Still Perfect: Women’s soccer keeps racking up wins

Michael Harrington

The Matadors extended their season-opening winning streak to four games as they defeated the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (UNLV) 2-1 on Friday at Matador Soccer Field.

‘We’ve just been more focused on our game plan,’ said Head Coach Keith West in regards to their hot 4-0-0 start. ‘The result of that has been four big victories.’

It was the Matadors and Rebels’ (3-1-1) first meeting since 2005 and UNLV was anxious to deliver a fast reminder of their soccer pedigree. The Rebels began attacking immediately, getting two dangerous shots off in the first two minutes of play, but neither of them hit home. Then, after some back-and-forth action, it was CSUN who struck first as senior captain Tryna Tafoya found the back of the net in the 16th minute. It was Tafoya’s second score of the season.

Junior Kelley Ross assisted the score after she took a shot that was initially saved by UNLV goalkeeper Alicia Lugo. The ball squirted over to Tafoya, who booted it in.
‘There was a small opening between the players and a small opening on the side of the net,’ said Tafoya of her goal. ‘When I saw that I just shot it as hard as I could and it went in.’

Lugo hadn’t allowed a goal in 324 consecutive minutes before Tafoya broke the stat.

The Matadors continued to control the pace for the next several minutes. However, Rebel junior Brie Moore found an answer to Northridge’s dominance when she took a pass from junior Niki Connolly and deposited it past CSUN goalkeeper Leah Elliot in the 35th minute. The teams headed into halftime tied at one.

Despite allowing the partial tie, West came away pleased with his team’s first half performance.

‘We came out strong,’ said West. ‘I didn’t think we played a good first half all season until (Friday).’

And once the second half got under way, the Matadors didn’t waste any time in trying to get ahead again. Sophomore Farryn Townley was able to beat a charging Lugo and a second Rebel defender to a ball that was set up on a down field pass from Tafoya. Townley was barely able to get enough on the shot for it to roll into the net and give the Matadors a 2-1 lead.

‘I kept telling (Townley) to run back, and to keep running,’ said West. ‘I figured she would be able to get one, and she did.’

For the remainder of the game, CSUN put their focus on the defensive end to make sure they kept the lead. UNLV put theirs on offense and had clear opportunities.

In the 64th minute, Rebel junior Shannon Hughes took a shot off a free kick from the right box and brought danger to Elliot’s net. The Matador goalkeeper responded with a tough save, however. Then, as time began to wind down, UNLV took a few desperate shots, but they all traveled wide.

CSUN survived everything. Right down to the game’s last instances.

With just two minutes left in the match, the Rebels had their best opportunity to tie the score again. Sophomore Amanda Forrester had a free kick just outside of center box, but her shot traveled wide left, sealing the win for the Matadors.

‘They were a very tough opponent,’ said Tafoya, whose goal was her sixth in her collegiate career. ‘We just rose to the challenge and stepped up our game. We played like Northridge should always play.’

Matador freshman Alexis Barbara picked up a yellow card in the 37th minute when she slid for a ball and took the legs out from under Rebel sophomore LaChere Anglin. Anglin laid in pain for five minutes before being helped off the field. She did not return.

Beginning Friday, CSUN will play their next four games on the road. The team seems excited.

‘I can’t wait,’ said freshman Nancy Avesyan, who had two shots in the game. ‘It’s my first big traveling experience in college. We’re just going to execute and try to keep our winning streak alive.’

The Matadors will go for their fifth win of the young season against No. 21 California on Friday as part of the St. Mary’s Fall Classic in Moraga. The game is set to start at 2 p.m.