Lady Gators split games in Oregon over Labor Day weekend

After a long postseason of putting in copious amount of physical and mental hours to their training, SF State’s women’s soccer team opened their season in Oregon with one win and a loss.  

“I expected challenging games playing on the road, in the heat and against tough opponents,” head coach Tracy Hamm said. “It was a great opening weekend to set the tone and expectations for the season.”

The lady Gators faced Concordia University for their first match in Tuominen Yard, Portland and took the Cavaliers two overtime periods to beat the Gators 2-1.

“When Concordia scored, we responded very well by scoring less than a minute later during regular play,” senior midfielder Vanessa Penuna said.

The sole goal scorer for the Gators was senior defender Laura Shea, whom headed in a cross from Penuna in the 72 minute.

At the end of the day errors prevented the Gators from coming out with a win.

“Our performance in the first game was solid,” freshman goalkeeper Nicki Rucki said. “You could tell we had a vision and were ready to execute it, just fell short due to a few mistakes on our end.”

Penuna did not shy away from taking away the positives and learning from the negatives to perform better the next match.

“We came out strong and were able to keep the intensity the entire game, unfortunately we made the mistake of letting the ball bounce from a punt and with one error we lost in the second overtime,” said Penuna.

In the second match against Western Oregon University, the Gators did not hold back and put a chomping on the Wolves with a 3-0 victory.

The Gators who came out with goals were freshman Tami Kwong in the 42 minute, Shea in the 66 and senior Sierra Sagastra in 86 minute to put the last nail in the coffin.

“Moving forward I’d like to see simple mistakes fixed,” Rucki said. “…more excitement after scoring goals because celebration is one of my favorite parts of the game.”

Rucki also expressed how she would like to improve on her communication skills during games.

Hamm noted, that this trip had a lot of good takeaways, ideas for the season and expressed how Shea was an impact player.

I was happy with Laura Shea’s performance, she scored two goals in two games,” Hamm said. “I also used her in multiple positions in both games and she experienced allowed her to adjust to the game and be an impact player in each match.”

After a solid business trip in Oregon, the Gators will come back from Labor Day weekend to host their first home match of the season on Sept. 7 against Northwest Nazarene University Crusaders at 3 p.m. in Cox Stadium.