Idaho at University of California Santa Barbara
The Idaho soccer team kicked off the 2017 season with a road loss to University of California Santa Barbara, falling 3-0.
University of Idaho head coach Derek Pittman said the Vandals played a good team but missed opportunities to score.
“First and foremost, credit to UCSB,” Pittman said in a press release.
“They’re a very good team, they possess the ball very well, they move it from side to side and they have some tremendous attacking players. I thought we played an excellent first 45 minutes where we caught them a couple of times and could have scored some chances.”
Both teams battled before the UCSB Guachos scored in the 49th minute of play. UCSB’s Amanda Ball booted it in from 20 yards across the box. Ball added the Gauchos second goal just four minutes later with a long shot to put the opponents up 2-0.
Less than 10 minutes after the first goal UCSB capped off the scoring for the game with a quick shot across the goal box where Chase Schornstein was waiting to tap it in for the point.
Junior goalkeeper Makayla Presgrave finished the game with four saves.
Pittman said despite a hard stretch, which the opponents took advantage of, the game was not all bad.
“We had a tough stretch for a 10-minute period there in the second half and they capitalized and finished three chances,” Pittman said. “We’ll learn from it. It’s game one — no one is pushing the panic button. We did some very good things but we still have a lot to work on.”
Idaho at UC Riverside
The Vandals pulled out a win against UC Riverside to conclude the California road trip, taking the match 1-0.
Pittman said he was proud of the way the team fought for the win after losing the season opener.
“We talked yesterday about some adjustments we needed to make going into tonight’s game and I thought our group did an excellent job implementing those.”
It took some time but Idaho got on the board in the 89th minute of play. Redshirt freshman defender Taylor Burst put the Vandals one and only point up with a low kick across the field. The ball did not make it in off Burst’s foot but rather deflected off an opposing defender, which deflected in.
Presgrave came out strong in the second road game, capping off the game with a total of five saves.
Pittman said despite the fact that the team caught a lucky break, luck was not the only factor in the scoring Idaho goal.
“We were pretty fortunate on the goal,” Pittman said. “Sometimes you make your own luck. Just really proud of our players for fighting until the bitter end and getting the result tonight.”
Although the silver and gold head back up north with a win on the record, it was not an easy win to claim. The match finished with eight total yellow cards.
Pittman said this form of physical play was far from unexpected.
“We knew that UC Riverside had some bite to them, weren’t afraid to be physical,” said Pittman. “We’ve never been a team that shied away from physical play. I thought our players showed an excellent resolve in the second half, negating what UC Riverside was trying to do and ultimately getting that result tonight.”
Idaho returns home to face rival Boise State 6 p.m. Friday at the Kibbie Dome.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at email@example.com