FULLERTON, CA – Hope International hosted San Diego Christian on Saturday, Sept. 23 in its second conference tilt of the 2017 season. The Royals found themselves trailing early in the match but were able to rally in the second half for their first GSAC victory of the year.
SDC needed less than a minute to take the lead after a cross bent into the box turned into an accidental goal for the Hawks. The Royals played at a slower pace for the opening twenty minutes and found themselves trailing 2-0 to SDC after the Hawks netted a second strike on a free kick from 20 yards away.
After holding the back line more securely against SDC for the remainder of the opening half, HIU made adjustments at the half and worked to recapture the momentum from their visitors. Only ten minutes passed in the second half before HIU made a run up the left side of the field and created their first goal of the afternoon. Jazzmyn Esquivel carried a ball to the goal line along the left side and crossed it in for Jade Perez for the goal at the 56th minute.
The Hawks countered with adjustments of their own and held HIU in check for the next 20 minutes, but the Royals continued to feed on Esquivel's play and were able to tie the match in the 79th minute with a goal from Esquivel herself. Leigha Williams sent a corner kick into the box from the left side and Esquivel finished it on the far post for her seventh goal of the year.
Seconds later the Royals took the lead after Daisy Gallegos picked off an SDC pass and carried it the distance herself before finishing the play with a strike into the bottom of the net for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Esquivel finished her day with an insurance goal for the Royals ten minutes later with a carbon copy of the play she set up previously for Perez – Emily Colon brought the ball up to the endline before crossing it in for Esquivel, who finished the shot straight on for a 4-2 tally and the final score.
Casey Pulido and Jacqueline Talley split time in the goal for HIU to pick up the Royals' first conference victory, each making one save in their respective 45 minutes of action. Esquivel ended the afternoon with a pair of goals and an assist to help HIU to the win.
"In the first half we created a lot of opportunities but we weren't really finishing them," Coach Matt Sanger said after the match. "At halftime we challenged [our girls, asking] 'who are we,' and to take control of themselves and the game. It's been a rough couple weeks for us so it was great to see them come out of it [with a win]."
Hope International improves to 4-3-2 overall and is now 1-0-1 in conference play while San Diego Christian falls to 4-4 overall and 0-2 against GSAC schools this season. The Royals will host William Jessup and Menlo next week while San Diego Christian returns home to face a pair of NAIA Top-10 teams in Westmont and The Master's.