The College of the Canyons women’s soccer team hosted Bakersfield College in their second meeting of the season at College of the Canyons on Tuesday.
Scoring two goals on both sides of the half, Canyons extended its win streak to three games by playing smart, team soccer to defeat Bakersfield 4-0.
“We are still trying to find that consistency a little bit,” said Canyons head coach Justin Lundin. “The first half we didn’t play up to our potential, but in the second half, we were able to turn it around and played really well. We are happy that the goals are going in. We have been playing well the whole season we just haven’t been able to get the goals and things are starting to come together. I’m happy with the direction that things are going and hopefully, we can keep pushing forward and climbing up.”
Canyons forward Araceli Castaneda ignited the Canyons’ offense just under nine minutes into the game with a long-distance goal with an assist by Briana De Santiago.
Castaneda returned the favor with an assist to teammate and fellow forward Brooke Chambers in the 24th minute to put Canyons (9-5-3 overall, 5-2-2 in Western State Conference, South) ahead, 2-0.
“Taking care of our chances was the biggest thing,” Lundin said. “I don’t think we particularly played amazing in the first half, but the goals were good. The second goal was a great build up in the back, a quick combination, a through ball into the attacking third and a good finish by Brooke, so we scored a couple of really good goals.”
Canyons picked up the scoring in the second half in the 53rd minute of play when a mad scramble in the 18-yard box ensued and a foul was called on a Bakersfield player, resulting in a Canyons free kick just feet away from the opposing goal.
With Emily Perez lining up to take the kick, Maggie Maldonado patiently waited beside the ball for the ref to blow the whistle. As the whistle blew, Perez unleashed a curling shot past the Bakersfield wall, with the assist going to Maldonado to give the Cougars a 3-0 advantage.
Defense was key in preserving the Canyons shutout as the backline turned back or snuffed out every run by Bakersfield (2-10-3, 0-5-3) with Celia Franco, Aileen Lopez and the rest of the Canyons’ backline communicating with each other and controlling the defensive third of the pitch.
“Aileen is a freshman coming in and is a strong vocal leader back there and is a big help,” Lundin said. “Celia brings a lot of experience to the backline and a lot of speed as well. When we need to make changes, we bring Angie (Maldonado) in and nothing really changes. It’s nice having some depth in the backline and being able to rotate players, but overall the organization back there is good, the communication is good and we just have to keep pushing to get better and better.”
In the 67th and 73rd minutes, Canyons almost scored its second goal of the half on a cross ball to Lesly Cabrera, but her shot ricocheted off the crossbar. The second opportunity came just minutes later when Chambers found some space in the middle of the pitch and connected with Castaneda, but her shot went wide and into the side netting.
Breaking through with three minutes left in the game, Canyons concluded the day’s scoring as Gracell Magnaye found Maldonado all alone in the middle of the 18-yard box for the fourth and final Canyons’ goal.
“We realized that the way to finish and get more goals was to get everyone more involved and talk to each other in order to get the win at the end of the game,” Maldonado said. “The passion I have for soccer just keeps me going and that’s what I do every game, I never give up.”
Canyons is back at home on Friday as the Cougars host Santa Monica at 5:30 p.m.
“Santa Monica was a great battle last time we played them at their place,” Lundin said. “We had our chances and we didn’t take care of them and ended up paying the price with a late goal down there. We are starting to put the ball away now so I’m expecting Friday to be a little different for us.”