UCR women’s soccer: Third time’s a charm

Jimmy Lai/HIGHLANDER
Jimmy Lai/HIGHLANDER

October 29, 2015

Highlanders 1 – Matadors 0

Get ready for Thursday, November 5 because UC Riverside’s women’s soccer team is heading to the Big West conference semifinals. On Thursday, October 29 UC Riverside took on the CSU Northridge Matadors in a match that would determine their chances to move on to the Big West Conference tournament. After making the championship in 2013 and missing the tournament altogether in 2014, the Highlanders bounced back this year with a decisive with a 1-0 victory.

The match was in the Highlanders favor early on as their first goal was made just 23 minutes into the first half. With the assistance of midfielder Blanca Barrio, Highlanders’ forward, Brittany Mata was able to head in the ball and score the only goal they needed.

Throughout the rest of the match, the Highlanders worked hard to keep the game in their favor and their efforts paid off as they held the Matadors to a mere seven shots on the evening — even more paltry when compared to UCR’s 17.

Women’s soccer’s defeat over the Matadors bumps them up to the fourth spot in the conference, qualifying them for the Big West Championships. With November 5th right around the corner, the Highlanders are waiting to see whom they will be playing in the Big West Conference semifinal match between either the UCSB Gauchos or Cal State Long Beach.

Even so, the anticipation for the semifinals is growing, especially given that UCR could face a rematch against the Gauchos whom they lost to in the 2003 semifinals.The Highlanders may also get an opportunity for revenge against the Titans after their double-overtime championship loss in 2013 in which UCR fell to penalty kicks, 2-1.

Nevertheless, the Highlanders won’t know their exact opponent until November 1st after UCSB takes on CSUN. If the Gauchos win or tie they are guaranteed the number one spot in the conference tournament. However, if they lose, Cal State Long Beach will take the first spot in the standings and UCR will face the Gauchos in the first round.

After only qualifying twice before for the Big West Conference, the UC Riverside women’s soccer team is finding great success as they embark upon this new terrain. The team’s 11 wins on the year are the second-most victories in the history of the program (second only to the 13 matches won in 2004) and they now look to continue to make history after punching their tournament bid over the weekend. The Highlanders will take on their next opponent this upcoming Thursday at 5 p.m. PT and look to earn a victory and advance in the conference championships.

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