Wildcats drop home opener


Dominic Curcuro - Chico State Athletics

The Wildcats before their home opener

The Wildcats were looking to improve to 3-0 on the season but got handed their first loss at home by Seattle Pacific University in a 2-1 defeat. 

The season opener at home ended in a loss for the women’s soccer team, with the Wildcats facing their toughest opponents thus far. Chico State found itself in the attacking third throughout the game, but unfortunately couldn’t create many chances on goal. 

Photo courtesy of Dominic Curcuro – Chico State Athletics
Freshman Summer Baron getting in front of the ball

The Wildcats had nine shots, two being on frame. Seattle Pacific had 22 shots and seven of those on goal. It was a lopsided game on the offensive end, yet the game was closer than what the statistics show. The Wildcats struck first with a goal from Susanna Garcia, midway through the first half. 

Seattle Pacific put Chico’s back line to the test, and up until the final 25 minutes of the game, the Wildcats responded well. They were holding their breath and hoping to earn themselves a win. The Falcons of Seattle Pacific found the back of the net twice in the second half and stole a win on the road. 

In the previous two games, senior left back Jordan Doukakis was able to help her team offensively, but on Saturday night she had her hands full with the Falcons’ forwards. For Doukakis, it was the wake up call the team needed. 

“I think it was actually good that we lost like this,” Doukakis said. “We can learn from our mistakes, regroup and work on the things we need to in practice.” 

Much like Doukakis, freshman forward Natalie Mendoza said there’s plenty of time to learn from this game and move on. 

Mendoza played all but the final six minutes of the game. As a forward, the offense was being run through her. She was checking back for balls, turning and taking space and bringing defenders in order to play the ball wide for her teammates. 

“This was a really good team, the best team we’ve played so far,” Mendoza said. “We have to create more opportunities in the future and hopefully come back and win the next game.” 

While the outcome of Saturday’s game was not what the Wildcats wanted, head coach Kim Sutton saw success throughout the game from her team.

“I think we were challenged by the most athletic team we’ve seen, I don’t think they had a weak spot,” Sutton said. “I was super proud of us for rising to the occasion and playing gutsy.” 

Photo courtesy of Dominic Curcuro – Chico State Athletics
Midfielder Camille Lidster holds off her defender to win the ball

With the nature of sports and COVID-19 regulations, the Wildcats were down a few key players heading into this matchup. Including starting forwards Madison Parsons, Mackenzie Gill and defender Nicole Fairbanks. 

Sutton mentioned that while having players miss the game hurt them, it was good to see they played a full match and nearly stole a tie. 

This was the Wildcats first test of the season, Seattle Pacific is a team that has made deep playoff pushes in the NCAA playoffs. Sutton acknowledged she was happy they learned about themselves and what they need to work on for their upcoming matches within their conference, the California Collegiate Athletic Association. 

CCAA games for the Wildcats begin Oct. 1, at home against California State San Bernardino.

Mason Tovani can be reached [email protected] or @masomtovani on Twitter