Aztec women’s soccer continue their losing streak over the weekend

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The SDSU Sports Deck

by Marco Perez and Adam Correa

San Diego State Aztecs (1-5-0) continued a losing streak that totals to five straight. The Aztecs lost 3-0 to the Washington State Cougars (2-0-1) Thursday night, and 2-1 to the Long Beach State Beach (3-2-0) Sunday night.

Three of the five teams the Aztecs have lost to are ranked in the Top 40 of the NCAA D1 women’s soccer rankings. Head coach Mike Friesen wants to challenge his teams with their non-conference schedule.

“If you look at our schedule we are playing, basically, three of the four Final Four teams from the last full season (2019),” Friesen said. “We want our team to see what it looks like from a competitive standpoint. Record-wise, I’m never fearful of losing games. We want to play the absolute best schedule we can to put ourselves in a position to win it all at some point.”

Washington State Thursday, Sept. 2

The Cougars opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Senior forward Elyse Bennett found space on the right side to get a cross-off. Her cross found senior midfielder Sydney Studer on the back post and her header found the back of the net. 

Washington State kept the game in the Aztecs’ half for most of the first half. SDSU was outshot 8 to1 and the score could have been more than 1 to 0 if it weren’t for key saves made by the Aztecs’ sophomore keeper Alexa Madueno. Madueno finished the game with nine saves. 

“Alexa has had a monster of a year already,” Friesen said. “I’m excited about the level she’s playing at. She is keeping us in games and giving us a chance. I think that it is motivating the group in front of her to continue to work and deal with things that are really difficult.”

The Aztecs didn’t get their first shot on goal until the 77th minute. Freshman defender Trinity Coker got a bouncing ball 25 yards away from the goal. Her shot had some power on it, but went right into the hands of senior Cougar goalkeeper Marissa Zucchetto.

Bennett had been using her speed to get behind the Aztec defense all game and was able to get behind the defense to help set up the Cougars’ second goal in the 85th minute. She made a run from the midfield and got into the right side of the Aztec box. She played a pass on the ground to the back post to wide-open junior forward Grayson Lynch for a tap-in open goal. 

Lynch would get her second goal of the match two minutes later when she took advantage of an SDSU defensive error. She intercepted the ball from an Aztec defender and fired a shot into the top left corner, past Madueno. 

The Aztecs are a young team, with many underclassmen getting minutes early in the season. For freshman midfielder Alexys Ocampo, she is using the minutes given to her to get used to the speed of the collegiate game.

“The level is way faster and more competitive,” Ocampo said after Thursday’s game. “I have to be more aggressive and be able to keep the ball more. I’m also playing a new position, so I’m having to learn how to play a new position while playing at a high level, but it’s really different from high school.”

Long Beach State Sunday, Sept. 5

The Aztecs totaled 19 shots with seven shots on goal against the Beach. Long Beach’s junior forward Lena Silano scored twice: once on a penalty kick and another assisted by senior teammate Kaylee Ramirez.

Before the game, Friesen told his team that he wanted them to shoot more to create more opportunities.

“We need to be better finishers,” Friesen said.  “I think we had multiple chances in the first half to put a ball on the ground in a corner and we hit it high. Even on our services we created so many opportunities for service and hit the first defender.”

In the first 23 minutes, the Aztecs were strong against the Beach with a lot of pressure and scoring chances. LBSU got their first scoring opportunity in the 24th minute — a corner kick that was headed on goal and stopped by goalkeeper Madueno.

Freshman midfielder Denise Castro — who scored the only goal for the Aztecs and now has two goals this season — said they needed more energy tonight. 

“I just feel that determination to want to score goals is what we need but I feel like overall we did a really good job,” Castro said. 

Senior defender Malia Kaleiohi, who played the full game and had four shots, said the positive was the strong start but the negative was giving up the penalty kick and a goal in at the back post.

“It was definitely a frustrating game, there were some tears shed so I think hopefully this will be a strong realization that we need to work on some things together,” Kaleiohi said. “Whether that’s focusing more on trainings at pieces, listening, we just have a few little things to get better that’s gonna turn the game around completely.”

The Aztecs play next against the University of San Diego at Torero Stadium on Friday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. The next home game will be against the University of California Los Angeles at the SDSU Sports Desk on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 6:00 p.m. 

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