Midfielder Esther Neel looks to pass the ball off in the Mustangs’ game against Cal State Northridge Oct. 10. The team struggled to keep possession of the ball and were out shot eight to three in the first half. Leading to a (2-0) loss after goals in the 21st and 77th minutes by the Matadors. -Ryan Sidarto Mustang Daily

Cal Poly women’s soccer (6-7-1, 1-2-1) struggled to find cohesion in a 2-0 loss to Cal State Northridge (CSUN) (8-6-0, 3-1-0).

From the start of the game, Cal Poly was unable to sync their passes and numerous turnovers allowed CSUN to possess the ball for most of the first half and outshooting Cal Poly eight to three.

CSUN managed to score their first goal in the 21st minute after a free kick near the corner was centered to Farryn Townley who assisted Sonia Espitia on her second goal of the season.

Cal Poly’s only shot on goal in the first half came from sophomore forward Cici Kobinski. Kobinski’s shot, placed in the topmost part of the goal, was grabbed by CSUN goalie Cynthia Jacobo who had three saves in all 90 minutes of the game.

CSUN scored their second goal in the 77th minute off of a header from senior Desiree Cardenas on junior goalkeeper Brooke Gauvin, solidifying their win.

Cal Poly was not able to answer, only producing five shots, with two on goal, in the second half.

Gauvin, who had four saves in the game and 58 in 12 games for the year, said the team needs to regain the focus they had earlier in the season.

“I think we need to start out strong from the start,” Gauvin said. “We need to start connecting more and connecting as often as we can because we’re not playing to our full potential.”

In their last two games, Cal Poly has been unable to produce a goal and has only registered four shots on goal.

Cal Poly’s biggest challenge will be overcoming recent injuries that have put starters on the bench. Sophomore defender Shandon Rovetta won’t be returning for the remainder of the season, while both of Cal Poly’s leading scorers, Whitney Sisler and Bianca Burright, have been dealing with injuries of their own.

Burright, who is second on the team with four goals and leads the team with three assists, has sat out each of Cal Poly’s last two losses.

Sisler, who leads the team in points (12) and goals (6), has been coming off the bench for Cal Poly while her ankle injury, from the early minutes in the game versus Weber State, has still been bothering her. In the six games before her injury, Sisler had recorded six goals, but since then, she has sat out two games and remained scoreless in the other four.

Sisler was dismayed by Cal Poly’s recent offensive slide and wasn’t sure what the cause was.

“I have no idea,” Sisler said. “I don’t know what happened. I just think we couldn’t find what we had before.”

Head Coach Alex Crozier recognized where the team needed work and said they were going to make adjustments to compensate for recent injuries.

“We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the ball,” Crozier said. “A lot of our work rate off the ball wasn’t where it needed to be and caused problems. That combined with the fact that injuries are starting to take their toll a little bit on some players we’ve been counting on. We’re going to be looking at changing our formation a bit. Our team has changed since a month ago.”

Disappointed with a loss to Northridge, the only conference team they lost to in 2009, Crozier gathered his team around him on the field after the game to tell them that the fight for the Big West Conference playoffs has become dire.

“We’ve gone from the end of the weekend having a chance to finish top in the league (against Riverside) and now we’re fighting for one of the top four sports,” Crozier said. “Every game from here on out is a game we need to win. Our backs are against the wall.”

Cal Poly’s next game will be at home against the Pacific Tigers (4-6-3, 1-2-0), on Oct. 15 at 7:00 p.m.

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