DENVER – Junior forward Jazmine Rhodes (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic) scored her first goal of the season, but it was not enough as the University of Cincinnati women’s soccer team fell to California-Irvine 2-1 Friday evening in the opening match of the University of Denver Invitational at CIBER Field.
UC-Irvine (3-4-0) scored twice within a 34-second span nearly two-thirds into the match to take a 2-1 lead. In the 59th minute, UCI senior forward Dana Sanderlin took a pass from junior Natalia Ledezma and produced her first goal number of the season, hitting a shot from the right side of box that finish in the upper-left corner of the goal.
In the 60th minute, Anteaters sophomore forward Laura McGrail produced her second goal of the year after taking a cross from Ledezma and half volleying the ball into the net.
Cincinnati (3-2-1) frantically tried to tie the score before the end of regulation, taking three shots in the final six minutes. UC’s closest opportunity came in the 85th minute when junior Lauren Hettinger (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) headed Katie Greer’s (Massapequa, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) corner kick into the crossbar.
The match was played evenly for the majority of the match, with shots tied 12-12; however, California-Irvine finished with a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks, as well as a 6-3 lead in shots on goal.
The loss came despite the Bearcats entering the second half with a one-goal lead.
Cincinnati took an initial lead in the 22nd minute on Rhodes’ first score of the season. The goal was assisted by freshman Laura Rose (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) and Greer, who sent a through ball to Rhodes, which set up a one-on-one situation against UC-Irvine sophomore keeper Jennifer Randazzo.
UC sophomore goalkeeper Kristina Utley (Castro Valley, Calif./Castro Valley) produced four saves in the match, while Randazzo ended the night with two.
Through the first half, the shots were tied 6-6, including a 2-2 draw in shots on goal.
UC-Irvine held a 4-0 advantage in first-half corner kicks.
Cincinnati will close Denver Invitational play with a 1 p.m. ET Sunday matchup versus the Colorado University Buffaloes.