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Women's Soccer - Sat, Aug. 26, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
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University of California-Merced
Hope International

FULLERTON, CA – Hope International hosted CalPac opponent UC Merced this afternoon and would require a pair of overtime periods to try and decide the match. HIU netted the first two goals of the match but was unable to close out the Bobcats in regulation.

From the start, HIU played an aggressive pressure and possession game against the Bobcats to control the tempo of play. That early hustle paid off early, as Kelly Ruiz scored the first goal of the match in the fifth minute after Jazzmyn Esquivel and Emily Colon worked in concert to set up Ruiz at the doorstep for the strike. Colon carried the ball up the left sideline to start the action before playing a ball in the air to Esquivel who headed it on to Ruiz.

HIU kept up the pressure and ten minutes after their initial goal the Royals had a second from the foot of Esquivel. Leigha Williams did the initial work to set up the play on the right side and played the ball to the near post after drawing the defense. Esquivel took the feed and slotted it past the keeper on the right side for the score and her second goal of the season.

HIU continued to keep up the pressure and largely controlled the possession of the ball, but the Bobcats caught HIU napping with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. A free kick was awarded to UCM after a foul by the Royals, and UCM's midfielder launched a well-struck ball over everyone and into the back of the net from 40 yards out to put the Bobcats on the board.

HIU came out the halftime intermission focused but an injury seven minutes into the second half robbed the Royals their momentum somewhat. UCM took control of the pace and was better at taking advantage of opportunities allowed by HIU – UCM took 14 shots in the second half to the Royals' three and scored an equalizer with nine minutes left in regulation to force extra time.

Neither team could net a game-winner in the first overtime period and would go at one another once more in the second extra period looking for a win, but neither team could get the result they wanted and at the final horn HIU and UCM ended in a 2-2 draw.

For the second straight match, Coach Matt Sanger switched his keeper midway through the match and allowed Casey Pulido and Jacqueline Talley to split the duties of minding the net. Talley was tested more often than Pulido and would finish with a match-high eight saves – both keepers allowed a goal in the draw with UCM.

HIU will be back in action next Tuesday, Aug. 29 against Eastern Oregon at 12:00 pm on their home field at Fullerton College. Weather forecasts predict high temperatures that day so come prepared or tune in online at hiuroyals.com.

W - Soccer
Overall GSAC Streak
4-3-2 (.556) 1-0-1 (.750) Won 1