Dons tie Northridge at the end

Michael Harrington

The celebration of win No. 100 is still on hold.

After taking an early lead, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-3-1) gave up a late goal to the University of San Francisco Dons (4-5-2) forcing the game to end in a 1-1 tie Sunday. The number of wins in school history remains 99.

‘It’s disheartening,’ said assistant coach Juan Plascencia. ‘To give up a late goal like that is hard, especially at home.’

Freshman Nancy Avesyan opened the scoring in the 15th minute when she took a cross from sophomore Sonia Espitia and deposited it into the left side of the net. It was Espitia’s first career assist.

‘We were playing really hard,’ said Avesyan, whose goal was her second of the season. ‘We finally were able to get a cross in and I was able to score it.’

The Dons had a good opportunity to tie the game late in the first half, but Matador goalkeeper Leah Elliot made a diving save on a shot by freshman Nicole Moore. It was one of three saves for Elliot in the first half.

When the second half got underway, the Dons became more aggressive offensively. They took two shots within the first five minutes, but neither was able to find its way into the back of the net.

Northridge senior Kristal Phillips had two opportunities to score the Matador’s second goal midway through the second half. She took a shot that was saved by Don goalkeeper Kelly Pohle, and was awarded a penalty kick just two minutes later. However, her attempt traveled just wide left of the goal and the score remained 1-0 Matadors.

‘That definitely hurt,’ said Plascencia of the missed penalty kick. ‘It was a great chance for us to pad the lead but it just didn’t go our way.’

With time winding down in the game, San Francisco’s Katherine Kimure had a clear look at the net in the 76th minute, but Elliot made another diving save to keep the Matadors in the lead. Kimure finished with a game-high seven shots, with six of them coming on goal.

The big blow to Northridge came in the 85th minute when San Francisco junior Kristina Hall scored the tying goal with a header off a free kick. It was assisted by Kallie Caldwell.

The game went into overtime.

The first overtime didn’t see many attempts at the goal, but each team had chances in the final minute of play. However, neither was able to connect and the game continued into a second 10-minute sudden-death period.

The Matadors controlled the ball during the second overtime, taking four shots. Phillips had a chance that was just wide of the net. Then, Katie Coulas attempted to get her second game-winning goal of the season, but Pohle, who finished with seven saves on the game, controlled it.

‘Pohle is one of our captains,’ said Don Head Coach Mark Carr. ‘Her leadership and individual performances have been very important to our team.’

The rest of the game played out and neither team found the back the net. It was the Matador’s fourth overtime game this season, and the first one to end in a tie.

‘I know we could have won,’ said Avesyan. ‘We could have worked a little harder, but we deserved to win.’

The game started out very physical, trend that continued throughout the contest. San Francisco received four yellow cards, but Northridge didn’t get any.

‘The officials let them play,’ said Plascencia. ‘Things build up when that happens. I thought they missed a couple of calls through the game but that happens.’

Phillips led CSUN with five shots, four of them on goal. The Dons had a considerable advantage on corner kicks, taking six to the Matadors one. Northridge had a 20-to-17 shot advantage in the contest.

It was the Matadors third attempt at getting the 100th win in program history. After starting the season 4-0, they have only won one of their past five games.

The Matadors will return to the pitch on Friday when they take the road again to battle Loyola Marymount at 4 p.m. It is the first of four consecutive away matches for CSUN.

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