YUMA, Ariz. – Cinthya Samaniego came through in the clutch for the 20th ranked Arizona Western College women’s soccer team on Tuesday night. Her goal in the 76th minute was a thing of beauty and capped a strong second half for the Lady Mats against Chandler-Gilbert in a 1-0 win.
Samaniego cut in from the left side and received a long cross at the left edge of the box from Daisy Rodriguez. She took one dribble and pummeled a shot on goal that deflected off of goalkeeper Amanda Witherow. It was her ninth goal of the season, and Rodriguez picked up her 13th assist.
Lady Matador goalkeeper Janet Reyes made several spectacular saves, and the defense locked down to keep a clean sheet for the full 90 minutes. While the score was still tied at 0-0 in the 50th minute, Reyes leapt to deflect a long range shot over the goal. She came up big again in the 72nd and 86th minutes to gobble up a pair of shots and shut down breakaway chances. The sophomore finished with six saves (five in the second half).
In the closing minutes of the game, Chandler-Gilbert had one final surge, but a free kick from 20 yards straightaway went into the wall with less than two minutes to go. The Lady Matador defense also cleared out a CGCC corner kick with less than 10 seconds to go to close out the win.
After Chandler-Gilbert controlled long stretches of the first half, AWC came out of halftime ready to rock. The Lady Mats controlled the pace and seemed on the verge of breaking through early in the half. Samaniego found space in the box but couldn’t finish a bouncing cross in the 49th minute. In the 54th minute, Abby Rosales banged a shot from 25 yards out off the crossbar. Less than 15 minutes later, she whacked a free kick off the left post and out of bounds.
The Lady Mats outshot Chandler-Gilbert 13-8 on the night and 9-5 in the second half. Arizona Western had five corners to CGCC’s four.
With the win, Arizona Western improves to 9-3 overall and in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. Chandler-Gilbert drops to 9-3 overall and in the ACCAC, and the two teams are tied for second in the league standings.
AWC hosts Mesa Community College on Thursday at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Children under 12 and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for FREE!
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.