The Yavapai College women’s soccer team took on the No. 15-ranked Arizona Western College Matadors on Wednesday night at Ken Lindley Field in a matchup that featured teams who were both 6-0 in conference play.
Unfortunately for the Roughriders, the Matadors prevailed with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night, ending YC’s six-game win streak and pushing its overall record to 7-5 and conference mark to 6-1. AWC now leads the conference with a 9-0 overall record and 7-0 conference record.
With just over 20 minutes left in the first half, the Matadors struck first and took a 1-0 lead on a ball that popped loose in front of the net, creating a good scoring chance that AWC cashed in on.
With plenty of fight in them, the Roughriders never surrendered and eight minutes later tied things up at 1-1.
On the play, freshman defender Ziyana De Los Reyes Guerrero touched a ball to freshman midfielder Angelina De Leon who made a defender miss and sent a rocket to the upper-right corner of the Matador net for her second score of the season.
The tie didn’t last long, however, as AWC scored with six minutes left to play in the first half to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.
After the break, both teams were held off the scoresheet and AWC was able to leave Prescott with a 2-1 victory.
The Roughriders are back in action on Saturday, October 8, in Tucson, Arizona, where they will take on the No. 3-ranked Pima Community College Aztecs with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
The Yavapai College men’s soccer team welcomed the conference-leading and No. 7-ranked Arizona Western College Matadors to Ken Lindley Field on Wednesday afternoon and after a fierce battle, the Roughriders emerged victorious with a 2-1 final in overtime.
For the Roughriders, they are now on a four-game win streak after ending Arizona Western’s nine-game win streak. The Matadors drop to 10-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play while the Roughriders move to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play.
“This week, we’ve been working a lot on the mental approach to the game and how important it is to stay present and focused through an entire match,” Head Coach Chris Houser said. “Going down a goal and coming back was a key point of our growth and becoming a better team. I believe in our players and this was a huge win for the program for so many reasons.”
Evenly matched from the start with a fast pace of play and end-to-end action, the Roughriders and Matadors battled all afternoon with each possession intensifying as the day went on.
It was the Matadors, however, that struck first in the contest as they lined up for a corner kick with just under eight minutes left to play. After the kick, the ball bounced around the front of the net and eventually found the foot of an open Matador who deposited it into the net for an easy score with YC’s goalkeeper completely screened on the play.
The resiliency that Coach Houser spoke of came into effect almost immediately after the Arizona Western goal as five minutes later, with two minutes left to play in the first half, the Roughriders scored on a nice play of their own.
Freshman goalkeeper Rushon Sandy lined up for a free kick and sent the ball deep down the field into YC’s offensive zone. From there, sophomore forward Iann Topete corralled the loose ball and fired a shot at the AWC keeper that he was able to stop, but not without a rebound opportunity.
Sophomore defender Alejandro Cardona then beat the keeper to the ball and tapped the ball into the Matador net for his first score of the season while tying the match at 1-1.
The teams then headed into halftime tied 1-1 with momentum starting to build for YC.
That momentum certainly showed on the field in the form of scoring opportunities in the second half (several posts and close calls off of corner kicks), however, the Roughriders were held off the scoresheet for the remainder of regulation.
The Matadors were also held scoreless in the second half, thanks in large part to a stellar save from Sandy with just under 20 minutes left to play in the match. On the play, AWC crossed the ball to the front of the net and headed a shot directly at Sandy who was able to react quickly and snatch the ball out of midair without giving up a rebound opportunity.
With no goals scored in the second half, the teams headed to overtime where two 10-minute halves are scheduled with the golden goal (first to score wins) rule in effect.
With just over three minutes left in the first overtime period, sophomore midfielder Andrew Del Giudice lined up for a free kick from about 15 yards outside of the AWC goal box and started off a beautiful game-winning play for the Roughriders.
Del Giudice’s kick found the head of sophomore defender Jakob Larson who was streaking toward the far post. Larson’s header went perfectly to the front of the net and was headed in by Cardona for his second score of the day and a 2-1 YC win, putting an end to a wild soccer match and sending the Roughriders into a frenzy.
Cardona’s first two scores of the season proved to be the biggest of the season so far while Sandy took home the victory in net, his sixth of the season.
The Roughriders are back in action on Saturday, October 8, in Tucson, Arizona, where they will take on the No. 5-ranked Pima Community College Aztecs with kickoff set for 4:30 p.m.
– D.J. Irwin