By Stephanie Juncker
FRESNO, Calif. ---In its third double overtime match of the season, the Fresno State soccer team played to a 2-2 draw against UC Riverside Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs' only two seniors stepped up for the team by scoring both goals.
"We started very brightly and put all kinds of pressure on them," said head coach Brian Zwaschka. "We just haven't had the kind of luck that we need in those final moments with finishing. I'm disappointed that we allowed them to get back into the game, but I'm proud of the team that they regrouped and got the goal back and performed really well in the overtime."
In the first half, Fresno State controlled the tempo and possession throughout. The 'Dogs jumped on the board early when Shonice Myers and Sam Brechmann set Callie Hancock up to put the ball past the keeper two minutes before halftime. Despite not seeing much action on the night, goalkeeper Katie DeVault came up with a huge diving stop to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Coming out of the locker room the Highlanders seized momentum when Crystal Lopez found the back of the net for the second time this season. Play went back and forth between the two sides until UC Riverside's Kaitlin Anzalone snuck the ball past the 'Dogs to give the Highlanders a 2-1 lead.
Senior Vanessa Gonzalez made her mark on the game less than 30 seconds after UC Riverside took the lead. Gonzalez blasted the ball into the goal unassisted for her first goal of the year and to tie the game at 2-2.
"I'm excited for both the seniors to get on the score sheet because they've been working tremendously hard," Zwaschka said about Hancock and Gonzalez. "You can usually count on your seniors because they understand the game after four years of hard work."
Play remained extremely physical for the rest of regulation with 10 total fouls. At the end of 90 minutes the score was knotted at two apiece. For the third time in seven games this season the 'Dogs headed to overtime.
The first overtime passed with Fresno State applying the majority of pressure. Neither team was able to break the tie and then headed to a second ten minute overtime period.
Right out of the gate in the second overtime was the 'Dogs best chance to score as Hancock tore down the left side and only had to beat one defender and the keeper, but pushed the ball just wide of the right post. The Bulldogs continued to apply pressure as the last seconds ticked off the clock, but were unable to break the stalemate.
"We still need to work on fitness," said Zwaschka on what the team will work on in the upcoming week. "I think that's where we've allowed teams to take advantage of us. Finishing will also be a focus as these are the things that are game changing elements for us."
The 'Dogs will return to action next Friday as the team travels to Austin, Texas to face the Longhorns at 6 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on the Longhorn Network. The Red Wave's next opportunity to see `Dogs play in Bulldog Stadium will come against CSU Bakersfield at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics" -Join Fresno State legends and Super Bowl champions Trent Dilfer and David Carr in becoming a part of Fresno State forever by uploading your picture for free to the Bulldog Stadium Fan Mosaic. To upload your picture, please visit: fanmosaics.com/fresnostate.
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