THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The top two teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference faced off Saturday night, but it was the Cal Lutheran Regals who walked off on top with their 1-0 victory over the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas thanks to sophomore Alexandra Fagerberg.
The defender notched her second goal of the season in the contest and moved the Regals to 4-0-2 overall and 3-0-1 in conference play, also maintaining hold of the team's undefeated record to start the year.
"I thought we did a great job of establishing a rhythm in the first half. I thought we could have put away a couple more chances that we didn't, but I loved the chances we created and I thought we really set the tone for the game. They came out stronger in the second half, but our back line and our entire defensive group did a great job the whole game," said head coach Frank Marino.
Though CMS recorded the first shot of the match, Cal Lutheran responded with a header from junior Emily Williams that rattled off the left post in just the fifth minute of play. With the offensive momentum in Cal Lutheran's favor, Fagerberg and sophomore Mackenzie Boulware followed with looks at goal of their own, but could not find the back of the net.
The Regals finally found just what they were looking in the 20th minute of play. Sophomore Trinity Martinez found space up the middle to take the ball into opponent territory before passing the ball to sophomore Sam Cornejo on the right flank. A perfect service back into the box for Fagerberg set up the team's game winning goal as she easily found the left side of the net.
Looking for their equalizer, CMS found their best opportunity of the first period thwarted in the 28th minute as a shot from Rhiann Holman nailed the crossbar before getting cleared out by a Cal Lutheran defender. Overall, the Regals defense held the Athenas to just two shots on goal for the whole night, both collected by freshman goalkeeper Alexa Soto.
Heading into the second half up by one, the Regals opened the period with two more quick chances at goal less than a minute into play. Cornejo took her shot to the right post but CMS keeper, Clair Hamson, came out just in time to punch the ball back out to Williams who fired another shot under pressure, but curved wide right.
The Athenas responded, however, with four shots of their own in the next five minutes of play, hoping to swing the momentum in their favor, but were only frustrated by the results. The Regals countered with ten shots of their own in the second half, five on goal.
Williams led the 17-shot night with four of her own, followed by senior Sarah Taduseiak, Cornejo, Fagerberg, freshman Sonia Chan, junior Maddy Griess and senior Jordan Miller who each added two apiece.
Hoping to pad their lead, the Regals threatened again in the 63rd minute with a shot by Chan to the left post that was saved by the Athenas' Ava McIlvaine. Though the ball bounced back to Cornejo, her put-back attempt sailed just high of the top bar.
Cal Lutheran held their ground for the remainder of the contest to lock in three more points on the evening and hold on to sole possession of first place in conference standings, now a full game ahead of their opponents.
The team turns to Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday night, September 19. The Regals face off against the rival Sagehens at 4 p.m. PST at the Pomona-Pitzer Soccer Stadium in Claremont, California.
Box Score: CLU 1, CMS 0
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director