By Erik Kemp and Mike Tolbert
Under the Friday night lights on Sept. 11, the stage was set for early season jitters in the home opener for women’s soccer. Nerves were quickly shaken off when freshman forward Reigna Banks scored her first goal of the season and of her college career in a win over the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos, 1-0.
Five minutes into the game, Banks, unassisted on the play, scored the only goal of the match yielding the 1-0 victory for the Roadrunners. The goal was set up with Banks’ quick twitch dribbling that allowed her to pivot just inside the center of the opponent’s box and score the early goal.
“It was important to set the tone, and set it early,” Banks said. “Our coach always tells us if we have the space that we need to attack quickly and break them down early. Set the tone early and let them know we mean business.”
The Lady Runners played great defense, moving together as a unit and staying out of trouble. They committed only seven fouls to the Broncos 15, which included two yellow cards.
Metro goalkeeper and 2014 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Honorable Mention Breanna Flores, had seven saves to notch her second shutout on the year, boosting her save percentage to .917 on the season.
Game 2, win 3-1
In the women’s second game of the weekend, the Lady Runners topped Cal State Dominguez Hills, 3-1 at The Regency Athletic Complex Sept. 13.
It was a game of firsts as four Roadrunners made their collegiate debuts and seniors Lauren Kaufman and Josalyn Martin netted their first career goals for Metro.
Kaufman was first on the board scoring in the 20th minute off a deflected corner kick from Martin, who won offensive player of the week. Although Metro jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, the Runners still missed key opportunities to add to their total.
“Coach told us to just be calm, cool and collected,” senior midfielder Noemy Polanco said. “I put too much pressure on myself and I thought I had too many marks on me. I just had to settle down and focus.”
Polanco had four shots, one on goal for the game but provided the much needed leadership for a team that has 10 freshman on its roster.
“I’m confident in all our freshman,” Polanco said. “They came out fit, confident and so far, they have done an excellent job focusing during practices, lectures and during games.”
All of that hard work showed when freshman midfielder Korena Perales blasted an unassisted 25-yard shot off the left post in the 33rd minute. Perales has been a huge spark coming off the bench, making that her second goal of the season along with her energetic presence the starters like to play with.
Five minutes before halftime, Dominguez Hills’ Louise Kallin dribbled down the right side of the box to score, cutting the Roadrunners lead down to 2-1 at the break.
Martin would eventually net her first career goal off a penalty kick in the 80th minute. “I was super excited,” Martin said. “It has been a long time coming. I wish it was on a running play, but a P.K. is fine with me.”
The Runners outshot the Toros 26-15 by the end of play. Sophomore goalkeeper Breanna Flores, who won goalkeeper of the week, made eight saves in goal for the Roadrunners, playing the first 84 minutes. Sophomore Raeanna Rosales, stopped one final shot attempt from Dominquez Hills in the final six minutes.
Metro’s 3-1 victory mirrors its record on the season thus far. With their next match away at Western State Sept. 18 in the season’s first conference play, the Lady Runners look to improve more by capitalizing on opportunities when they arise. “If we finish plays, we’ll be fine,” Polanco said. “Our team is really good this year, so I’m not too worried.”