Women’s soccer rides strong first half to beat Concordia

Eagles scored three first half goals, then held on for 3-2 win.

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Women’s soccer rides strong first half to beat Concordia

Photo by Thecla Li / THE CHIMEs

Photo by Thecla Li / THE CHIMEs

Photo by Thecla Li / THE CHIMEs

Photo by Thecla Li / THE CHIMEs

Joel Ashor, Sports Editor

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Biola returned home to Al Barbour field for a PacWest matchup against Concordia University Irvine. The hosts played a strong first half, scoring three goals, and freshman goalkeeper Viviana Poli recorded a Biola single-game school record 17 saves to help her team hold on for a 3-2 win.

Poli explained how she was able to make so many incredible saves.

“The drive for my team, I love them so much, and the energy we all bring. The position that I love to play, it’s just so fun to toss myself back and forth and to support [my team] altogether,” Poli said.

The Eagles of Concordia applied pressure early, but Poli recorded four saves in the first 18 minutes. Biola then struck in the 19th minute when junior midfielder Paula-Marie Labate took a pass from junior forward Annmarie Alvarez and finished it to the left post for her second goal of the season.

“They were shifting a lot of players to the outside so I knew playing in the center midfield role that there was a lot of space. I got an awesome ball across from Annie and just was able to get a shot on goal, and glad it went in,” Labate said.

Labate played a role in another Biola goal just two minutes later as she put a through pass to junior forward Sarah Jeffries who finished to the left post as well, giving her team a 2-0 lead.

The Eagles newcomers then got involved in the 31st minute as freshman midfielder Katelyn Penner set up freshman forward Sierra Rangel, who poked the ball past the goalie to put Biola ahead 3-0 heading into the half.

The visiting Eagles showed much more life immediately in the second half, scoring a quick goal in the 46th minute to make it 3-1.

The two teams both settled in on defense for much of the second half as Poli continued to shine in goal, tallying nine second half saves.

CUI pushed through a late goal in the 88th minute to make it scary for Biola, but the home defense held them off over the final two minutes to earn the 3-2 win.

“I was impressed with the ladies, the way they came out and were just combining and how they made it look so simple to execute in the attack,” said head coach Erin Brunelle.

Biola (5-3-2, 3-0 PacWest) heads to Hawaii to take on Hawaii Pacific University on Thursday at 6 p.m.