What looked to be CSUN’s second straight overtime game turned into a heartbreaking loss.
With just 24 seconds remaining in the match, sophomore Lily Sorentino scored for the Loyola Marymount Lions to give them a 1-0 victory over the Matadors Friday.
Northridge goalkeeper Leah Elliot ran out to defend a cross, leaving the goal open just enough for Sorentino to head the ball through. The win extended the Lions unbeaten home streak to 15 games, and the Matadors’ current winless streak to four. The goal was assisted by junior Tiffany Harrison.
It was the third consecutive time that a late goal has ruined Northridge’s chance at a positive result. During a game on Sept. 21 at Arizona, the Wildcats scored the game-winner in the 106th minute to down the Matadors in double overtime. A week after, at home, Northridge was five minutes away from defeating San Francisco, but a new late score allowed the Dons to go home with a 1-1 tie.
This one had to hurt more, though, as the Matadors were only seconds away from getting to the extra period. Both teams hadn’t been able to open the score throughout, which suggest that the game was a defensive struggle. It’s a misconception, however, as there definitely wasn’t a lack of opportunities. The first half went to the Lions in that department.
In the 21st minute, Shannon Omahen headed a shot off of a corner kick, but Elliot made the save. Just three minutes later, she recorded another diving save on an attempt by Sorentino.
The Matadors’ best look in the first half came during the 26th minute when Erin Kelly blasted a shot from 18 yards out that sailed just over the net. The Matadors weren’t credited with a shot on goal the entire first half.
In the latter part of the half, the Lions continued to be the aggressors on offense. Elliot continued her great first-half play by making a save during the 32nd minute and then swallowing up the ensuing loose ball in the box before two LMU players could get a chance at it. Elliot finished with five first-half saves.
She also got help from her back line, as Katie Fox knocked the ball away from Sorentino, who had an open look inside the box with five minutes to play in the half.
Northridge finally became more aggressive coming out of the locker room for the second half. It had some early chances and got some corner-kick attempts, but couldn’t break through the stingy Lion defense.
In the 57th minute, the Matadors had a great chance off of a corner kick when LMU goalkeeper Allysa Clark missed a grab at the ball, leaving the goal open. But shots by freshman Nancy Avesyan and Kelly were blocked by Lion defenders, keeping the game scoreless.
As the second half started to wind down, each team became frustrated with the lack of offense and the physical play began to pick up. Players from both teams ended up on the ground, and yellow cards were shown to the Lions’ Nickey Ha and Northridge sophomore Sonia Espitia.
In the 87th minute, Matador sophomore Michelle Moore had a clear shot at the goal, but Clark was able to make the save and that would be the last attempt that Northridge had at net.
Sorentino’s game-winner was her first goal in 13 contests. She also led Loyola Marymount in shots with six. The Lions had a large 17-9 shot advantage over the Matadors, and doubled them up in corner kicks, 8-4. Elliot finished the game with eight saves, one off her season-high. Three Northridge players led the team with two shots each.
The Matadors continue to struggle on the offensive end. They have been held to one goal or less in five of their last six matches, leading to a record of 1-4-1 during that span. Friday’s game marked the first of four straight road contests for them, and the loss dropped them to 2-4-0 away from Matador Soccer Field.
The trip continued Sunday with a match against the defending National Champion USC Trojans.