August 23, 2012
ASHLAND, Ore. - In search of its second upset of an NAIA Top 25 squad in less than a week, The Master’s College women’s soccer team came up just short Thursday afternoon, losing 2-1 to No. 2 Concordia of Oregon at the Southern Oregon Classic in Ashland.
Five days after beating the NAIA’s 16th-ranked squad, Trinity Christian of Illinois, in its season opener, the Mustangs (1-1) were looking to knock off a Cavalier squad that reached the national title match last year and entered the 2012 campaign rated behind only defending champion, Lee of Tennessee.
That quest didn’t start well for the Mustangs as the Cavaliers tallied the match’s first goal just 49 seconds into play when Alex Blalock took the ball down the left side of the field and booted it past Mustang goalie Ilyssa Espiritu for a 1-0 lead.
That slightest of margins held up through the rest of the half despite a couple of Mustang shots on goal that were turned back by Cavalier keeper Tori Talbutt. She made saves on shots by Natasha Coyle and Jasmine Benson in a 1:13 span early in the half and then kept Tara Struiksma’s shot from getting by her with just over seven minutes left in the opening period.
The Mustangs finished with four shots in the first half while the Cavaliers doubled that output. Espiritu rebounded after allowing the early goal and wound with three first-half saves.
Just over nine minutes (9:28) into the second half, the Mustangs made one of their shots on goal count as sophomore Natasha Coyle, last year’s leading scorer and an All-GSAC selection, hammered a rebound past Talbutt and between the pipes, knotting the scoring at 1-1.
But, that tie was short-lived as the Cavaliers responded just under four minutes later when Jasmin Ayala sent the ball past Espiritu at the 58:12 mark for what turned out to be the game-winning tally.
This time there would be no answer from the Mustangs who failed to put another shot on goal in the second half. Meanwhile, Espiritu finished with six saves.
The Mustangs get a day off before completing their brief trip to Oregon on Saturday when they face off with the host, Southern Oregon.