The UP women's soccer team played their eighth game in the West Coast Conference at Merlo Field on Oct. 29. They beat the University of the Pacific 3-1 on their senior night.
The program said goodbye to six senior players including: MJ Roe, Selma Licina, Jenny Wahlen, Emily Collier, Shay Adams and Colby Wilson.
“I think the biggest thing tonight was that we wanted to defend the win for our seniors,” junior Camille Ashe said. “We obviously had a goal for this season, but tonight was all about the seniors. We really just wanted to help them go out on a win here on Merlo.”
Head coach Michelle French also expressed bittersweet emotions over the victory for the six seniors that are graduating from the program.
“This particular group of seniors have played a really integral role in changing the program,” French said. “They've seen and been a part of some tough losses and some really exciting wins. They have contributed so greatly from a leadership perspective this season. The season we've had thus far is a really big testament to who they are as human beings.”
Running onto the field with bright smiles, the players seemed excited to take on Pacific. For some, this will be the last moments they’ll get to spend on the grass of Merlo Field as their season comes to a close.
Pacific started off strong with kick-off. Their first attempt on goal came within the first minute. However, the Pilots quickly regained possession of the ball and took their own shot on goal, ultimately going wide of the post.
Both sides seemed to have a rough start finding a consistent rhythm. The Pilots seemed to have had better opportunities on goal than Pacific in the first half.
In the 17th minute, the crowd buzzed with excitement when sophomore Cally Togiai took a shot right outside of the box, but the ball ended up hitting the crossbar.
After several good attempts on goal, the Pilots succeeded in putting the ball in the back of the net. The goal came from redshirt freshman Kayla Adams in the 19th minute. Assisted by Togiai, securing Adams with her fifth goal of the season.
“It was such a team goal,” Adams said. “... and having the team behind you makes it feel so much better.”
The Pilots remained in control of the pitch even when Pacific had some shots on goal. The first half ended 1-0.
Pilots started with more ferocity as they kicked off the second half. They continued to possess the ball, even while Pacific took a more aggressive approach.
In the 57th minute, a brief altercation between junior Sophia Mattice and a Pacific defender led to the Pilot getting a yellow card.
The Pilots were patient to get their next shot on goal, and it paid off. In the 66th minute, Adams kicked the ball into the box from the right wing and Togiai secured the goal. Togiai’s goal marked her fifth of the season and put the Pilots up 2-0.
Similar to the first half, the Pilots had a few attempts at goal but they remained composed and shut out Pacific’s attempts to score.
In the 86th minute, senior MJ Roe scored another for the Pilots. Roe earned her third goal of the season and was assisted by junior Elianna Wong. This put up the Pilots 3-0.
Nearing the end of the game, the Tigers got one back with a goal from their freshman Allie Jones.
The Pilots remained victorious and they defeated Pacific 3-1.
“Not only were they playing to protect our home field, but they wanted to send the seniors off on a really high note,” French said. “They were all able to get in and contribute and make a difference. If this is their last game, what a great way to send them off.”
The next women’s soccer game is against the University of San Francisco on Nov. 2 in San Francisco.
Kimberly Cortez is the Community Engagement Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.