October 11, 2016
Santa Clarita, Calif. -- The Master's University women's soccer team was looking down the barrel of another shutout Tuesday afternoon when Stephanie Albright and Whitney Gomillion came to the rescue.
The seniors scored goals 17 minutes apart in the second half and the Mustangs held on for a 2-1 victory over Hope International on Reese Field. The victory improved the club to 6-4-3 overall and 2-2-1 (seven points) in the GSAC where they share fourth place with Menlo.
Blanked five times in their first 12 matches, the Mustangs managed two shots on goal over the opening 45 minutes, one of those off the foot of Albright and another from Lynnae George. Both were saved by Royal goalie Jacqueline Talley.
Meanwhile, Mustang keeper Jessica Zubia was up to the task at the other end of the field as the senior recorded three first-half saves, all of them coming in an eight-minute window.
Zubia notched two more saves in the first 7:20 of the second half to keep the game scoreless. That all changed, though, in the 58th minute (57:55) when Albright, off a pass from Michaela Rickard, put one past Royal goalie Casey Pulido for a 1-0 lead. It was Albright's first goal of the year and Rickard's first assist gave her a team-high nine points.
Following the match, TMU head coach Curtis Lewis commented, "It was great to see Stephanie get on the board for her first of the year and all the extra work is starting to pay off for her."
The narrowest of margins held up for nearly 17 minutes until Gomillion came through. The midfielder doubled the Mustangs' advantage with an unassisted half-volley at the 74:31 mark. It was the second goal of her final collegiate season.
Lewis called Gomillion's score, "an amazing goal. It was really fun to watch how she struck that ball."
That proved to be big because the Royals halved the deficit less than seven minutes later as Jazzmyn Esquivel spoiled Zubia's bid for her fifth shutout of the season with 7:49 (82:11) left to play.
Zubia wouldn't come up empty the next time she was challenged and it was timely. With just 10 seconds left in the match, Hope's Jessica Lee fired one toward the Mustang goal that Zubia gobbled up to preserve the victory.
Assessing his team midway through GSAC play, Lewis said, "We still need to mature and learn how to close out a game. But, overall we were able to get done what we needed to today."
The Mustangs will get another chance to heed their coach's words on Saturday when they travel to Phoenix to take on Arizona Christian.