RIVERSIDE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (5-7, 0-1 Big West) lost 3-1 to UC Riverside Friday night in both team's Big West Conference opener at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium. The Highlanders jumped out to an early lead and never looked back en route to the victory.
Starting the campaign to qualify for their fourth-straight Big West Tournament, the Matadors found themselves down after a UCR goal in the sixth minute. A foul outside the Matadors' penalty area set up what was essentially a short corner kick and Danielle Giltner headed home a Sammy Arellano free kick to give the Highlanders the lead.
With winds at 20-30 miles per hour and gusts as strong as 60 blowing north to south throughout the contest, the Highlanders doubled their lead in the 39th minute when Arellano found the netting on a shot outside the penalty area. UCR out-shot the Matadors 9-4 for the half and had five corner kicks.
The Matadors' best chance of the opening 45 minutes came right at the end of the frame when Kourtney Kutscher sent a ball just above the crossbar.
In the second half, a wild scrum in front of the net resulted in the Highlanders' third goal. Breanna Avila eventually scored as several players from both teams had swipes at the ball.
CSUN pulled one back in the 63rd minute. Haley Chee started the play up the middle with a long pass to Hannah Wissler up the middle of the field. Wissler then switched the ball to Taylor Hobson who found the side netting for her first goal of the season.
The Matadors out-shot the Highlanders 10-3 in the second half but forced only two saves from UCR's Elizabeth Silas. Northridge's Cynthia Tafoya had three stops in the contest. The Highlanders saw two yellow cards, but the teams combined for just 14 fouls.
CSUN will look to rebound Sunday with a 6 p.m. contest at Cal State Fullerton. Next week, the Matadors host Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara at Matador Soccer Field.