THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.– The California Lutheran University women's soccer team put in a brilliant performance, knocking off No. 7 Pomona-Pitzer and handing them their first loss of the season. A 90th minute goal from Danielle Vis would seal the 3-1 victory over the Sagehens, capping off a wonderful display of soccer.
"We knew we had to get some points today," said Head Coach Frank Marino. "We kept to the game plan, we stayed organized defensively and found our spots. I thought our three goals were class, just class finishes, really well-slotted and well-timed."
Pomona-Pitzer held the advantage in shots on the night (18-9) but the Regals were much more clinical with their chances. The defensive backline of Zandra Stewart, Katie Weaver, Trinity Martinez and Aly Legrand were nothing short of fantastic on the night. Stewart and Weaver showed their class and experience as the center back pairing was in control for the entirety of the match. Outside backs Martinez and Legrand were exceptional as well, Martinez was dynamic in the defense as well as the attack while Legrand looked very comfortable in many one-on-one defending situations on the wing.
Alexa Soto was also in great form between the posts, notching a whopping 11 saves in the match, just one short of her season-high.
Cal Lutheran were not afraid of their ranked opponents, eager to get forward and grab the first goal. The hosts did just that in the 20th minute when Mandy Crawford did well to fit a pass between two defenders and find the feet of Alexandra Fagerberg. The forward continued her great goal-scoring form, finishing her chance with ease to put her team out in front.
This was the third goal in the last four games for Fagerberg.
After some solid defending, the Regals went into the break with a comfortable 1-0 lead after the first 45 minutes.
CLU kept their same tactics and pushed for another goal in the second half. With a counter-attacking opportunity right after the halftime whistle, Crawford held the ball up and threaded a wonderful ball to Vis. The Fremont, Calif. native showed her great pace to beat the defender and slotted her left-footed effort into the back of the net to double the lead.
Confident and on the front foot, the Regals nearly made it 3-0 when Crawford had a chance for herself in the 53rd minute, but her right-footed shot was just nearly pushed past the post.
The visitors did not go away easily, however, and managed to get a goal back through a set piece in the 73rd minute. Bria VarnBuhler hit an impressive volley into the back of the net after a corner was whipped into a dangerous area.
The Regals were forced to defend for majority of the remaining minutes as Pomona-Pitzer furiously scrambled for an equalizing goal. Soto continued to deny the Sagehens at every goal-scoring opportunity. However, Cal Lutheran had one last counter-attacking chance after Pomona-Pitzer's backline was pressed very high.
In the dying seconds of the match, Crawford collected the ball after a long clearance from the Sagehens' attacking third. The freshman saw Vis sprinting down the line and sent her through on goal. With acres of space in front of her, Vis showed great composure in front of goal and calmly placed her shot around the goalkeeper to seal the 3-1 win and an important three points for her team.
Crawford would record three assists on the night, a career-high for the freshman. The Simi Valley, Calif. native also leads the team in points with 16. Vis has now scored in back-to-back contests with three goals in the last two games. After converting from left back to left wing, Vis has had great success creating space in wide areas and has finished her chances as of late.
"I think Mandy is really growing into her position," Marino said. "She knows she needs to hold the ball and she knows she knows to get off the ball quicker as the speed of the game picks up. She's been finding players in good spaces. Danielle is gaining confidence with her finishing. She's been working on and tonight she showed great composure on both finishes."
Recording shots on target for CLU were Sam Cornejo (2), Vis (2), Fagerberg (2) and Crawford.
Cal Lutheran extends their unbeaten streak to seven games and will look to make it five straight wins when they travel to La Verne Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. to face the Leopards at Ortmayer Stadium
Box Score: CLU 3, PP 1
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director