After honoring their two seniors, forward Hanna Armendariz and keeper Rachel Lusby, the University of Portland women’s soccer team fell to the No. 25 Pepperdine Waves in their senior day game. The Pilots lost 2-0, bringing their conference record to 4-4.
The seniors were joined by their family members as they received flowers from head coach Michelle French.
“With Riz, I think it’s been a great opportunity for her to kind of show what she can do on the attacking side of the ball this year,” said French of Armendariz. “She just brings a different kind of flare and excitement when she’s on the the ball.
“And Rachel has saved us in multiple games, literally,” French said of Lusby. “I just think her leadership and consistency has been something that has kind of driven the team forward...She’ll be a big piece that we’ll miss next year.”
Despite the loss, Armendariz and Lusby took time to reflect on their last four years playing as Portland Pilots.
“My four years have been quite a journey...It was quite a whirlwind,” Armendariz said. “But I enjoyed every moment. It was...a great experience just to grow as a person and grow as a player. And so, I truly appreciate my time being here.”
“Every year has been different, a lot of ups and downs,” Lusby said. “I think this year is the start of a lot more.”
The Pilots came out fast in the first half, quickly taking possession to their opponent’s side. They fought hard as they evenly split field dominance with the Waves, beating the Pepperdine players to the ball several times and keeping their passes quick and accurate.
About 35 minutes into the game, the Pilots gave up a penalty kick after a foul was called in the 18-yard box. Pepperdine senior Hailey Harbison took the shot and buried it into the lower left corner, giving the Waves a 1-0 lead.
The Pilots lost their momentum after the goal, while the Waves got a burst of energy and kept possession on the home team’s side of the field for most of the remaining half.
“I think it was great until the PK. The first 35 minutes it was back-and-forth. We seemed composed on the ball,” French said. “I think once we gave up the PK, I think some of the players lost a little bit of spirit and a little bit of drive in the way that they were playing.”
Starting the second half, the Pilots regained some of their speed and hunger for the ball. Neither team dominated completely for the first 13 minutes as Portland fought in hopes of catching up to Pepperdine. The Waves were able to break through Pilot defense at 52 minutes into the game, but Portland midfielder Natalie Muth came in with a strong tackle that cleared the ball out of the box.
But at 55 minutes, a fast shot was put away by Pepperdine sophomore Brie Welch, extending the Waves’ lead to 2-0.
The Pilots lost momentum again, and struggled for the rest of the second half to keep up with the Waves. By the end of the game, Pepperdine had 18 shots on goal while Portland had two. Lusby made seven saves, and Waves keeper Brielle Preece made one.
“I think we had a little bit of an inability to translate what it was we wanted to do in the game,” French said. “Probably two of the poorest goals we’ve given up this year, which is disappointing. Can’t do that against good teams.”
The Portland Pilots will next travel to Spokane, Washington on Saturday Nov. 3 to face the Gonzaga Bulldogs.