SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a physical match Sunday afternoon at the Spartan Soccer Field, the San José State University women's soccer team earned its first win of the 2014 season in a 1-0 victory over Sacramento State.
San Jose State (1-2-0) took control immediately in the match. In the 13th minute, Mireya Wathen-Mayorga earned a throw in from the left side of the pitch deep in Sacramento State (2-2-0) territory.
The ball took a friendly hop over a Hornet defender, and found Kareli Rodriguez near the back left post to put home the Spartans first goal of the season and give the Spartans the early advantage. "I saw it coming, so I just went and touched it in," said the senior midfielder.
Following the San José State goal, the physicality of the match began increasing. In the 50th minute, San Jose's Mireya Wathen-Mayorga and Rachel Leonard of Sacramento State got tangled up near the sideline, resulting in a brief scuffle between the two.
"Obviously, we don't encourage players to retaliate," said San José State first-year head coach Lauren Hanson. "It was a heated moment. Moving forward, we want to continue to play physical, but also be composed in times that are passionate and emotional."
Both players received red cards for the altercation, and suspended for the remainder of the match. Sacramento State sophomore Lydia Bowman was also issued a yellow during the episode.
The lone goal by Rodriguez was enough to hold off the Hornets, who only managed a total of nine shots.
Hanson was proud of the way her team fought throughout the match and was encouraged with the performance from her squad.
"I thought we brought a lot of energy," she said. "We came prepared to fight, and win the battle in the air and defensively. I thought we were vey organized at times, and our backline did a fantastic job of keeping us organized."
Goalkeeper Zoe Makrigiannis finished the match with a clean sheet, making four saves, including a fantastic save after being out of position on a shot from the Hornets' Bowman.
The win gave Hanson her first major college head coaching victory. "Feels good to be rewarded for a win," said Hanson.
San José will look to take the momentum into the weekend when the Spartans host Caly Poly on Friday, September 5, at 2:00 p.m. and hit the road to face Pacific on Sunday, September 7 at 1:00 p.m.
"If we keep working hard and playing defensively we can expect good results," Rodriguez added.