Cal Poly Falls to Iowa in Hard-Fought Home Opener

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Seeking its first victory over a Big Ten opponent since 2008, Cal Poly women’s soccer suffered a hard-fought 1-0 defeat to Iowa in its home opener Sunday at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Despite the loss, Cal Poly head coach Alex Crozier was pleased with his how team bounced back from a 3-1 season-opening defeat at Saint Mary’s.

“I thought we did a pretty good job,” Crozier said. “It was a big step forward from our performance on Thursday at Saint Mary’s, so a lot of positive things.”

The Hawkeyes (1-1) scored the match’s lone goal in the 63rd minute when Iowa midfielder Kyndal Anderson connected on a header from inside the box off a cross from defender Sara Wheaton.

“We knew that their lifeblood really was getting forward, getting balls in the box,” Crozier said about the goal. “They got big players up top that win it in the air and they finished their chance, so hats off to them.”

The Mustangs’ best opportunity to find the back of the net came during a sequence in the 59th minute, just moments before the Hawkeyes’ tally. A shot by senior forward Madison Demijohn to the bottom left corner was steered aside by Iowa goalkeeper Macy Enneking, earning the Mustangs a corner. Following the corner kick, senior midfielder Camille Lafaix fired a shot that was blocked before freshman midfielder Brennan Cole picked up the ball in front of the goalkeeper and blasted one on frame that was saved.

Senior midfielder Monserrat Hernandez Marquez also saw her shot in the 54th minute go just wide of the left post.

The Hawkeyes outshot Cal Poly 9-6, but the Mustangs, who hosted a Big Ten team at Alex G. Spanos Stadium for the first time in program history, made a push in the second half, enjoying a 5-4 shot advantage over Iowa in the final 45 minutes.

Crozier made a few starting lineup changes against Iowa, giving sophomore Mary Norman her first career start at goalkeeper and opening the match with three freshmen on the field — Cole, forward Emily Lieber and defender Camryn Penn — marking the first career starts for Cole and Penn, and second straight for Lieber.

“Every game presents a different challenge, but everyone did a good job that went in,” Crozier said. “We were finding each other and moving the ball. They’re a difficult team to break down through the middle, but we were able to get wide a couple times and had a couple good looks.”

Cole led the team in shots with two and played 80 minutes. Senior defender Kylie Rojas and sophomore defender Emma Brown held down the backline and never left the field.

Norman made one save in net, and sophomore defender Aynsley Conner, a transfer from Minnesota, also made her first start as a Mustang.

Cal Poly (0-2) kicks off a five-game road trip with a visit to Minnesota at 4 p.m. PST Thursday. The match will mark the first meeting between the two programs.

Crozier sees a lot of success coming the Mustangs’ way this season, and it’s just matter of time before it shows up on the pitch.

“We have a very good team, and our best soccer is still ahead of us,” he said. “We’re getting better every day.”


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Sara Wheaton

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