Oct. 9, 2014
Highlanders 1 – Anteaters 0
There’s something about the friendly confines of UCR’s soccer field that gives the women’s soccer team a little extra motivation. For the fourth time this season, the Highlanders left the green grass snuggled between the softball field and Materials Science and Engineering Building without a loss.
Brittany Mata slammed home the only score of the evening in the 35th minute as the Highlanders recorded their second consecutive victory over conference foe UC Irvine, who the university beat in the semifinals of the Big West Conference tournament last season.
UC Irvine had opportunities early as its first two shots were directed on target, but halted by the defense of goalie Elizabeth Silas, who tallied four saves on the night. UCR outshot the Anteaters, 7-5, in the first half, including Mata’s score.
The Anteaters raised their level of play in the second half, getting decent shots at the goal and outshooting the home team, 5-2. None of their attempts connected, however, and UCR held on for its first conference win. UCR’s Tyler Cunningham and Blanca Barrio registered their sixth assists of the season, tying a program record held by Vanessa Chanez and Amber Plumlee.
Irvine was held scoreless for the first time in eight matches while the Highlanders moved to 6-4-3. The win came on the heels of a dip in play for the Highlanders. The team lost two of its last three games after starting off their 2014 campaign 4-1-1. The squad opened the season with two consecutive wins and a tie before being crushed by nationally ranked USC, 1-8. The Highlanders rebounded with two solid victories against Bakersfield and Northern Iowa.
UCR next plays at home on Friday, Oct. 17 against UC Santa Barbara.