Aztec women’s soccer opens homestand with 3-0 thumping of UNLV

by Brandon Truffa, Staff Writer

There’s something to say about the month of October and the San Diego State women’s soccer team.

Since 2009, the Aztecs have posted a 36-7-3 overall record and a home record of 17-3 in the month of Halloween, crunchy leaves and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

SDSU head coach Mike Friesen believes the success has a correlation with team bonding.

“This is the part of the year where we really start to come together,” Friesen said.

Friday night, the Aztecs (6-4, 2-1 MW) welcomed their favorite month with a 3-0 dominating win over their Mountain West rival UNLV Rebels (5-7, 0-3).

After having not played a game on the Sports Deck in 15 days, the Aztecs were anxious to play in front of a home crowd.

SDSU drew blood early, taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by sophomore forward Aliyah Utush in the 14th minute.

Eight minutes later, junior midfielder Victoria Barba played a David Beckham-like ball into the box off of a corner, where freshman utility player Milan Moses was waiting to finish it into the net, and make it 2-0 Aztecs.

Barba wasn’t quite finished yet.

After freshman forward Leah Pruitt was taken down violently at the top of the penalty box, the Aztecs earned a free kick. Barba lined it up and rifled it past UNLV sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Sallee, giving the Aztecs a commanding 3-0 lead.

Following the match, Friesen had high praise for Barba’s performance and role on the team.

“She really controls the tempo of our team, and keeps the ball moving for us,” Friesen said. “She’s such an experienced player for us at this point, and helps us organize well on the defensive side.”

In the 28th minute, junior forward Hedda Regefalk pulled off a crafty move that put her in a one-on-one position with the goalkeeper. However, she was denied on a wonderful save.

In total, Regefalk was tied with the team lead for shots in the game with five.

Regefalk was pleased with her performance, but she wished she could have added a goal to her stat line.

“I thought I had a good game,” Regefalk said. “I was happy to get those chances, I just wish I could have put them away.”

UNLV had its fair share of chances as well in the first half. The Rebels fired four shots on SDSU senior goalkeeper Melanie Vaughn, one of which ricocheted off the crossbar in the 26th minute.  

The Aztecs and Rebels traded chances in the second half, but neither team was able to capitalize and the Aztecs walked out with their sixth win of the year. 

The Aztecs outshot their rival 21-13, something Friesen said is a direct outcome of his team’s ability of sharing the ball.

“We want to create chances, of course, but the way we do that is breaking it down with our passing,” Friesen said. “We’re really looking to create a lot of passing opportunities for ourselves in keeping the ball, and wearing the other team down.”

According to Friesen, the Aztecs shared the ball quite a bit on Friday night.

“I think we were at 440 passes tonight, to their 150 or something like that,” Friesen said.

Friesen believes that Friday night’s win is a great momentum builder heading into their upcoming Sunday afternoon home match against fellow MW opponent University of Nevada.

“Overall, dominant performance. I thought that was a good momentum-builder going into Sunday’s game,” Friesen said. “We got a lot of people playing time, a lot of people rest, so it’s a good set-up for the next game.”