Aztec women’s soccer beats No. 17 Kentucky, faces two tough Pac-12 opponents this weekend

by Brandon Truffa, Staff Writer

The San Diego State women’s soccer team is riding high following a weekend road victory over No. 17 University of Kentucky.

“We came out strong,” junior defender Jen Rupey said. “We went into every tackle hard and it felt like we wanted it more.”

The 2-0 victory Sunday night marked the Aztecs’ second straight win over a ranked opponent and bumped their regular season record to 2-0 for the first time since 2012.

Sophomore forward Angela Mitchell scored the first goal of the match at the 15-minute mark of the first half to put the Aztecs up 1-0.

But they knew they needed some insurance.

That insurance came 11 seconds into the second half, courtesy of freshman utility player Milan Moses, who put the Aztecs up 2-0 and smacked the nail in the coffin.

“We did a good job in limiting their goal-scoring opportunities, even when the momentum swayed in their favor,” SDSU head coach Mike Friesen said.

Limiting opponent opportunities has become the Aztecs’ calling card this season. They haven’t surrendered a goal so far, outscoring their opponents 8-0.

However, that strength will be put to the test on the road this weekend against two Pac-12 powerhouses: UC Berkeley and Arizona State University.

On Saturday SDSU plays Cal, the team that ended the Aztecs’ hopes at a national title last season.

Cal’s gotten off to a rocky start with a 1-2-0 record, including a home loss against international opponent Beijing Normal University.

But Friesen still believes Cal will present a difficult challenge for his squad.

“They’re a quality team, similar to ours in terms of personnel and style of play,” Friesen said. “We’ve seen a lot of each other in the NCAA tournament the last three years.”

Friesen also said the experience of Cal’s players could tip the scales in the Bears’ favor.

“One of their strengths is they are an older team that’s been together. They have very few new players,” Friesen said.

Those players include senior forward Celeste Boureille, senior forward Ifeoma Onumonu and junior forward Arielle Ship.

Boureille showcased her endurance last year against SDSU when she clocked a season-high 104 minutes of playing time.

Onumonu’s season was cut short early last year after a leg injury ended her campaign, but she led the team in goals and points in 2013.

Shipp scored a hat trick this season against the University of Hawaii and currently leads the team in goals.

SDSU then plays ASU on Monday.

“Arizona State is a really physical team,” Friesen said. “We’re going to have to use our pace and our possession to break the game down.”

Friesen spoke about the play of ASU senior forward Cali Farquharson, who in the past two seasons led the team in goals and points.

“She’s scored a lot of goals for them, so we definitely need to be aware of her,” Friesen said.