The offense has been there for them all season, and tonight they were able to finish off their opportunities with meaningful shots on goal.
“We had a big talk before the game today, knew what we had to do and got runners in the box, and had positive energy,” said freshman defender Kendall Moskal.
Senior forward Melissa Fernandez got the scoring started for the Matadors in the eighth minute with a long range chip from nearly 30 yards out on an assist by senior midfielder Stephanie Galarze, off a Highlander turnover. Fernandez’s shot was just out of reach of Highlander freshman goalkeeper Nicole Ragano, putting the Matadors up 1-0.
Moskal’s goal in the 24th minute ended up being the game winner for the Matadors. Coming on a cross from junior midfielder Amanda Smith, Fernandez flicked the ball by the Highlanders diving goalkeeper to Moskal who shot the ball into an open net. It was Moskal’s first career goal at CSUN.
Fernandez has had an assist and a goal in each of the Matadors’ last two victories.
“It was really exciting, I was really happy that I finally got it in,” said Moskal, who’s playing a new position. “I didn’t come in as a forward, so it relieved all my stress.”
Multiple turnovers by both teams really made each of them live life on the edge, with many of them coming in their own zones.
Offsides calls were multiple for each team, but really hurt the Highlanders chances of capitalizing on their fast break opportunities.
The defense, as always for the Matadors, was a lockdown preventing the Highlanders from getting many shots on goal, or controlling the game pace.
“We did really well with running off the ball and try to find spaces to play it to, and when we control it in the back we get more of a rhythm,” said junior defender Chloe McDaniel.
McDaniel also scored her first goal of the season, a header, on a corner kick by redshirt freshman Cori Deason in the 35th minute.
With a 3-0 lead starting the second half, Jacobo and many of the regulars were replaced with fresh legs and new faces.
Redshirt freshman Cynthia Tafoya made her first career appearance for the Matadors in goal, and proved her mettle with multiple touches in the first few minutes of the second half.
“It was nice to see her in goal, she’s been having a great camp so far and a great season in practice,” said head coach Keith West. “We finally got a chance to get her on the field.”
Tafoya did give up a goal in the 79th minute when she left her line to defend a shot, but a Highlander comeback was a moot point by then.
A physical game turned more so in the later part of the second half, with players from each team leaving the field with injuries. Galarze left the game with an injury sliding on a loose ball against Ragano, her status is unknown.