Golden Eagles Lose Heartbreaker in Overtime


Photo courtesy of Robert Huskey/Cal State LA Athletics Department

Leslie Ramirez (9) passes the ball. Cal State LA women’s soccer stumbles against UC San Diego in a game of 1-2.

Adrian Bennett de Avila, Sports Editor

On “Senior Night” Saturday, the Cal State LA women’s soccer team lost a difficult match to perennial power UC San Diego. The loss came after the black and gold conceded a penalty kick, which resulted in a deciding goal for the Tritons in the second overtime period.

Cal State LA fans were upset with the call that resulted in the eventual game-ending penalty kick, but Head Coach Erik Garcia didn’t think it was a poor decision.  “To be fair, it was a foul. Did the players sell it well? Of course, but to be fair, it was the right call,” he said.

The UC San Diego women’s soccer team has been dominant in the conference over the past few seasons. They have won the past four California Collegiate Athletic Association championships, and have only lost one game all season.

“I think they are really well organized … They’re one of the better teams, absolutely, I’m not going to take that away from them … They’re fit, they’re fast, they’re strong,” said Golden Eagle forward Leslie Ramirez about the challenge of facing the Tritons.

The Tritons’ prowess on the pitch showed early, as they dominated possession and created multiple scoring opportunities. UC San Diego had a 13-3 advantage in shots in the first half, putting the Golden Eagles on their heels early. However, midfielders Irma Pinzon and Paulina Chaidez did a great job pressuring the Triton defense. 

The first half ended at 0-0, despite some threatening crosses into the Cal State LA box from UC San Diego. 

The second half was very different. The Golden Eagles were much more aggressive, and created better scoring opportunities. Nonetheless, the Tritons still scored in the 73rd minute on a goal from midfielder Kameryn Hoban. 

The Cal State LA ladies refused to hang their heads. The bench cheered on their teammates as chants of “LA, LA, LA” rang out across the field. Their team camaraderie was rewarded in the 80th minute when senior defender Adyson Willett found the back of the net off an assist from fellow defender Nicolette Elliott. This tied the game at 1-1.

The energy was palpable as the players surrounded Willett in celebration. Cheers filled the stadium. 

Time eventually ran out, and the game went to overtime after a few more scoring opportunities didn’t result in goals.

There were no goals in the first overtime period.

The second overtime period was a back-and-forth affair, but towards the end of the period, Amada Leal, who had been terrific throughout the match (six saves), committed a crucial error, fouling a Triton player inside the box. 

UC San Diego midfielder Natalie Saddic scored the resulting penalty kick, giving the Tritons a 2-1 victory in OT. 

“We wanted to win. We came out wanting to win, and throughout the entire game we wanted to win. Our energy was super high and everyone really wanted to do it for the seniors today,” said Willett. 

The team will try to bounce back as they head out on a two-game road trip up north. The first opponent on the trip will be San Francisco State on Thursday. 

“I’ll tell you this man, these girls have been amazing. They’re determined, and right now we’re in a position that’s not bad. Even losing against [UC San Diego] is not bad. However, we have to think of the bigger picture,” said coach Garcia.