Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 04:09
Hannah Swick / The Mirror
UNC freshman Adrienne Jordan jogs to help as a fellow Bear matches up against Portland State during Friday’s 1-0 shutout. The Bears had two shutouts to open conference play. The Bears take the field again at 7 p.m. Friday when they host North Dakota.
UNC’s soccer team started its conference season off on the right foot this weekend with shutout wins over their visiting foes.
On Friday, the University of Northern Colorado (4-4-2, 2-0-0 Big Sky) defeated Portland State (3-6-1, 1-1-0) 1-0, and the Bears took down Sacramento State (3-4-2, 1-1-0) 2-0 Sunday, with both games at Jackson Stadium.
Head coach Tim Barrera said he thinks the key to success in the Big Sky Conference is to take care of business at home. He said his squad was able to accomplish that during the weekend matches.
“In our league, one of those important things is to get home wins,” Barrera said. “You have to hold court at home — get a win or a tie. Those are two good teams. Sac will be there at the end, Portland State will be there at the end, so to be able to get wins against those teams is important.”
The Bears played Portland State to a scoreless stalemate until the 85th minute, when a shot by junior midfielder Chandler Guetz deflected off a Viking defender and into the net behind PSU senior goalkeeper Lainey Hulsizer. UNC was able to hold onto the lead and complete the victory.
Sunday’s game was also scoreless into the second half, when in the 68th minute, Bears junior midfielder Mallory Van Hout slid to punch in a free ball in front of the Hornets’ goal. Van Hout said she was excited to break the tie and score what proved to be the winning goal.
“It felt really good and I think, with a 0-0 game, it felt really good to get that in the back of the net and get the team going,” Van Hout said.
Then, in the 81st minute, junior midfielder Tara Rickenbach scored a rebound goal after a push downfield by senior midfielder Alexsys Tamayo. Sacramento State senior goalkeeper Shelby Tomasello made a quick reaction save on Tamayo’s shot, but the ball fell right to Rickenbach, who added the insurance score for the Bears.
Barrera said he was happy to see that both goals Sunday came from free balls in the Hornets’ box.
“Those are nice goals,” he said. “We love rebound goals because that means we’re working. If you look at both the goals we scored, they’re hustle goals, and that’s fantastic.”
Rickenbach said the team is off to a nice start in conference play but isn’t satisfied yet.
“(Two wins) is a good start,” Rickenbach said. “Our wins at home are really important, so we’re ready to go. We want to win them all.”
The Bears return to action against new Big Sky member North Dakota at 7 p.m. Friday at Jackson Stadium.