Aztecs rebound From Tough Weekend With Necessary Win

by publicationarchive

SDSU women’s soccer team, shut out in Arizona, responds with win and tie in pivotal weekend against local opponents By Nicole Mehta, Staff WriterAfter a scoreless weekend in Arizona, the San Diego State women’ssoccer team needed something to lift its spirits.

It got what it needed this past weekend, coming away with avictory over Cal State Northridge and a double-overtime tie againstUC Santa Barbara.

“We don’t ever want to be happy with a good tie,” head coachMichael Giuliano said. “But Northridge has had wins over some verygood teams, and UCSB just beat No. 18 Arizona 3-0. We weresignificant underdogs going into these games. I’m very, very pleased.”

The Aztecs edged out the Matadors in an action-packed game 3-2Friday afternoon. It was a high-scoring first half for both teams.Senior midfielder Jessica Korpela was the first to get SDSU on thescoreboard. Less than four minutes into the game, Korpela converted aMatador turnover into an Aztec goal.

Northridge freshman midfielder Kristin Krohn tied the game soonafter, but Aztec junior forward Alexis Solovij came right back. Fourminutes after Krohn’s goal, Solovij scored on a breakaway to giveSDSU the lead again. Solovij has been a key player for the Aztecs,leading the team in scoring and having a game-high four shots for theteam.

Matador freshman defender Jackie Kecskes scored another goal forNorthridge at the 20:28 mark to even the score, but SDSU refused togo down.

After exchanging two scores apiece, senior forward CourtneyBurns’shot hit the back of the net at the 38:16 mark. Freshmanforward Tiphanie Elliot earned the assist on the game-winning goal.

Northridge had not allowed a single first half goal before theAztecs hit and shot three daggers into the Matadors. It was also abreakout game for SDSU. After scoring only five shots during thewhole season, the team scored three goals in one half.

Unfortunately, the Aztecs couldn’t keep their scoring streak aliveagainst the Gauchos. SDSU has had trouble putting the ball in the netall season, and it hit them hard on Sunday ending in a scoreless tie.With three players taking two shots apiece and four others gettingone each, the Aztecs just couldn’t get on the scoreboard.

Giuliano’s high-pressure style of play is working well for theteam. He implemented it when he came to SDSU this year and has beenputting the team through many physical fitness exercises in order toget them up to the level needed to maintain the intensity. Themissing link has been the offense.

“We’re still struggling to score,” Giuliano said. “The power ofour high pressure defense is showing. Right now, it’s the closest tomy vision that I’ve seen so far. If we keep playing that way on aconsistent basis and work on our offense, we can unnerve teams andhave a fun conference season in two weeks.”

On the bright side, their defense was phenomenal. The Gauchos wereshut out for only the second time this season. Senior defender NoelleJouglet had a stellar performance, playing great defense on one ofUCSB’s top players – senior forward Jennifer Borcich. Seniorgoalkeeper Sophia Perez also had a good game, making five saves andimproving her goals against average to 0.62.

“Jennifer is faster and bigger than Noelle, but Noelle was sotough when she was given the responsibility to stop her,” Giulianosaid. “She did a tremendous job.”

The Aztecs, now with a record of 3-4-3, are happy with theirperformance.

“We’re in the fifth game of this eight game stretch right now andall of these teams have a legitimate chance of going to the NCAAtournament,” Giuliano said.

“I would be lying if I said I was disappointed. There hasn’t beena single game this season where it was not a possibility for us towin in the second half. We’re playing some very good teams and we areproving that we can play with anybody. “