Soccer teams slug it out with Santa Cruz


Photo by Kedar Dutt/The Pioneer

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

On Friday, both the women and men’s soccer teams played at the Pioneer Stadium in their final non-conference games of the season against the University of California, Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

The game was a chance for the two teams to prepare for the rest of the season, where they will be playing all California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference games and fight for a chance in the playoffs.

Men’s Soccer

The men took advantage of the match with the Banana Slugs and executed their game plan, which sophomore midfielder Jared Johnson said was to, “play the game; we play and do not let the other team dictate the way we play our game.”

Throughout the first half of the game, the Pioneers stayed true to the plan — controlled the tempo and put constant pressure on Santa Cruz (2-7-1 overall). The Pioneers managed to get off 10 shots in the first half, but could not put any of their chances away, which resulted in a 0-0 stalemate by the end of the first half.

The game remained scoreless until the 68th minute when Santa Cruz’s goalkeeper, freshman Andrew Pimentel blocked multiple consecutive shots from several Pioneers. However, East Bay sophomore midfielder Jared Johnson followed up on the last block made by Pimentel and put a shot into the bottom right of the goal. The goal was Johnson’s first of the season, as well as his first at the collegiate level.

“Steffan Sauer got the ball on the right side and sent the ball in and it initially passed my foot, but Davis Okonkwo took a shot and the keeper blocked it and I was able to follow up and put in the back of the net,” Johnson said.

The Pioneers gained some momentum after the goal and six minutes later senior defender Juan Alfaro also scored his first goal of the season. The Pioneers were fouled outside the 18 yard box on an offensive push and Alfaro took the penalty shot and scored.

Alfaro’s goal secured the East Bay win, which is their second win in a row. Senior midfielder Victor Calderon led the Pioneers with five shots, senior midfielder Zach Leon and junior midfielder Michael Paiva each had two.

“We have to continue playing our style of play and not let teams rattle us,” said Alfaro. “We have the team to reach the playoffs and do well in conference, but it’s all about staying true to ourselves and winning our home games especially.”

East Bay’s plan of dictating the pace has them at 5-5 overall and 1-3 in CCAA play. Their next game is tomorrow at Cal State San Bernardino (5-3-1 overall, 3-2- 1 conference) at 12:30 p.m. Their next home game is Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. against Chico State (3-4-3, 2-2-2).

Women’s Soccer

The East Bay’s women’s soccer team had a different outcome against Santa Cruz (2-6-1) than the men when they were forced to play their second overtime game in a row.

The Pioneers dominated the shots on goal as they overpowered the Banana Slugs 14-6, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities.

The first half ended with the score tied at zero and East Bay was frustrated with their inability to score.

“We have to be a lot hungrier in the box,” said senior midfielder Andrea Hernandez. “Whether that be. Diving, throwing our bodies at the ball…anything that is going to help us get a goal.”

In the 57th minute, Santa Cruz was able to get on the board first. Senior midfielder Megan Carey was able to put the ball over the Pioneers’ senior goalkeeper Jasmine Corbet after she received a long pass from her goalkeeper, senior Athena Del Rosario.

East Bay didn’t let the goal discourage them and just 53 seconds later, freshman forward Jessey Santos scored her first goal of the season when she struck a shot at the bottom left post, that tied the game at one.

After the game, Santos explained that the feeling was amazing after she scored but she quickly realized the game was still tied. In the last 12 seconds of regulation, Corbet made a clutch save that helped the Pioneers avoid a loss and sent the game into overtime.

Throughout overtime, East Bay had multiple chances to score but were unable to convert them, ending the game in a tie, 1-1.

East Bay is now 2-5-3 overall and 1-3-0 in conference games this season. Their next game is tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Cal State San Bernardino (4-5-1, 3-2-1) and CSUEB’s next home game is Oct. 16 at 11:30 a.m. against Chico State (4-6-1, 0-6-0).