FULLERTON, CA – Hope International got its second win of the year on Tuesday, Aug. 29 after a match against Eastern Oregon University at Fullerton College. The Royals scored the winning goal in the first half and then hung on defensively for the remainder of the match to grind out a victory in the hot afternoon sun with temperatures rising into the 90s.
Jade Perez was the hero of the day offensively in her debut match as a Royal – Perez saw her first action on the pitch after subbing in at the 16th minute and immediately made her presence felt with quick touches and plenty of creative footwork.
As the 30th minute expired, Perez paired with Emily Colon to create the only offense of the match that would count on the scoresheet. Colon made the initial effort and carried the ball up the left side before playing it in for Perez, who chipped it over the head of EOU's keeper and into the back of the net for the score.
The Royals would generate one more shot in the closing moments of the first half from the foot of Jazzmyn Esquivel, but the shot flew wide of the net to the left and the match went into halftime with a 1-0 lead for the Royals.
EOU came out of the intermission more focused and determined to net an equalizer from the jump. Jacqueline Talley replaced Casey Pulido in goal at the half for HIU and was called on to make a save six minutes into her tenure in the 51st minute. The Mountaineers kept up the pressure and got another shot off a moment later, but it sailed high over the crossbar.
Daisy Gallegos put a shot on goal in the 60t minute that was saved by the EOU keeper, and the final thirty minutes were largely a desperate push from the Mountaineers for the tying goal. Talley made three of her four saves in the last third of the match and watched as several other shots sailed just wide or high of the goal.
A final last-minute push was defused by the Royals' defense in the closing moments of the match and at the horn HIU walked off the field with a 1-0 win over the team that had done the same to GSAC foe Vanguard the day prior.
"We're ecstatic [with the win]," Coach Matt Sanger said after the match ended. "Knowing that [EOU] beat Vanguard yesterday – Vanguard is an incredible program, so for us to beat the team that knocked them off, that does a lot to support us. EOU is a really strong program [as well], they didn't look tired from yesterday, so for us this is just an incredible result to have."
Talley and Pulido shared their second shutout win of the year and Perez picked up her first game-winning goal as the Royals improved to 2-0-1 on the year to start with a three-game undefeated streak. This is the third straight year under Coach Sanger that the Royals have started a season undefeated through their opening three matches – the Royals' best start under Coach Sanger came in his first year at the helm with a 5-0-2 record through seven matches.
HIU will have a day to recover from the heat before braving the elements again on the pitch against Marymount California at Fullerton College on Thursday at 10:30 am – temperatures are forecasted to peak at 102 F and should hover above 90 F so be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water if you attend. The live stats are also available as always at hiuroyals.com.