Despite leading for the majority of the match, Cal Poly women’s soccer fell 2-1 in the final minutes to Saint Mary’s in their second game of the regular season on Sunday, Aug. 22 inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Head coach Alex Crozier is hopeful that these first two results will not define the rest of the season for the Mustangs.
“We just got to get back to playing and building, because we’re only a shell of what we’re going to be,” Crozier said. “The potential for this group is really, really good.”
The Saint Mary’s Gaels (2-0-0) began the first 10 minutes by attacking and keeping the ball in their half of the field until Cal Poly (0-2-0) flipped the script and started to find space in the midfield to make plays going forward.
Sophomore forward Nikki Trucco opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a right-footed floater over the goalkeeper from outside the 18-yard box for her first goal of the season.
In the 34th minute, the Gaels nearly evened the score with a headed attempt off a corner from Maya Alcantara, but junior goalkeeper Ava Dorvillier caught the ball with ease to keep the Mustangs ahead.
Cal Poly attempted to notch their second goal of the afternoon with a shot from freshman midfielder Kate Reedy that was saved on the goal line in the final eight seconds of the half.
“I think that something we need to get better on is not freaking out when we’re in the box,” Trucco said. “A lot of it is communication, taking your time, taking a touch and just really focusing on placing it in the corners.”
20 minutes into the second half, Saint Mary’s attack put the pressure on the Cal Poly defense with four attempts on goal within the span of four minutes.
In the 74th minute, Saint Mary’s Suzana Shibukawa evened the score 1-1 with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner that slipped just under Dorvillier’s hand.
Seven minutes later, Shibukawa continued to attack with a header off of a corner kick, but Cal Poly’s defense cleared the ball on the goal line with a header themselves to keep the score tied.
However, in the 87th minute, Saint Mary’s midfield found Shibukawa alone in the Mustang penalty area, which led to her second goal of the afternoon to put the Gaels up 2-1.
Cal Poly tried to fight back a minute later, when freshman midfielder McKenna Carbon almost scored the equalizer, but the Gaels’ goalkeeper saved the ball to keep them up in the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
Cal Poly ended the game with eight total shots, with only three of those placed on target whereas Saint Mary’s had ten shots total, with five on target.
As the Mustangs search for their first victory, Trucco said she is hopeful for how the team will continue to find its chemistry on the field to foster better results.
“I think moving forward, figuring out a core [attacking trio] that works really well together and getting used to combining and being able to cross and finish,” Trucco said about what the team can improve on. “I think that’s something we struggled with a little bit.”
Cal Poly will look to turn things around as it continues its four game homestand against Montana on Thursday, Aug. 27 at 7:00 pm.
“They’re resilient, they’ll bounce back,” Crozier said.