Women’s soccer splits points in final game of homestand against San Bernardino

By Cesar Rivas, Oct. 3, 2023

Coming off a 3-2 victory against Western Colorado University last week, Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s soccer team took on Cal State San Bernardino Sept. 23, in its final preseason match.

The match was a close affair and ended in a 1-1 draw.

Both teams were looking to keep possession at the start of the match, creating chances for themselves. San Bernardino started on the front foot with three corner kicks within the first eight minutes, but the Coyotes were not able to capitalize on the set pieces.

Cal State San Bernardino favored long balls over the top during attacks, which CPP defenders Bella Anderson and Mikaela Marr effectively shut down.

“They wanted to put pressure on our backline, as their midfield was winning the second ball, so it made sense,” said head coach Jay Mason about the Yotes’ plan of attack.

The first real chance for the Broncos came in the ninth minute with a shot on goal from midfielder Marisa Salazar, forcing Yote goalkeeper Leila Peregrina to make a save. While maintaining the pressure in the 11th minute, defender Giselle Samayoa played a cross from the left intended for midfielder Auburn Burnett that forced another save from Peregrina.

“We definitely had a lot of chances out wide, and those crosses are always in good areas, we just have to get on the end of them,” said forward Bailey McNitt.

Another opportunity came in the 22nd from a cross by forward Jaclyn Cuevas to McNitt whose shot was on goal but called for offsides. Again, a freekick opportunity from just outside the box allowed a shot from Salazar, which sailed just over the bar in the 28th minute.

Cal State San Bernardino created some chances in the first half, particularly in the 33th minute when the Yotes nearly scored on a counterattack but narrowly missed the net. The Yotes had another chance in the 38th minute, which Bronco goalie Bella Hara effortlessly shut down.

Despite the offensive creativity of both sides, the game remained scoreless after 45 minutes.

“We get the ball in good areas, we have to finish our early chances in games,” said Mason. “In all of our games we’ve had early chances early to settle the game down, and we just haven’t had the quality to do it yet.”

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

The second half started with San Bernardino in the attacking third, with a shot and corner kick in the 47th minute calling on Hara to make back-to-back saves.

After 53 minutes of stalled attacks, the Broncos finally broke through when Samayoa put in an inswinger cross to the back post that connected with an open McNitt who scored the opening goal for the Broncos.

“I knew it was a good cross from the right side,” said McNitt. “Someone tried to head it, missed, it came to me at the back post with no one around me, and placed it in the back of the net.”

Cal State San Bernardino quickly went looking for an equalizer. The Yotes’ consistent attacking momentum continued, and in the 56th minute, the Yotes played a ball through the middle with a shot from forward Kaylen Gonzalez right at the goalie.

The Yotes played on the front foot toward the middle of the second half, creating another chance in the 60th minute on another overhit longball Hara claimed.

Consistent pressure allowed for one of the Yotes’ long balls to slip past the Broncos’ defense, which led to a one-on-one with keeper Hara and a goal by Yote forward Nathaly Losada Lucumi in the 69th minute.

“We fell asleep and got one scored on us,” said McNitt.  “We got to want it; we have to be able to finish in games like these. I think we all wanted more than the other team, but that drive has to be there.”

With the score being at a deadlock, both sides were searching for the game winner, but nothing came from the second-half chances.

Until the final 10 minutes of the match, the Broncos were desperately looking for the go-ahead goal. In the 82nd minute, forward Alexis Macias played a through ball for forward Julia Lucero, but it was cleared away for a throw-in.

Another great opportunity came in the 86th minute when Cuevas played a great ball through the middle of the defenders to midfielder Nicolle Villarreal, but the play was called back for offsides.

Looking for a breakthrough in the final minute of the match, the Broncos had a great counterattack as they passed around the Yote defenders. A cross from the right side of the box from forward Tara Oper found Cuevas, but her shot was deflected out for a throw-in.

The match ended a few seconds later in a 1-1 draw.

“I was proud of the way the girls battled through the inconsistencies,” said Mason. “Sometimes the games don’t feel good, and they still have to find ways to put themselves into positions to win.”

The Broncos started conference play Sept. 29 with an away game against Cal Poly Humboldt which they ultimately won 2-0. The squad quickly followed up with a 1-0 road victory over Sonoma State Oct. 1. CPP’s next match against Chico State will take place Friday, Oct. 6 at Kellogg Stadium.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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