The Matador women’s soccer team closed out its three-game home stand in grand fashion, beating the Navy Mids 2-1 on Sept. 2 and routing the Idaho State Bengals 5-0 on Sept. 4.
“We scored (and) we executed,” said head coach Terry Davila. “Goals that we were missing (in the past) we converted today.”
In the game’s opening minutes, the Matadors withstood an early barrage from Idaho State as the Bengals fired off four shot attempts, but was unable to convert any of them. Still, the Matadors were not fazed and soon settled down.
CSUN’s first goal came at the 12-minute mark when Kaitlin Kelly received a throw-in from the far corner to Tessa Binkley, who fired a point-blank shot into the net for the Matadors first goal of the game. 11 minutes later, CSUN tacked on another goal as Kelly received a pass from Brianna Monka inside the box, fired a shot into the net for the second goal of the game and her second goal of the season.
The Matadors were far from done. In minute 27, Leila Pate went deep into Idaho State territory and fired a cross-pass to sophomore Mary Ortega inside the box. Ortega then guided a header into the goal for her third of the year. CSUN went into halftime leading 3-0.
In the second half, Idaho State came out with renewed energy, though the Matadors refused to let up. In minute 56, Devon Nizich fired a corner kick into the box. Binkley deflected the ball to Nelena Betancourt, who kicked it into the net for her first goal of the season, widening CSUN’s lead to 4-0. Binkley finished off the scoring spree in minute 67 when she took a cross-pass from Nizich and put a ball into the goal for the final score of the game.
“We felt better with our runs today,” Binkley said.
The Matadors ended up out-shooting Idaho State 17-11 and out-gained the Bengals 9-2 in corner kicks. Goalkeeper April Cline had three saves before being substituted in for Karen Comstock in minute 64. CSUN’s win improved the Matadors to 3-1 on the season.
“If you’re a good team, you have to stay consistent,” Davila said. “We stayed tough, (Idaho State) came out hard and physical, but we knew they would and we stuck to our game plan.”
The victory over Idaho State came two days after registering a come-from-behind win over Navy on Sept. 2.
Navy got on the board first as Sarah Hessinger took a pass from Meggie Curran, slipped past the defense and then the goalkeeper firing a shot into the net, giving Navy an early 1-0 lead.
Northridge thought it had tied the game in minute 37, but a Mary Ortega goal was waved off due to an offsides call. Northridge also struggled to find an answer for Mids goalkeeper Haley Crain, who made four first-half saves.
In the second half, the Matadors finally got on the board as Tryna Tafoya found Monka deep inside Navy territory. Monka then went inside the box, faked out Crain and fired the ball into the net to tie the game at one apiece.
CSUN then got the go-ahead goal with seven minutes left in the game. Leila Pate sent a pass into the mid-box area, Ortega received the pass and sent the ball into the goal, giving the Matadors the lead for good.
“We have a lot of heart,” said Monka of the come-from-behind win. “I’ve never played on a team with so much heart.”
CSUN’s heart will be tested for the next couple weeks as the Matadors embark on a five-game road trip, starting with a journey to Northern Arizona University for the High Altitude Tournament.
The Matadors first game will be Sept. 9 against St. Bonaventure and concludes on Sept. 11 against Loyola-Chicago.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at email@example.com