Gonzaga women’s soccer (12-5-0, 2-4-0) concluded Senior Night with a 1-0 win against the University of San Diego (6-8-0, 1-5-0) at 3 p.m. on Luger Field. The Bulldogs played with passion and wanted a win, coming off a 2-1 loss against University of the Pacific on Wednesday.
“We definitely had the energy at the very beginning," said GU senior defender Hayley Archuleta. "We knew we needed this win. So we were prepared to come out and just battle, we played better today than we did our past three games so that felt good."
Head Coach Chris Watkins said the team played murders row in their conference, competing against the top 15 teams in a row. Although he felt like they had been struggling the past few weeks, he was confident the girls could bounce back today.
The Bulldogs and Toreros shared 50-50 possession control over the ball, but Gonzaga spent far more time in their goalbox and attempted several more shots on goal. They spent 46% of the first half and 68% of the second half attacking.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done and we hope to get a bunch more wins and see what happens on Selection Sunday,” said Watkins.
Gonzaga started the kickoff and quickly moved the ball up field. Erin Healey, a junior forward, was putting a lot of pressure on Toreros defender Jenn Hashimoto. When the ball bounced off Hashimoto’s shin guards, Healey took the opportunity to cross the ball from the left side of the field and laid it into the back of the net. Within 16 seconds, the Bulldogs had secured their first goal.
“I’ve been doing this for 29 years, I think it’s the quickest I’ve ever seen [a goal scored],” said Watkins. “I think it gives you some confidence, we played well tonight.”
University of San Diego continued to struggle defensively as Gonzaga kept up the pressure. The Bulldogs continued to move the ball across the field and attempted several more shots within the first half. Some notable attempts were made by midfielders Hannah Hale and Kacy Johnston.
Once the Toreros had made a few substitutions in their offense, the game began to pick up a lot of steam.
San Diego was able to move the ball into Gonzaga’s defense, but were still unable to unload a shot until Michayla Herr, senior midfielder, took the first chance 30 minutes in. Her goal missed, but this definitely ignited some close competition between the Bulldogs and Toreros.
“If not sure Bosselman [GU goalkeeper] had that covered if it was on target,” the WCC Sports commentator said.
This close matchup continued into the second half as the two teams fought for ball control. Gonzaga continued to try to create goal scoring opportunities, attempting several corner kicks back-to-back and putting pressure on the Toreros goal box.
When Kelsey Oyler, GU freshman forward, crossed the ball in front of San Diego’s goal, Archuleta attempted to slide in and direct the ball into the back of the net. Despite Archuleta not making contact with the ball like expected, it still landed in the back of the net.
This would have been GU’s second goal, but referee Lucas Brooks determined Archuleta was offsides, voiding their goal.
After this offsides is called, the Toreros were able to take control of the ball, attempting two goals against Gonzaga. The Bulldog’s defense held it together and the Toreros were struggling to secure a goal.
“They changed their formation and were sending more players up, and so just dealing with the marks and different movement was hard," Archuleta said. "We were dropping in a little so they were packing the box to score."
Towards the end of the second half, Oyler finds the ball through the opponent’s defense and attempts to unload a goal. When the ball bounced off goalkeeper Judith Sorribes, Oyler went in for the tackle to attempt the shot again. Her knee made contact with Sorribes’ face, injuring her. Oyler received a yellow card and Sorribes was substituted out for concussion protocol.
“We didn’t let up and we went through every tackle hard and we got the win, so that’s awesome,” said Archuleta. “Hopefully we can finish out the rest of the season on top.”
The Gonzaga women’s soccer team is looking to secure another win on Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. against Saint Mary’s College (6-9-0, 1-5-0) in Moraga, CA. They have three more games left in their season, and plan to continue playing with passion.