Women’s soccer’s defense finds another shutout victim

by Brandon Truffa, Staff Writer

September 25 in Boise, Idaho.

That was the time the San Diego State women’s soccer team (8-4, 4-1 Mountain West) allowed a goal.

Since then, the Aztecs have played four matches, 360 minutes and have outscored their opponents 12-0.

Friday night at the Sports Deck against Colorado State University (3-9, 0-4-1 MW) was business as usual for the Aztecs, a 3-0 shutout win.

SDSU head coach Mike Friesen believes his team’s recent shutout streak is a team effort and a result of limiting chances.

“It’s really a group effort,” Friesen said. “I think we’ve done a really good job over the last four games of making sure we’ve limited chances. We’ve had the shutouts, but there have been very few good chances against us.”

Another trend the Aztecs have been showing is their ability to come out of the gates strong and fast.

Friesen talked about the importance of fast starts and getting out to an early lead.

“That’s certainly a focus for us,” Friesen said. “It forces other teams to come out of their shells. The longer the game stays 0-0, the more the other team can play defensive, sit back, and that’s harder to score goals.”

That trend also continued Friday.

The first 10 minutes of the match were seemingly played only in the offensive zone for the Aztecs, and they were able to create many chances.

Sophomore forward Aliyah Utush almost put the Aztecs on the board 5 minutes into the game, but her shot was deflected by a CSU defender and sailed high over the net.

However, they finally struck gold 8 minutes in when junior defender Jen Rupey sent a cross into the box, where junior forward Hedda Regefalk was able to out-jump her defender, and headed it into the net.

From there, SDSU continued their onslaught of chances.

Freshman forward Milan Moses played a ball that sliced right through the box in the 23rd minute, but none of her teammates were able to get a piece of it.

Less than 10 minutes later, the Aztecs found twine for the second time in the match.

Freshman forward Leah Pruitt weaved a through ball through CSU’s defense right onto the foot of sophomore forward Dani DeRosa, who was able to sprint ahead and fire a shot through the hands of CSU’s redshirt-junior goalkeeper Jesse McGinley.

The goal put SDSU up 2-0 in the 32nd minute and was DeRosa’s second of the season, while also scoring in consecutive games.

The Aztec defense held CSU to one shot in the first half, which Melanie Vaughn was able to save.

Heading into the locker room, SDSU led in shots, 9-1.

The Aztecs used the second half to rest some legs for their upcoming match against University of Wyoming on Sunday.

“We obviously have to go to altitude this weekend at 7,200 feet,” Friesen said. “So we want to make sure we’re as fresh as we possibly can be heading into Sunday’s game. As we saw that in this game we were in control of it, we wanted to make sure we use our strength, which is all of our players.”

But this didn’t stop them from once again striking quickly out of the gate in the second half.

Four minutes in, Pruitt picked up her second assist on the night when she crossed a pass over to Moses, who then slipped the ball past McGinley to give the Aztecs a commanding 3-0 lead.

Following the game, Moses was excited about scoring, and praised Pruitt’s effort on the assist.

“It felt good, especially coming from my teammate,” Moses said. “It was a nice pass and I’m glad I scored.”

Although the dominant lead, the Aztecs defense continued to make big plays.

Sophomore defender Stacie Moran made a crucial steal to prevent a CSU breakaway in the 54th minute.

Melanie Vaughn saw a little more action in the second half, making three saves, including one in the 78th minute when she sprawled out to get a hand on a CSU shot that was wide to her left.

However, CSU was unable to find a leak in the Aztec’s defensive wall, and the Aztecs picked up their 4th straight shutout in a 3-0 victory.

Tomorrow, the Aztecs will pack their bags and look for their fifth straight conference victory on the road at high altitude against Wyoming.

Friesen spoke about the team’s necessary preparations for the match in difficult conditions.

“Tonight we’ve got to get a good recovery and get food in us pretty quickly for recovery as well. Then we’ll just hydrate as much as we possibly can,” Friesen said. “The nice part is we’ll only have to be there for 24 hours. That’ll be good for our bodies.”