The Lancers women’s soccer team lost on the road to Pierce College 2-0 on Tuesday after conceding two late goals, including one on a contentious penalty kick.
Despite a first half that saw the Lancers maintain better possession, Pierce finally broke through on a penalty kick goal by forward Paige Wolny in the 78th minute. Wolny went on to net her second of the game in the 83rd minute to hand the Lancers their second defeat in the first three games of a tough opening schedule.
“Overall, I’m very proud of the girls,” Lancers head coach Reggie Rivas said after the game. “The first half, we dominated. The second half we didn’t play bad, we just didn’t score on the chances we created. And obviously they scored on the chances they created.”
The game’s crucial play came when a Lancers player was whistled for a foul inside the Pierce 18-yard area, resulting in a penalty kick that was converted by Wolny.
Rivas characterized the foul that led to the penalty kick as “very questionable,” saying that the official in charge of the match could not identify the offending Lancers player.
“I asked [the official], he had no idea,” Rivas said .
The goal gave Pierce the break it needed to overcome a strong effort by the Lancers back four, led by sophomore Bailey Shaw-Rodriguez, who was frequently matched against the speedy Wolny and nullified several attacks with her assertive physical play.
After the game, Shaw-Rodriguez praised Wolny’s performance, but was confident that the Lancers defense will improve as the season progresses.
“She’s a really quick player and she has a really great touch,” she said, “I think our defense struggled with the flick and covering each other, but I think that’s something we can work on and we’re going to get better at that.”
“We’re still trying to get to know each other,” she said of her new teammates. “There’s really great chemistry out there, a lot better than last year.”
Despite not finding the score sheet, sophomore forward Sara Oceguera threatened the opponent’s goal on several occasions and provided much of the spark for the Lancers’ attack.
The loss comes as the team plays its way through an opening schedule that Rivas specifically designed to be as challenging as possible for his players as they approach conference play.
Despite opening with a 3-0 loss against San Diego Miramar, a top team in the nation, and the defeat to a Pierce team that has been a Western Conference North Division power for the past decade, Rivas is confident that the team will ultimately benefit from the rigorous schedule.
“I made the schedule because I wanted to play against the best,” he said. “We have a very good team here, and the only way you’re going to be the best is by beating the best. We play in the toughest conference in the country, and so this gets us ready for it.”
The Lancers now hold a 0-1-2 record and will try for their first win of the season on Friday, September 5, at Moorpark College. The team will face several more road matches before finally returning to Robinson Stadium on Sept. 26 to play Mt. San Jacinto.