A sunny evening at Pioneer Stadium pitted two struggling teams against each other, both in search of a confidence boosting victory as the CSU East Bay Pioneers women’s soccer team hosted the Humboldt State Jacks on Saturday.
The Pioneer women (5-7-1, 3-6-1) came away with a 1-0 win against the Jacks (1-9) after tragedy stuck the Humboldt defense. A corner kick from Kara Yamamoto was deflected into the net by two defenders which would end up standing as the game winning goal.
The winning goal was the third goal of the season for Yamamoto, and helped end a three-game home losing streak for the Pioneer women, and an overall three-game losing streak, as they scored for the first time in their past three matches.
The Pioneers outshot the Jacks 11-8 and both teams were aggressive early and often in the match.
Jacks’ coach C.J. Johnson was hoping that Humboldt would be able to control the tempo early against the Pioneers.
“It’s going to be a battle we know that,” Johnson explained before the match. “For us, it’s just a matter of limiting mistakes from past games and hopefully set the tone and play possession soccer.”
At the outset, Humboldt came out swinging and tried to gain the momentum early, but after the first two minutes of play it was all Pioneers in the first half.
The Pioneers took control of possession early, demonstrating their ball handling skills especially playing it from the air. The Pioneers were able to get five shots on goal in the first half, two each coming from senior forward Shianna Falk and senior midfielder Yamamoto.
Early in the game, it seemed as if the Pioneers would hold Humboldt in their own backfield for the rest of regulation, which inevitably became the tone of the game.
By clogging the middle and breaking up would-be plays set up by the Jacks, the Pioneer midfielders quickly slowed the Jacks’opposition’s early pressure.
Once the Jacks had a couple of chances to figure out how to set up outside the Pioneer goal, with only three shots on goal in the first half, CSUEB goalkeeper freshman Jamie Botteon was putting on a clinic in net.
Jacks freshman forward Maddi Null had an early chance to give her team the lead as she kicked a blazing high shot from the penalty arc that prompted Botteon to make a desperate leaping save to prevent the ball from entering the back of the net and prevent a chance for an early Jacks lead.
This was one of the five Humboldt shots Botteon turned away as she posted her second shutout of the season.
The second half of the play would show a Jacks squad adjusting to the Pioneers’ dominance.
Humboldt would control the pace in the second half, but the Pioneer defense would only allow one more shot on goal matching the Humboldt defense.
CSUEB was barely able to get in their own end of the field for the bulk of the second half. Head coach Amy Gerace was heard calling out to her players in frustration, “come on you’re better than this” as she watched.
Pioneers team captain senior defender Zuly Diaz felt her team had been struggling to get the ball in the net but have been improving on mistakes in past games.
The match served as an important, albeit shaky win for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers women’s next conference match will be against Cal Poly Pomona this Friday as they look to stretch their current conference-winning streak to two games.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 12:45 pm.