Dons comeback in conference opener

Women’s Soccer Wendy Millan
Photo by Edgar Galvan

The Santa Ana Dons won their first conference match 3-1 in comeback fashion against the Irvine Valley College Lasers. Leading the Dons in the win was freshman forward Diana Hernandez who scored a brace.

In the first half, the Dons fell behind early. At the eight-minute mark, the Lasers took advantage of a mistake from the Dons. Sophomore midfielder Cecilia Salmeron tried playing the ball out of the back but had her pass intercepted. This mistake left the Dons vulnerable on their own half. 

The Lasers forward who stole the ball quickly crossed the ball on the ground to her teammate for an easy tap-in.

After this goal, it was a back-and-forth battle in the midfield, with neither team truly controlling the tempo of the game.

In the 25th minute, the Dons made game-changing attacking substitutions. They brought on freshman forward Ximena Barreras, as well as Hernandez. Within ten minutes of stepping on the field, Hernandez had a shot from outside the box. Her left-footed shot forced the Lasers goalkeeper to dive in order to prevent the goal.

The Dons equaled the score in the 45th minute just before the half ended. The goal came from a cross from the left side and bounced a couple of times inside the 18-yard box. Eventually finding freshman defender Angelica Flores, who had the whole goal open in front of her, after the Lasers failed to clear the ball. 

Flores easily put the ball away into the right side of the goal and gave the Dons the equalizer just before the first half ended.

“I felt like in the first half we were struggling a bit,” said sophomore midfielder Jennifer Rincon. “Even though we did score one, it was a lucky goal, to be honest.” 

The Dons turned things around in the second half by gaining the lead in the 72nd minute. Opening her goal count was Hernandez after being aggressive in the opponent’s box and creating an opportunity out of nothing. Breathing down the necks of the Lasers center back, Hernandez won possession of the ball in the box and struck a right-footed volley to give the Dons their first lead of the game.

Hernandez had more tricks up her sleeve for the Lasers that evening. In the 81st minute, Barreras placed a beautiful through ball that sliced the Lasers’ defense. The ball was delivered to Hernandez, who took a gentle touch and placed the ball past the rushing Lasers goalkeeper.

The leading goalscorer Hernandez and assist leader Barreras linked up to secure the first win of the season, as well as their first conference win. 

Holding a record of 1-3-2, the Dons will host the Saddleback College Bobcats on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

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