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Fresno State women’s soccer opens conference play against San Diego State

Fresno+State+midfielder+Adriana+Maldonado+looks+into+the+field+before+throwing+the+ball+in+at+Bulldog+Soccer+Stadium%2C+on+Sept.+21.+
Jaqueline Carrillo
Fresno State midfielder Adriana Maldonado looks into the field before throwing the ball in at Bulldog Soccer Stadium, on Sept. 21.

Fresno State’s women’s soccer team opened Mountain West season play with a loss after falling 5-1 at home against San Diego State on Sept. 21 at Bulldog Soccer Stadium.

Head Coach Brian Zwaschka said San Diego State capitalized on his team’s mistakes after not taking advantage of its scoring opportunities.

“We conceded so many goals and had so many chances to answer early, but we didn’t. The game obviously got away from us,” Zwaschka said.

Following the loss, Fresno State’s season record now sits at 1-5-3 (0-1-0 in the Mountain West) and has gone through seven consecutive games without a win.

The first half of the match was competitive as both teams fought aggressively for ball possession at midfield.

The Bulldogs pressured up top in hopes of recovering the ball closer to the opposing goal, and had the Aztec defensive line on alert just a few minutes after kickoff.

The Aztecs responded with a scoring chance in the 10th minute as San Diego State forward Emma Gaines-Ramos won a ball inside the box following a miscommunication on Fresno State’s defense, but was denied by Bulldog goalkeeper Valentina Vivas who momentarily kept the score even at zero.

Senior Bailee Beach kicks the ball against San Diego State at the conference opener. (Jaqueline Carrillo)

After 19 minutes of a scoreless draw, Aztec midfielder Denise Castro pounced on a low cross from right field inside the box to push the ball into the back of the net and make the score 1-0 for San Diego State.

Still shaken by the first goal of the night, the Bulldogs were caught off guard just one minute later when Gaines-Ramos dribbled the ball at high speed into the box and blasted it past Vivas.

Fresno State was down 2-0 after giving up two goals in 60 seconds.

“It just happened so fast and I really couldn’t tell what was going on. We can’t let that happen again,” said Bulldog forward Ciara Wilson.

Aztec forward Kali Trevithick made it 3-0 for San Diego State with a header inside the box in the 52nd minute.

The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in the 57th minute to shorten the lead by two for Fresno State. Bulldog Kaya Scott stole the ball from an Aztec defender to send a cross into the box where Wilson pushed the ball into the back of the net after rebounding off San Diego State goalkeeper Alexa Madueno.

While scoring the lone goal for the Bulldogs didn’t help the team get a positive result, Wilson said she seeks to build her confidence off of it.

“I think it’s more about just poise and trusting yourself that you’re going to make it. I struggled with that a lot in the preseason,” she said. “This is my first goal. I’m putting it in my head like I know I’m going to make this. I just have to be calm and just focus on getting the ball in the back of the net. The score was 5-1, but we still got that goal and that means a lot to me.”

Wilson led the offense with three shots, all of them on goal.

The joy of shortening the lead didn’t last long as Trevithick scored her second goal of the night with a shot near the penalty spot in the 61st minute after winning the ball off a rebound, to make it 4-1 for the Aztecs.

Defender Jenna West netted San Diego State’s fifth goal in the 76th minute to close the final score.

The Fresno State soccer team huddles and cheers before its match. (Jaqueline Carrillo)

Fresno State has now conceded a total of 16 goals in nine matches.

The Bulldogs have also lacked accuracy on offense.

Fresno State outshot San Diego State 10-9 but was unable to reflect these numbers on the scoreboard.

“We just need a little bit more poise in front of the goal,” Zwaschka said. “If the team wasn’t getting chances I’d be concerned, but the hardest thing to do is to just get it over the line. They put their chances away and we didn’t.”

Vivas was substituted for Kaydence Cortez-Garcia in the second half. Both goalkeepers picked up one save.

Zwaschka has alternated between the two keepers in several matches throughout the season because he thinks it’s a way of motivating them to perform at their most optimal level.

“Valentina has been starting for us and she has the most experience, but we also want to keep it competitive,” Zwaschka said.On21

The Bulldogs will remain at home for their second match of Mountain West play as they prepare to face New Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 24 with kickoff starting at noon at Bulldog Soccer Stadium.

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