CSUEB Women’s Soccer Held Back in a Thrilling 2-2 Draw

Shubham Sharma, Sports Editor

On Aug. 25, California State University, East Bay women’s soccer team began the season against Northwest Nazarene University.
The Pioneers kicked off the season on a high note, having recently won the NCAA Division-II Championship.
NNU’s Nighthawks started the game off strong, continuously testing the Pioneer’s defense. The visitors took the lead at the 7-minute mark as the Nighthawks’ center back Makalya Roggow pickpocketed the Pioneer’s defense and slid the ball through for NNU’s forward Sierra Sanchez to chip the ball over the goalkeeper’s head, scoring the opener.
After conceding the first goal, the Pioneers rose to the challenge with a positive mindset. In a collective effort, the Pioneer’s midfield trio of Yvette Mareno, Mika Sayfurahman, and Kesley Pena created a number of opportunities to secure a potential goal, pinning the Nighthawks in their half of the field.
The Pioneers tied the score for the first time at the 14-minute mark, as forward Morgan Pearson finished a sublime goal assisted by Sayfurahman. The teams remained neck and neck throughout the first half as both teams played offensively, leaving space for the Nighthawks to take advantage.
The Pioneers scored again in the dying minutes of the first half as defender Abigail Kern found herself one-on-one with the NNU goalkeeper in a quick counter. Moreno assisted Kern’s goal with a timely pass, with the Pioneers ending the first half with a one-goal lead over the Nighthawks.
NNU began the second half determined to balance the score, while CSUEB was determined to maintain the advantage and secure the first victory of the season. The Pioneer’s goalkeeper Jordan Smith was repeatedly tested throughout the second half as NNU forwards breached the defensive line multiple times. The Pioneer defense finally caved to the resilient NNU attacks and the competitors scored just 3 minutes before the full-time whistle.
NNU midfielder Madison Grande showcased a magical strike, pinging the ball in the top left corner of the goal just outside the penalty box. The game concluded with a controversial referee call seconds before the full-time whistle, as a clear handball from inside the penalty box was dismissed. Ultimately, the game ended in a 2-2 draw in what was a competitive and tough opening game for the CSUEB women’s soccer team.