Weekend in Orange County ends in a High Note
Our UCSD Woman’s Soccer Club started the National Showcase off to a rough start by having to draw the first game against UC Riverside making their odds of making it out of the group stage an even harder task to accomplish. This unfortunate circumstance motivated the team to come out even stronger to the early 8:00am game against the University of Washington.
To start off the game our UCSD Woman came out hungry to score by having multiple crossed into the goalie box hoping to find the back of the net. Early in the first half we got a corner kick opportunity that found the head of our midfielder Elli Sandford. As the ball flew through the air our fans were closing to cheering for the goal when the University of Washington goalie made an amazing save to keep them in the game. Another notable chance happened as our outside winger Adelka Hancova swiftly got past the defender near the corner flag and perfectly crossed the ball to the feet of our forward Daisy Samuelson. Unfortunately the Washington defenders where quick to apply pressure and again prevented us from getting on the board. To end the first half our UCSD Woman felt confident as they had maintained possession for most of the half and were eager to come out second half ready to finally put one away.
Starting the second half the pace of the game started to slow down for UCSD since they only had 3 subs for the whole weekend. With this being said the game still concentrated around the University of Washington’s side as we continued to attack and prevented them from getting any chances against our goalies. Half way through the second half tragedy truck, as Washington got their only break through that allowed them to cross the ball to the top of the box where they shot and made it to the back of the net. It was not over for UCSD as we continued to attack but tragedy truck again near the end of the game as our outside midfielder Maia Chareonsuphiphat suffered an unfortunate injury to her knee that took her out of the game. With minutes left on the clock UCSD changed their formation to only three defenders in hopes of finding a last minute goal, but unfortunately it was too late and the final scored remained 1-0 for Washington. Sadly, this loss meant UCSD would not pass out of the group stage but fortunately our player Maia was okay and should recover with rest in a couple weeks.
That morning, UCSD’s women soccer team had powered through an early bird 8am game against U of Washington (UW), however the odds hadn’t ended in their favor, resulting in a frustrating loss. After a quick lunch break to refuel and rest, the sun emerged from behind the clouds as the girls slowly made their way back to OC Great Park, feeling even more determined for their second game of the day. With a short warm up to get their mental space back into game mode, the match up against Sacramento State began with a slow speed of play, yet smart passing and majority possession showing on the Tritons’ side. As the game progressed, the burning turf lit a fire under UCSD, and the team fought their way up to just outside the opposition’s 18 mark. Mid-fielders Kirsten Whetstone and Elayna Osterman, accompanied by forward Daisy Samuelson all placed excellent pressure on the Hornet’s defense, providing a great opportunity for fellow midfielder Sara Aguilar to take advantage of a loose ball and slot it pass the Hornet’s goalie for a starting lead.
Following half-time, Sac State regrouped and decided to up their aggressive style of play. Their strategy - send long balls and push numbers forward to crowd UCSD’s half. During a split second of miscommunication amongst blue players, green players swarmed and one girl from the opposing team got lucky enough to steal a goal and tie up the score. Regardless, UC San Diego girls continued to persevere in the heat until Naomi Araujo created a moment of magic. While providing support and reliability in the defensive line, Araujo received the ball and took the opportunity to break away from her position. Working her way up the field, she juked out several players and finally took a powerful strike, low and fast, scoring to put the Tritons back on top until the final whistle. The ladies finally headed home after a long weekend, with sun burns and smiles all around, winning their final game against Sacramento State with a score of 2 - 1.