November 4, 2010

LBSU Slips Past Northridge, 2-1, in Big West Semifinal

Nov. 4, 2010

Box Score

Click Here for Post-Match Interview with Senior Sonia Espitia

LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (12-9) lost 2-1 to Long Beach State Thursday afternoon at George Allen Field in a Big West Conference Semifinal match. Desiree Cardenas scored in the 82nd minute for the Matadors, but a goal two minutes earlier by Nikki Myers secured the 49ers a spot in the Big West Finals.

On a stiflingly hot day in Long Beach, the game was mired in midfield throughout most of the contest. The two teams combined for 16 shots on goal, with LBSU holding a slight edge with nine attempts.

The 49ers broke through first, scoring in the 14th minute of action off a free kick. Bo Rael launched a free kick that CSUN goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo left her line to try and punch away from a crowd of players. Off the resulting scrum and rebound, the ball fell to Shawna Gordon, who buried it to the far post.

The Matadors' best opportunity of the opening frame came in the 36th minute when a shot by Melissa Fernandez hit the post. Long Beach State had five corner kicks in the first 45 minutes that the Matadors successfully defended.

In the second half, the teams battled until the end of the 80th minute, when Myers volleyed home a cross from Marysol Rosas.

Two minutes later, Cardenas pulled one back for the Matadors. Fernandez sent a corner kick to the far post that Erin Kelly shot off a 49er defender. The rebound fell to Cardenas and she put it home for her fifth goal of the season and seventh of her career. That total ties seven other former Matadors for 10th in school history for a single season.

For Fernandez, the assist was her team-leading fifth of the season, good for seventh in school history for a single season along with nine other former Matadors. The assist was Kelly's first of the season and second of her career.

However, the Matadors could not find an equalizer in the final minutes and the 49ers held on for the win. Both Long Beach State's Lindsay Bullock and Nicole Hubbard were shown the yellow card in the contest's final two minutes for delaying the restart of the match off a free kick and throw in, respectively.

In all, Jacobo finished with four saves in the defeat. She finished her second season at Northridge 11-9 with a 1.07 goals-against-average, 92 saves and an .807 save percentage. The 92 stops tied Jenny Willemse for the fourth-most in school history. Her seven shutouts on the year checks in at third in school history, the GAA ranks fifth and her 11 wins tied two former Matadors for the second-most in a single season.

LBSU advances to play the winner of the UC Irvine-Pacific match for the Big West Championship on Sunday and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Northridge must now pin its hopes on an at-large selection to the field of 64. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on ESPNU at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 8.