Fresno State defendser Miranda Rudolph battles Gonzaga forward Brittany Doan for the ball in Sunday’s 3-0 loss. The Bulldogs begin the season 1-1 after winning their first home game against Eastern Washington. Photo by Darlene Wendels/The Collegian
After winning eight of its nine final games of the 2013 season, the Fresno State women’s soccer team began the new year with a split of the weekend home slate against the Eastern Washington Eagles and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
The Friday season opener at Bulldog Stadium against the Eagles ended in a 2-1 overtime win. Sunday afternoon’s contest against Gonzaga ended in a 3-0 loss.
“We had a slow start where part of it was down to nerves of it being our first actual game,” said Fresno State coach Brian Zwaschka. “But once we got that under control, we managed to go up, and then we conceded. The resilience of the players was really good.
“No matter what, we come out to try to win every single game. You try to control as much as you can in that respect.”
With a new-look team this season after losing its leading scorer and the starting goalkeeper from last year, the team proved itself as adaptable with senior forward Jaycee Bingham, freshman Peyton Cline and sophomore defender Ariana Holmes contributing to the overtime win.
“We have to be patient in particular with such a young group with the idea that people are learning,” Zwaschka said.
“People learn a lot in today’s game, people learned a lot in Friday’s game. And we’ll get better and better, so we just have to be patient with that.”
On Friday, Eastern Washington forward Cassie Black scored a goal 10 minutes after halftime to tie the game. In overtime, the Bulldogs squeaked out a victory after the Eagles committed an own goal at the 99th minute mark.
On Sunday, Gonzaga sophomore forward Karley Baggerly scored two goals as part of a balanced attack that saw the team tally 12 shots in the contest. The third goal credited to Gonzaga came from Fresno State on an own goal in the 40-minute mark.
Zwaschka said he appreciates the effort the Bulldogs are putting forth in their games.
“People are a little bit worn out from it being our first two matches of the season,” he said. “We just have to learn from those things. In general, I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort.
“We have a lot of players contributing a lot of interesting things, so there’s still a lot of decisions to be made.”
On Sunday, the Bulldogs will play their first away game against the Iowa Hawkeyes.