The CSUN women’s soccer team started conference play with a 5-0 win against the UC Irvine Anteaters on Sept. 29 at Matador Soccer Field, but lost to the Long Beach State 49ers 3-2 on Oct. 1 at George Allen Field in Long Beach.
The Matadors are now 7-5-0 overall and 1-1-0 in Big West Conference play. Long Beach State leads the conference with a 2-0-0 record in conference play and 10-2-0 overall. The UC Irvine Anteaters record fell to 3-7-0 overall and 0-1-0 in Big West play.
It didn’t take long for CSUN forward Tessa Binkley to score her first goal of the game against the Anteaters. In the 10th minute, a nice slide tackle by defender Rachel Gillis stopped an offensive attack by the Anteaters and put the ball at midfielder Susie Mischenko’s feet. Mischenko passed to Binkley, who teamed with forward Kristal Phillips on a give and go. Binkley put the ball in the right corner of the goal, out of reach of diving UC Irvine goalkeeper Erin Henry.
The Anteaters attempted to mount several offensive attacks, but the Matadors’ defense would not be breached. Defender Sara Davis stopped a run up the middle by UC Irvine forward Lauryn Birkinshaw. Later, Irvine midfielder Britney Webster had a breakaway toward the goal, but CSUN midfielder Devon Nizich put a stop to that.
CSUN forward Farryn Townley had a couple of her moves to the goal halted by Irvine’s defense. Townley managed a shot, but Henry came out, making a diving save.
In the 30th minute, CSUN defender Sydney Vermillion took a shot that hit the post and rebounded to forward Carrie Faith Murphy, who put the ball into the back of the net for a 2-0 CSUN lead.
The Anteaters again attacked, but CSUN midfielder Tina Lutizetti put a stop to Irvine forward Kim Horn’s run. Minutes later, Lutizetti launched a shot that was saved by a diving Henry.
The Matadors ended the first half with a 12 to 2 shot advantage over the Anteaters. CSUN goalie Kellie Drenner had one save in the first half and Henry had five saves.
The second half started with a strong run down the right side by Irvine forward Birkinshaw, but Gillis again stepped in to stop the attack.
CSUN countered with a nice pass from midfielder Kristy Krohn to midfielder Mary Ortega. Forward Kristal Phillips received a cross in the box from Ortega and scored her fourth goal of the season. Just five minutes later, Phillips passed to Murphy, who scored on a hard shot that hit the crossbar and bounced down behind the goal line, for Murphy’s second goal of the game and third goal of the season.
“We have been working hard offensively and concentrating on finishing,” Phillips said.
Irvine midfielder Christina Gorospe came back with a shot that went wide to the left. Moments later, CSUN goalie April Cline would make a nice save by tipping Little’s shot up and over the crossbar. Irvine continued to shoot, but could not put the ball in the net.
CSUN continued to convert their shots to goals. In the 67th minute, defender Shanna Hudson launched the ball into the box, where Binkley put it past the approaching Irvine keeper.
“This brings us confidence offensively, with five goals for the start of the season,” said Phillips, adding that she is “looking to score more.” “We played our game and it showed.”
CSUN’s defense continued to make key stops that protected their shutout. Cline made a diving save on a shot to the right corner by Irvine’s midfielder Alex Fries. Cline saved her best for last, however, when Irvine was awarded a penalty kick that was taken by midfielder Kim Conlan. Cline guessed correctly, diving to her left and preserving the shutout.
Gillis said the defense was able to make key stops because they were all on the same page.
“Communication is our biggest thing,” she said. “This year our coaches have really been pushing us to work on communication on our back line and I think we have accomplished that by stopping the forwards on the other team, knowing where everyone is and being on the same page.”
In Long Beach it didn’t take long for the 49ers to get through the Matador defense. It was only the third minute of the game when Long Beach forward Sahar Haghdan scored on a pass from defender Jenna Duncan. In the 18th minute, Haghdan scored again, this time taking a pass deep in the box from forward Dana Farquhar.
The Matador offense scored in the 25th minute on a pass from forward Kristal Phillips to midfielder Susie Mischenko, who put the ball in the net.
Phillips tied the game at 2-2 when she scored in the 56th minute. Midfielder Kristy Krohn and forward Carrie Faith Murphy assisted Phillips with her fifth goal of the season.
The 49ers regained the lead in the 69th minute when midfielder Kim Silos sent a ball to the head of midfielder Hayley Bolt, who then headed it into the net. The goal was the decisive goal.
The Matadors were out shot by the 49ers, 15 to 10. Krohn led the Matadors in shots with three, while Phillips, Mischenko and midfielder Devon Nizich each had two.
Drenner and Cline split time in the goal, with one save for Drenner in the first half and one save for Cline in the second.
For Long Beach, Bolt had a team-high six shots in the game. Haghdan and Silos added three shots each. Goalie Ramos had two saves in the game.
The Matadors return home to play UC Riverside on Oct. 6 and Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 8 at Matador Soccer Field.