Aug. 22, 2008
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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Nalena Betancourt scored in the 106th minute Friday to lift the Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (1-0) to a 2-1 victory over San Diego State (0-1). Fellow senior Kristal Phillips scored her first goal in nearly two years for the Matadors in the second half to level the game with the Aztecs.
Betancourt deposited the ball past the Aztec goalkeeper following a scrum in the middle of the 18-yard box. Freshmen Nancy Avesyan and Brielle Slepicoff assisted on the game winner for the Matadors, each picking up their first career points as Matadors. Betancourt entered the season with two career goals and seven career assists but had not found paydirt since 2006 until the waning moments Friday.
"It was a great team effort and today's result is a wonderful way to start the season," said Betancourt. "We kept pushing the ball towards the net at the end, working as a team, and we found a way to come out with the win."
The game showcased some Matadors in unfamiliar situations. With both Kellie Drenner and Ivette Esqueda lost to the year with injuries, Leah Elliott started in net, making her first appearance at the position in three years. The sophomore responded with four saves and steady play.
"I have had about four days to prepare for this and am learning as I go, but it is excellent to get this result today" said Elliott. "The team did a great job in front of me and I felt more comfortable in my area as the game progressed."
CSUN head coach Keith West came away impressed with his new keeper and his winning squad.
"Leah did a wonderful job for us today and the team played with confidence in front of her," said West. "Our goal today was to come out and win each half. We didn't do that in the first, but we came through exceptionally in the second and prevailed in overtime."
San Diego State got on the board first in the match, as Heather Vandevanter flicked a header past Elliott following a cross from Brittney Bennett in the 29th minute.
However, the Matadors stormed out of the dressing room in the second half and Philips scored her first goal in nearly two years in the 64th minute of action. Fellow seniors Tryna Tafoya and Tinamarie Lutizetti each assisted on the tally, which also came as a result of a scrum in front of the Aztec goal.
For Tafoya, the assist was the 10th of her career, moving her into a tie for third in school history with Cindy Mallett, Shannon DeVos and Brianna Monka. The assist was the third of Lutizetti's career while Philips, who missed all of 2007, scored the seventh of her career. Her 21 career points (7 G, 7 A) puts her into a tie for 10th all time in school history.
Northridge finished with 18 total shots, six of which came on goal. The Matadors also had five corner kicks during the game. Phillips also became the first Matador to be booked in 2008, receiving a yellow card in the 83rd minute of action.
The Matadors return to The Matador Soccer Field on Aug. 29 when they host Southern Utah as part of CSUN soccer tripleheader. The Eagles and Matadors will take the pitch at 11:30 a.m.