only had five saves for the game, but saved the game with a diving stop in the final 10 minutes.  Wanting to keep the shutout alive and her team in the game she completely laid out to make the save.

Arizona State never got any closer to a goal for the rest of the game.
The first half saw the Matadors controlling the ball on offense, but able to fend off any attack from the Sun Devils, with neither side having much luck on offense.

The Sun Devils started pushing the ball harder in the second half, forcing lots of pressure on the Matador defense, but were able to hold the line and fend off the few Sun Devil opportunities.

With this win, the Matadors head into Sunday’s contest with the University of San Diego with a lot of confidence.  A loss to Pepperdine on Friday night puts the Toreros at 0-1, but doesn’t make the challenge any less for the Matadors.

Head coach Keith West said he was already thinking about Sunday’s game, but will take this season one game at a time.