The CSUN women’s soccer team concluded its five-game road trip with a win and a loss at the City by the Bay Classic last weekend in San Francisco.
The Matadors season record stands at an even 3-3 after the tournament.
The Matadors’ showed the wear and tear of the long road trip in their first match, as they were throttled by the University of San Francisco 4-0 on Friday. The four goals by the Dons were the most CSUN had allowed all season.
“We couldn’t find our rhythm,” midfielder Devon Nizich said. “We didn’t come ready to play that game.”
Rock-steady goalkeeper April Cline, who had two shutouts in four games, looked human against the Dons as she failed to record a save.
“Our keeper got a little bit discouraged and we, as a team, didn’t pick her up,” defender Rachel Gillis said. “We all fed off each other’s bad vibe.”
One bright spot for the Matadors was last year’s team-leading scorer, forward Kristy Krohn, who had two shots on goal, including one from just inside the top of the box in the ninth minute. Nine other Matadors recorded shots in the match.
The Matadors turned their disappointment into motivation for the second game of the tournament. After a team meeting and a day of rest they defeated the Utah State Aggies 2-1.
“Friday after the game we had a player-only meeting,” Nizich said. “That helped us regain some focus.”
Nizich exhibited her focus with a curling corner kick from the right side to the middle of the penalty box that was headed in by forward Tessa Binkley in the 15th minute to make it 1-0.
Utah State missed a golden opportunity in the first half when the Matadors were called for a foul in the penalty box. Charity Weston missed the shot to the left and CSUN preserved their one-goal lead.
Nizich added a goal to her stat line with a right-footed volley off a throw-in from freshman Sydney Vermillion in the 72nd minute.
“It was really weird,” Nizich said. “At halftime we were talking about how I never really score.”
The second goal by the Matadors woke up the Utah State offense. Aggie midfielder Sierra Smith found the back of the net in the 81st minute off a free kick from defender Lindsey Smart.
The Aggies had a chance to tie it up in the final minute of the match, but Cline smothered Charity Weston’s shot to preserve the win for the Matadors. Cline made five saves against the Aggies.
The match against Utah State ends a five-game road trip in which the Matadors went 2-3.
“This weekend was a huge learning experience for us,” Gillis said. “We learned a lot about what we need to do to pump us up before games and how much energy we need to bring to the game.”
The Matadors returned home Tuesday to take on the University of Idaho before heading back on the road for a three-game trip to UCLA and the Ohana Hotels and Resorts Soccer Invitational in Honolulu, where they will face Hawaii and Detroit.
Eight of the Matadors’ first 10 games this season will be played on the road.
“I think it’s going to help us out in the future,” said Nizich. “It’s hard to play on the road. We’re overcoming these obstacles now and it can only make us stronger.”