The Master’s University women’s soccer team entered Thursday’s match with Vanguard on the fringes of the NAIA national tournament conversation.
The Mustangs played quality soccer over the season’s first 10 games, but coach Curtis Lewis saw his club as needing a significant victory to solidify its place among those teams in the running for an at-large berth, should the Mustangs not ultimately win the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament.
Master’s left the Vanguard Soccer Complex in Costa Mesa still looking for such a victory after Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the No. 12-ranked Lions. But the Mustangs, currently No. 30 in the NAIA coaches poll, will have more such opportunities before long. They will play No. 7 Westmont College and Hope International, a 2018 national tournament qualifier, later this month.
Thursday’s defeat snapped TMU’s three-match winning streak and ended a run of three straight shutouts. Suzanne Mabie put the Mustangs (5-3-3, 0-1 GSAC) on the scoreboard first, but Vanguard, the three-time defending GSAC champion, rallied for three unanswered goals to keep an impressive winning streak in conference alive. Vanguard (5-1-2, 1-0) has won 25 straight GSAC matches dating back to 2016.
“I think today we struggled playing for the full 90 minutes,” said Master’s defender Kayla Peterson. “I think we had a great first half, but we came out in the second half and mentally checked out. Going forward in GSAC we need to be mentally checked in for the full 90.”
The Mustangs checked in first on the scoreboard when Mabie punched in her first goal of the season in the 12th minute. But Vanguard answered back less than two minutes later and took the lead for good before intermission.
By the time Ayanna Suarez scored her second goal of the contest two minutes into the second half, the Mustangs were on their way to another road loss at the hands of the Lions. TMU’s last win in Costa Mesa came in 2011.
Here’s the box score.
None of that, however, should impact the spate of games that remain before TMU. They will then welcome Westmont to TMU on Oct. 19 before traveling to play Hope International on Oct. 23.
In the meantime, Master’s will look to return to the defensive form it showed for nearly the entire month of September. The Mustangs shut out Providence Christian, the University of Antelope Valley and UC Merced consecutively, piling up 290 minutes of score-free soccer.
— By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director