Gaels Defeat USF 3-1 to Finish Season Strong
By: Christian Portillo
MORAGA, CALIF. - A day after beating UC Santa Cruz 1-0, the Saint Mary’s Women’s Club Soccer team defeated the University of San Francisco 3-1 to finish their season on a strong note.
The back-to-back did not bode well for the Gaels at first, as they played a step slower than the Dons. A penalty on the Gaels led to a USF free kick from the right side, which a Lady Don nailed perfectly with a nice and high arching kick for the first goal of the match.
Saint Mary’s was able to get a few shots off, but some were just off while others were saved by USF’s persistent goalkeeper.
The Gaels overcame the lethargic start when Jamie Cimino delivered a strike from the right side through the net with just over seven minutes remaining until halftime. With two minutes left, the Gaels had multiple opportunities to break the 1-1 tie but just could not convert.
However, the momentum shift from Cimino’s goal carried over into the second half, where the Gaels played more like their true selves. Seven and a half minutes into the half, Jakelin Escobar received an inbound pass on the right side of the box and took advantage of her great positioning by scoring on the strong side to give Saint Mary’s a 2-1 lead.
On the break, Cimino had a nice shot which was saved by USF’s goalkeeper. She did not let this discourage her from continuing to be aggressive and her hard work paid off later. About fourteen minutes after Escobar’s goal, Cimino assisted Kathleen Casey on a beautifully executed header to extend the Gael’s lead to 3-1 and essentially put the game out of reach.
Saint Mary’s had even more scoring opportunities to keep the Dons on their heels, but nothing substantial came out of them. There was no 3-1 lead blown here as the Gaels’ defense never let USF crawl back in the game due to good communication and teamwork.
With the 3-1 win, the Gaels finish the Fall 2016 campaign with a 4-3-1 record. The back-to-back wins this weekend against UC Santa Cruz and USF were critical in boosting their standing in the NorCal League of the West Coast Soccer Association to second place, only behind Stanford (as of right now). Because both UC Berkeley and San Jose State each have one game remaining, it is still possible for Saint Mary’s to fall from second place to fourth place at worst. This would only be the case if both teams won their respective matches. If they both lose, Saint Mary’s would remain second in the league. The Gaels finish the season with a ratio of 15 total goals scored to 12 total goals allowed over the course of eight games played. All in all, the Women’s Club Soccer team should be proud of the strong season they put together no matter what the final standings come out to be.