BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Behind a pair of goals from sophomore Sabrina Delgado, CSU Bakersfield’s women’s soccer team pulled out a nail-biting victory over Fresno State on Sunday night. Delgado’s goals led the Roadrunners to a 4-2 decision, claiming their first win against the Bulldogs since the 2008 season.
“I thought we were phenomenal, just on a different level in terms of our intensity, our press, and our possession,” said Gary Curneen, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “Most importantly was our execution. That was the missing piece from Friday and I thought that was the difference between getting close and getting the result.”
The Bulldogs sprinted out to control the majority of possession in the opening minutes of the game, but the ‘Runners slowed the tempo and began to swing momentum. After multiple close chances, CSUB finally converted for its first goal of the season in the 31st minute. Forward Aminah Settles crossed a ball into the box and found Delgado, who finished with a light touch to the opposite corner for a 1-0 lead.
Just before halftime, the ‘Runners extended their lead to two goals when redshirt freshman Jordin Bartel scored her first collegiate goal. At 43:13, freshman and Bakersfield native Sophie Freeman sent a cross to the near post and Bartel headed it past the outstretched arms of Fresno State’s keeper.
CSUB continued to control the game in the second half and converted a third goal in the 64th minute. Freeman was on the receiving end of a pass from Settles and floated a perfectly placed ball to the opposite corner, putting the ‘Runners up 3-0.
Fresno State was not ready to go down quietly as the Bulldogs cut the lead at 72:39. Junior forward Myra Delgadillo stole the ball from the ‘Runner defense just outside the 18-yard box and beat CSUB keeper Jen Padilla with a low shot to the right corner.
Ten minutes later, Delgadillo made the score 3-2 with her second goal of the night. After a foul was called just outside the box, Delgadillo placed a perfect ball over the CSUB wall and into the upper V to put a draw within reach.
The ‘Runner squad, which saw 16 underclassmen play in Sunday’s match, pushed back every Fresno State attack in the final minutes. A ball cleared of CSUB's box found sophomore Madi Giammona for a counterattack and the sophomore made a long run and played a horizontal ball to a wide open Delgado. A native of Hacienda Heights, Calif., Delgado took a powerful swing and beat the keeper under her feet to put the ‘Runners ahead 4-2 with just 40 seconds remaining in the match.
Sunday night’s victory was CSUB’s first home-opener win since the 2013 season when Erica Shelton’s hat trick propelled the ‘Runners past Southern Utah. With the win, Bakersfield also earned its first victory over its Central Valley rival Fresno State since the 2008 season.
After the match, Curneen also spoke about what drove his team to Sunday night’s victory: “The girls bleed blue and gold and they work hard for each other. They are going to enjoy this for sure. We took chances and had quality play in the final third. That goal from Jordin, that goal from Sophie. Madi had a pass and set up Sabrina. The ball before the final finish was phenomenal tonight.”
The ‘Runners are now 1-1-0 on the season with momentum heading into a tough week of play. CSUB is set to host UTEP Friday, Aug. 26, in a doubleheader with the Roadrunner men’s squad. Then, the women will travel to face No. 25 Loyola Marymount, a team that went to the NCAA Sweet 16 a year ago, in a match on Sunday afternoon.
Both of Friday’s home games will be played at the Main Soccer Field with the women starting at 5 p.m., followed by the men, who will face Sacramento State. Season tickets and single-game tickets are still available for both men’s and women’s soccer and more information can be found at GoRunners.com/tix. For fans who are unable make it to campus, both games will be streamed live via the Roadrunner Sports Network.