BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A pair of first-half goals for CSU Bakersfield’s Sabrina Delgado were nearly outshone when Idaho stormed back in the second half of women’s soccer action at the Main Soccer Field on Sunday. After tying the match at two goals apiece, the Vandals sat in position to take a comeback win, but the Roadrunners turned the tide when Alexa Orrante’s 86th-minute goal sealed a 3-2 victory for CSUB.
“I’m so proud of [the team],” said Gary Curneen, Head Coach of the ‘Runners, after the exciting finish. “They deserve it. They work really hard. We have been going through a few tough games where we have been getting close, within touching distance of doing something like this. Resilience has been a big word this group has used and they saw it out. I’m so pleased with them.”
The ‘Runners needed only two minutes and 43 seconds to get on the board on Sunday. A cross into the box found the feet of Darian Gambetta, but the freshman forward’s shot was blocked. The rebound fell to Delgado, who buried the ball in the back of the net for her team-leading fourth goal of the season.
CSUB and Idaho went back and forth on creating chances on goal in the first half. The ‘Runner defense did well to limit the Vandals’ touches in the final third. CSUB’s starting keeper, Jen Padilla, four saves in the opening period to keep the Vandals off the board. Bakersfield took a 2-0 lead into halftime after Aminah Settles was taken down inside the box. Delgado earned her second goal of the day by converting the penalty kick.
Idaho came out of halftime as the aggressor and netted a pair of goals in a 47-second span to tie the match with 25 minutes to play. The ‘Runners and Vandals continued to battle furiously through the afternoon heat, but the open style of play did not result in a go-ahead goal for either team.
In the 86th minute, Settles broke away from her defender on a searching ball and was pulled down from behind just outside the box. The penalty set Delgado up to play a perfectly-placed free kick into the middle of the box. The midfielder's service found Orrante’s head and the native of Whittier, Calif. flicked the ball over the Idaho keeper for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Vandals continued to pressure in the final minutes, but the ‘Runner backline held strong. CSUB deflected all attacks and earned two vital throw ins across midfield to watch the clock tick down to zero.
The victory comes over an Idaho squad which finished the 2015 season 14-4-3 and in the Top 100 of the NCAA Division I RPI rankings. The Vandals also earned victories over fellow WAC members Seattle U and Grand Canyon earlier this season. CSUB improves to 3-6-1 on the season as the march toward Western Athletic Conference play continues.
With five goals on the season, Delgado moved into a tie for first in the Western Athletic Conference in goals. With an assist in the match as well, the native of Hacienda Heights, Calif. tallied five points on the day and now leads the conference with 11 points on the year. Padilla wrapped up the game with her third victory of the season a career-high seven saves. Orrante’s goal was her third of the season and gives her the second most for the ‘Runners.
Curneen commented on Delgado’s and the team’s performances after the match: “We’re a bit spoiled with Sabrina. You come to expect those [plays] because she does it every week. But a few other people stood up as well that haven’t been playing as much recently. Morgan Cole saw it out for us and Jen Padilla stepped up big today. Coral Lake did a great job and Jordin Bartel and it was just the old cliché, a team effort, but they saw it out today and it’s a huge win for us.”
The ‘Runners will travel to Grand Canyon Friday, Sept. 23, for a non-conference matchup before closing pre-league matches at UC Riverside Sept. 25. WAC play begins Oct. 7 when the ‘Runners travel to face Utah Valley in Orem, Utah.