Cal Poly women’s soccer dropped their season opener by a score of 3-1 to the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Thursday, Aug. 18 inside Saint Mary’s Stadium in Moraga.
The Mustangs (0-1) fell to the Gaels (1-0) for the second consecutive season, as Saint Mary’s won 2-1 last season inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
From the opening whistle, the Gaels pushed the pace of the game, taking three shots on goal within the first three minutes of play. Saint Mary’s kept the Mustangs on their heels for the opening 10 minutes. However, Cal Poly settled into the game after weathering the offensive storm.
In the 30th minute, a goal from the Gaels’ Tessa Salvestrin put Saint Mary’s on the board. Not long after, a second goal came in the 34th minute from Brianna Salvetti to make it a 2-0 Saint Mary’s advantage.
Just before the end of the first half, the Gaels added another goal in the 44th minute from Priscilla Ward. All three Saint Mary’s goals were scored by freshmen.
Cal Poly looked for an answer in the second half, which nearly came in the 59th minute when freshman midfielder Brennan Cole hit the crossbar on a free kick.
The Mustangs ultimately found the back of the net when senior midfielder Camille Lafaix, who led the team with two shots on goal, chipped one over the keeper in the 83rd minute on an assist from freshman forward Emily Lieber.
The goal was Lafaix’s 13th career goal for Cal Poly.
Lafaix nearly netted a second goal in the 89th minute, but a last-minute save kept the match at a 3-1 stalemate, and ultimately, a 3-1 defeat.
The Gaels outshot the Mustangs 12-11 despite Cal Poly drawing eight corner kicks compared to Saint Mary’s three.
Sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Samuel saved eight shots while allowing the three goals on the afternoon.
Cal Poly falls to 4-7-1 all-time against Saint Mary’s and is winless in their last seven season openers.
The Mustangs will look to bounce back in their home opener when they welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 10:30 a.m.