UCR women’s soccer has been on an absolute tear to start off the season, going 9-0-1 throughout the team’s first ten games, with nine of these wins being shutouts. Additionally, UCR has allowed only one goal total so far this season, and leads the nation with a .971 save percentage and a .900 shutout percentage. Despite the team’s best start since the 2004 season, and despite being the only unbeaten team in the Big West, the question still looms if the Highlanders can keep up the same momentum heading into conference play. Here’s where they finished last season, as well as what to look out for heading into this season.
2017-2018 Big West Conference seed: Third in Big West
2017-2018 record: 5-3-0 (15 points)
Result: Loss in semi-finals of Big West Tournament
NCAA appearances: 1 (2005)
Head Coach: Nat Gonzalez (sixth-year head coach)
Players to watch:
Feist’s stellar start to the season is partly why the Highlanders have been on a streak as of late. The senior midfielder has come up big time and time again for her team when needed most by scoring and getting her teammates involved. At one point, Feist even led the Big West Conference in goals scored. Feist’s mentality heading into this season also embodies the entire team’s mentality of no longer wanting to be written off. It seems as if every player is treating each game like it’s their last, with any effort less than 100 percent seen as a personal offense. When asked postgame about her performance against Fresno State, Feist shared with gohighlanders.com how the team wanted revenge against the Bulldogs, saying “[they] beat us 1-0 last year, so we wanted to come out with more grit.” With Feist performing well in the clutch and the rest of the team buying into this vendetta-type season, there’s no question that UCR can reach even further goals this season.
Coming off the All-Big West Second Team last season, the junior defender continues her task of organizing and leading the defense – this time at a higher rate. With Feist and Quinley Quezada leading the charge on the offensive end, it’s easy for defenders to be overlooked, especially when it comes to stats. The gritty work of defenders preventing the opposing team from penetrating the defense is nowhere near as lauded as offense is. Roy is a huge reason why the Highlanders have only given up one goal throughout their first ten games. If the third-year defender can keep it up, the Highlanders are in prime position to at least go further than last year’s squad.
Prediction: Big West Champions
Sunday, Sept. 30 at Cal State Fullerton at 5 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 against Cal Poly at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 7 against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m.