Cal Poly women’s soccer ended their Senior Day matchup with the University of Hawaii in a 2-2 draw on Sunday, Sept. 25, inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Mustangs (4-5-1) began their comeback efforts in the second half following a strong opening 10 minutes by the Rainbow Wahine (4-2-2).
“It was great to come back like that and tie it up,” head coach Alex Crozier said postgame.
Hawaii came out firing, scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the game by Krista Peterson and Amber Gilbert. With two goals scored on senior goalkeeper Lindsey Kellog, a change was made and sophomore Mackenzie Samuel was put in.
The rest of the first half seemed to be in favor of the Mustangs, as they dominated time of possession 67% to 37% while taking eight shots on goal compared to the four of the Rainbow Wahine.
According to senior midfielder Monserrat Hernandez Marquez, the team was distracted in the first half and reset after the half.
“[In the] first half, we weren’t focused, you know, so when we went into that locker room, everyone was like we need to focus up,” Marquez said. “It’s our senior day, and there are a lot of distractions, but we are here for a reason, and that’s to win the conference.”
The halftime speech worked, as the Mustangs scored within the first minute of the second half.
Freshman forward Caylie Button received a pass a yard into the box. The Rainbow Wahine goalkeeper, who had to come sliding out from her spot, blocked the initial shot by Button but was not able to corral the deflection, which landed on the right foot of sophomore midfielder Peja Balanon, who finished her third goal of the season into the bottom right corner.
Cal Poly continued to press and dictate the ball throughout the second half, holding 60% of the possession time with 73% being on the attacking side of the pitch.
The Mustangs’ best success came from Carbon making runs down the left side and creating chances with either crosses or moves to the inside. Carbon also took the majority of the corners, an area in which Cal Poly had 13 compared to Hawaii’s zero.
Cal Poly made their last surge for a goal with a minute left. Senior forward Madison Demijohn made a quarter turn over her left shoulder and dribbled for the net, getting tripped up just outside the box and earning a free kick with 30 seconds left in the game.
Up stepped Marquez to take the kick, a move coach Crozier said was made by the girls on the field.
“Very nerve-racking, of course, the last couple seconds of the game, so obviously I tried to calm myself down before I took the free kick try and take my time with it and just focus on getting it on that target,” Marquez said.
Marquez lined a shot into the net’s right side, tying the game at 2-2 with 16 seconds left.
The Mustangs dictated the pace of the game from the start. Although they allowed two quick goals, they were the aggressors from start to finish, outshooting the Rainbow Warriors by a margin of 18 to five.
Because of the quick scoring, Hawaii quickly became a defensive-minded team, at times having eight or nine defenders in the box as Cal Poly made their advances.
Coach Crozier summarized the game in a few words.
“If you can’t win the game, don’t lose it,” Crozier said.
The Mustangs will continue Big West Conference play by traveling to face off against CSU Bakersfield (3-6-2) on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. in Bakersfield.