Chris Rios / The Collegian
Head coach Brian Zwaschka’s squad continues scoring struggles
The Fresno State women’s soccer team hosted its first home game of the season Monday night as they took on the Long Beach State 49ers. Although the Bulldogs fell short 1-0 in the final minute of the game, one thing is for certain—it was not due to lack of effort.
The ‘Dogs came out aggressive, and managed to dominate possession for most of the night while looking equally as strong on the opposite side of the ball, both being areas head coach Brian Zwaschka stressed in the practices leading up to the game.
Zwaschka said his team’s defense is significantly improving everyday, and the girls continue to address their preseason shortcomings.
“It’s obviously extremely disappointing to go down with that late goal,” Zwaschka said. “But we dominated the possession, we dominated the passing movements and we had some very good chances to take the win. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get the points, but the team played really well and did everything that we asked of them.”
After a scoreless but hard-played first half, the Bulldogs came out for the second time with equal intensity and drive.
Fresno State defender Kendall VanDine said her team gave its all and felt they did everything they were supposed to.
“Our defense was really strong, and we held them up until that last minute,” VanDine said. “Offensively we had them. We were passing around them, we were getting opportunities and putting the ball in. We just had a few chances that we weren’t able to capitalize on.”
Fresno State frequently put pressure on the opposing goal over the 90-minute match, outshooting Long Beach State 14-10 for the night.
In the 88th minute, the 49ers had their sixth and final corner kick opportunity of the night that ultimately decided the outcome of the match.
The Bulldogs prepared for the kick by spreading out their defense and making sure everyone was marked tightly.
Fresno State preseason All-WAC goalkeeper Kaitlyn Revel deflected a shot from Long Beach State’s Jazz Strozier. The missed attempt was quickly followed in by Strozier’s teammate Nadia Link who netted the final, and only, goal of the night.
“It’s frustrating, but we did all things right and we were in all the right places,” Bulldog senior Katie Lee said. “We got some fresh legs in up top, and tried to find the long ball through. Sometimes it works out, and tonight it didn’t.”
The Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 on the season so far. Their first lost came after they fell to Pepperdine on the road Aug. 20.
Zwaschka said regardless of the loss he’s confident for the future after Monday’s performance, and thinks the team is certainly starting to come together.
“The returners have definitely stepped it up, and they’ve really taken advantage of the information we’re giving them and are starting to believe in it,” Zwaschka said. “Unfortunately, we have a game like this where they don’t get rewarded when everything they did went really well.”
The Bulldogs will need to regroup quickly as they hit the road Friday for the first stretch of a two-week out-of-state tournament beginning in Texas for the Minor Classic at UTEP. Five days later the ‘Dogs will once again travel cross-country for the Florida International University Tournament in Miami.