Women’s soccer beats Rebels, can’t put leash on Bulldogs

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The Cal State Northridge women’s soccer team opened up the 2005 season in solid fashion, defeating the University of Nevada-Las Vegas 2-0 in Las Vegas on Aug. 26. The team was then defeated in a close match against Fresno State University with a score of 2-1 two days later at Matador soccer field.

Against Fresno State, the Matadors not only had to deal with the Bulldogs, but also with the sweltering heat, as the temperature reached 100 degrees. The Bulldogs got on the board first in the 13th minute as Cortney Sobrero, Fresno State’s leading scorer in 2004 received a pass from teammate Cortney Lewis and fired a shot into the top of the box, passing goalkeeper April Cline. The score was the first goal of the game and gave the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead.

CSUN had several opportunities to respond, the first came when junior Tessa Binkley took a cross-pass from sophomore Kaitlyn Kelly and tried to head it to Tryna Tafoya. Although the intended pass missed its target, the ball looked like it still had a chance to roll into the goal, before missing wide right.

Northridge had another chance to score when junior Sarah Davis fired a shot from close to mid-field, but went over the goal post. CSUN’s best chance to tie the game came with just under a minute to go in the first half. Vanessa Crowell fired a pass from the corner and found Binkley just steps from the right post. But Binkley’s point-blank shot went long giving Fresno State the lead going into halftime.

“We did well at creating opportunities, but we didn’t execute,” said head coach Terry Davila.

In the second half, Fresno State substituted junior goalkeeper Angie Larsen for Jeannette Paine. In the 47th minute, Leila Pate attempted the first shot on the new goalkeeper, but her effort was denied.

Brianna Monka also had a chance to score when she lobbed a shot at the right post, but the sailed long.

Kaitlyn Kelly had several occasions to score as well, but two of her shot attempts ended landed in Paine’s hands while another went wide left.

The Matadors finally got on the board in the 53rd minute when Monka received a pass from Pate at mid-field, evaded the Fresno State defense, broke in on Paine at the top of the box and sent a rocket into the net, tying the game at one.

“I just remembered what coach told me – keep it low (and) to the corners,” Monka said.

Northridge tried to get ahead late in the game as sophomore Mary Ortega trapped a pass from Kelly and launched a shot from the left side of the box, but it was Paine who made a sliding save, deflecting the ball quickly for her fourth save of the match.

Kelly also had a chance to break the tie when she took the ball from mid-field, raced deep into Fresno State territory and fired a shot from the left, that went wide right.

Fresno State also had several chances to score themselves, but could not capitalize on two free-kicks and a shot attempt by Antonea Lugo that went over the post.

Fresno State finally broke the tie in the 79th minute when Lugo chased down a cross-pass to the left side of Northridge territory, passed to the wide-open Lewis who was able to slip the ball past Cline, scoring the game-winning goal.

CSUN ended up out-shooting Fresno State 16-12, but the Bulldog goalkeepers, Larsen and Paine, combined for six saves. Northridge was also guilty of 11 fouls to Fresno State’s seven.

“We have to make sure we don’t put ourselves in vulnerable positions,” Davila said.

The Matadors loss came after a 2-0 win over UNLV two days prior. Kelly scored the first goal in the 22nd minute while Ortega added the insurance goal in the 87th minute. Northridge also received a solid effort from Cline, who recorded six saves. CSUN emerged victorious, despite being out-shot 17-14 by the Rebels.

“We’re getting better,” Monka said. “We played well against UNLV and against Fresno State we played (even) better.”

The Matadors continue their three-game home stand against Navy on Sept.. 2 at p.m. and against former Big West Conference rival Idaho on Sept 4 at noon.

Ivan Yeo can be reached at ivan.yeo.80@csun.edu