PASADENA (Aug. 31, 2018) – A gutsy second-half performance from the Caltech women's soccer team allowed the Beavers to rally against visiting Oberlin College and earn a 2-1 victory to score its first NCAA victory in just the program's second year of existence.
The win will go down perhaps as special as it was fitting; Head Coach Taylor Houck, the first and only head coach of the women's soccer program, spent two years as an assistant coach on the Oberlin staff before joining Caltech.
"It was a great win against a very talented and well-coached team," Houck said. "It was important for our team to not only beat a good team but to show such grit and determination to work hard to score two goals in the second half for a come-from-behind win. Oberlin is a very special place and a team that I respect immensely so to be able to work hard and defeat them says a lot about our team."
Following a first half where the Beavers' faced a high pressure offense from the Yeowomen, giving up a 5-1 shot difference, Caltech came out in the second half looking to set the tone. Just under two minutes in, junior forward Noelle Davis (Fort Worth, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science) found the back of the net off a centering pass from a new addition to the team, senior Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho), for the team's first goal of the regular season. The goal came from near point-blank range on a great crash to the net, but the Beavers later proved they can find the net from distance too. Sophomore Krystin Brown (Lake Forest, Calif. / Trabuco Hills) uncorked a shot from the left side at the end of the 57th minute to give the Beavers the go-ahead goal and put her team in position to do in its first game what it could not last year - beat a fellow NCAA team. That is, as long as they could hang on for another 33 minutes.
The Caltech defense tightened up and leaned on sophomore goalkeeper Kali Drango (Lake Oswego, Ore. / Lake Oswego) to make the big saves necessary to keep the Yeowomen off the board. Drango ended up making two key saves the rest of the way while keeping the visitors at bay with deep punts. Drango finished the game with six saves and has been the presence in net for every victory the Caltech women's soccer team has ever achieved. The Caltech back line consisting of sophomores Nayla Abney (Sewell, N.J. / Deptford Township), Rachel Sun (Tustin, Calif. / Beckman) and Maquelle Tiffany (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos), in addition to freshman outside back Zoe Beatty (Columbus, Ohio / The Wellington School), worked in tandem with Drango to keep their opponents in check, evident in the Beavers outshooting the Yeowomen, 6-5 in the second half. On the other side of the ball, Caltech shot efficiently with Davis registering the team's only other shot on goal outside of the two second-half goals.
Houck and the Beavers will open up the SCIAC schedule with their first road game at defending conference runner-up Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m.