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Women’s Soccer Downs UC Davis to Advance to Big West Finals

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The UC Irvine Women’s Soccer team (9-5-6, 3-2-5) won 1-0 against UC Davis (9-6-4, 6-2-2) in the semifinals of the Big West tournament in San Luis Obispo on Thursday, Nov. 3. 

Coming off an overtime win against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 30 in the quarterfinals of the Big West tournament, the UC Irvine Women’s Soccer squad took on No. 2 UC Davis.

The Aggies, who were coming off a five-game win streak, struggled to use the width of the field to go through UCI’s defense in the first half of the semifinal game. 

Around the 35th minute of the game, UC Davis had a shot off of sophomore forward Sammie Ruelas’s header, which was handled by UCI redshirt junior goalkeeper Glo Hinojosa. Seconds later, UC Irvine quickly transitioned into an attack-driven offense to create an opportunity to score. Redshirt sophomore forward Alyssa Moore found junior forward Erin Covey making a run on the right side of the field. Covey dribbled forward to position herself for a powerful shot from afar, which was deflected by UC Davis redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Caeley Goldstein.  

With two minutes left in the half, UC Davis junior midfielder Leslie Fregoso fed junior defender Lexi Trucco a one-touch shot straight into Hinojosa’s hands. While the ‘Eaters and Aggies had an equal amount of shots, both teams were left scoreless by the end of the first half. 

Opening the second half of the semifinal match, Covey came across a close chance for a goal after settling a loose ball; she went for a strike from a distance but hit the crossbar of the goal. Still, UC Irvine dictated the pace of the game while keeping possession of the ball well throughout the second half of the match.

In the 71st minute of the match, UCI redshirt junior midfielder/forward Destinee Manzo dribbled through traffic to find space for a shot from the middle of the field. Another shot by Covey was deflected off the crossbar and the follow-up shot soared over the net. 

Both teams became more aggressive as time passed throughout the half. A yellow card was given to UC Davis sophomore forward Chandler Connors after colliding with Hinojosa, trying to regain possession of the ball. In hopes of a late goal for the Aggies, junior midfielder Lindsey Porter shot wide within the last minute of regulation play. The match went into overtime 0-0. 

Although the first overtime kept the score at 0-0, the intensity rose for both teams as the match headed into the second overtime. Seven minutes into the overtime, UC Irvine earned a corner kick. Senior midfielder Amber Huff chipped the ball into the box. It was handled by Moore, who found the back of the net past Goldstein, putting the ‘Eaters up 1-0 late into the match. 

UC Davis earned a free kick with eight seconds left. The loose ball was secured by Hinojosa, the 2021 Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, which sealed the deal for the ‘Eaters to advance to the Big West championship match on Sunday. 

The Anteater squad will play Long Beach State for the Big West championship at the Spanos Stadium at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 in San Luis Obispo, CA. The match can be watched here

Hanah Kitamoto is a Sports Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. She can be reached at ykitamot@uci.edu.