The Gators, who had only lost once all season before this week, have fallen in two straight games to drop to 6-3-1 on the year.
“We have an energy where we go out and we hit hard, we win every ball and I think it’s been lacking a little bit,” said Gator freshman midfielder Chloe Harrington.
The match shifted in the 69 minute on a tackle 20 yards from goal just inside the of the Gator penalty box. Gator defender Tamerra Griffin challenged an Eagle offensive player who’s back was to goal. The Eagle player went down on the challenge and the referee gave Cal State Los Angeles a penalty kick.
Eagle senior midfielder Melina Barragan coolly guided the penalty into the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
“She flopped,” Griffin said. “As soon as she went down, when I could see how close she was to the box, I kind of knew before he blew the whistle that it was going to be a [penalty kick].”
While Friday’s loss was due to lackluster play against an inferior team. Cal State Dominguez Hills had lost their previous four games before playing the Gators. Sunday’s game can be chocked up to bad luck and missed opportunities against a tough opponent. The win extended the Eagles’ unbeaten streak to six-games.
“I thought we played well enough to win the game today,” said head coach Jack Hyde. “The bottom line is we have to put the ball in the back of the net.”
The teams traded turns looking like the better squad in the first half. The Eagles dominated the opening half-hour.
Cal State Los Angeles was especially dangerous on set pieces. Eagle defender Justine Teles showed uncommon distance and accuracy in setting up her teammates on free kicks and corners.
The Gators were left vulnerable to these plays when senior defender Lauren Duran was knocked out of the match on what looked like a routine stand-up tackle in the 19 minute. The Gators have played stretches without their defensive lynchpin in each of the last three games.