Dons Start the Season off Strong

Second year midfielder Marissa Vasquez goes for goal against Portland State. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS.

The men’s and women’s soccer teams both started their seasons in the win column with strong victories over their opponents. The women’s team defeated Portland State 4-0 on Aug. 18, in large part due to the incredible performance of second-year midfielder, Marissa Vasquez. Vasquez scored her first collegiate hat trick and was appropriately named West Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Her first goal came in the 16th minute off of an assist by second year defender Allison Kamansky. Vasquez found the back of the net again in the 34th minute and completed her hat trick with a penalty kick in the 65th minute.

In an interview with the Foghorn, Vasquez said she was not expecting such an incredible performance but mentioned a boost in confidence going into this year. She contributes this extra confidence for why she was able to have such a career night. Hopefully with this improved confidence, she and the rest of the team can fulfill their goal of competing in the NCAA tournament at the end of the year.  

While the women’s team handled their opponent with relative ease, the men’s season opener was much more of a battle. USF defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 3-2 in a thriller of a game. The Dons were able to score first from a header by graduate student Max Chretien off of a beautiful assist by fourth-year Nathan Simeon. Chretien says that scoring first was not a surprise because the team was well prepared from a strong spring season and the new additions to the team have had an immediate impact.  

The first 45 minutes were all Dons, as Chretien mentions they were able to execute the team’s strategy and were able to play their style of football. Despite the strong start, Northern Illinois made adjustments and controlled most of the second half, scoring two consecutive goals. The first came from third-year Camilo Estrada in the 52nd minute and the second from third-year Harry Jolley in the 75th minute.  

It looked bleak for the Dons but everything changed once Estrada received his second yellow card of the game, leaving the Huskies a man down for the remaining 17 minutes. Just 22 seconds after Estrada’s ejection, third-year Max Hamelink tied the game off of a rebound from fourth-year Dominic Valdivia’s shot on goal. Then in the 88th minute, Valdivia was able to win the game for the Dons with a goal of his own off of yet another perfect pass from Simeon. The team is confident and looks to continue their success with Chretien saying the team expects to be playing for a championship this year. 

Although both teams have big hopes for the end of the season, they have to focus on what’s next. The men’s and women’s teams will both be playing at home this Thursday, Sept. 1, against the San Jose State Spartans and the California Golden Bears respectively. 
Students can attend all campus games for free with the use of their One Card.

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