By Dean Boerner | Sports Editor

Valerie Laforge played all 109 minutes in the Friday contest. (Courtesy of


After a 2-2 start to their season, the Gaels dropped a 3-0 contest to Cal State Fullerton to open September, pushing their record to sub-.500 territory and necessitating a strong showing in the Saint Mary’s tournament this past weekend. While the Gaels dropped a tight match to CSU Bakersfield to open up the tournament, they came back strong on Sunday afternoon to down UC Riverside and salvage one win.

For the Gaels, the Saint Mary’s Tournament began with a very competitive match against the Roadrunners of CSU Bakersfield. Despite a late second-half goal to tie matters up, the Gaels ended up falling to the Roadrunners 2-1 in a double-overtime heartbreaker.

Bakersfield junior Claire Nelson put her team on the board first with a goal in minute 14. Assisted by redshirt freshman Kamari Hines , Nelson’s goal would give Bakersfield a lead that lasted all the way until late into the second half.

Bakersfield went into the half with an advantage thanks to Nelson’s goal, and they maintained their lead for most of the second half.

Finally, in the 81st minute, sophomore midfielder Kailana Kaeo sent one into the net to tie the game 1-1. Sophomore Anna Parker and senior Hanna Diaz recorded assists on the match-tying goal that effectively took the contest into overtime.

Once ten minutes of scoreless play went by with still nothing resolved, a second overtime began. In the 109th minute, Bakersfield’s Aminah Settles tapped teammate Aryana Harvey’s pass past the line and into the net to hand the Roadrunners their fourth victory of the season and the Gaels a heartbreaking loss.

In their Sunday match against Riverside, it was the Gaels who struck first. Anyssa Dominguez found Diaz with a pass, setting up Diaz for her third goal of the season and giving the Gaels the lead in the 19th minute.
The Gaels would protect that lead for the remainder of the half thanks to a strong defense and good goalkeeping by sophomore Sarah Sawatzky.

In the second half, Saint Mary’s added another goal for good measure. It was Diaz again—this time on a free kick—who found the net. That gave Saint Mary’s a 2-0 they wouldn’t relinquish.

With the two goals, Diaz now has 21 career goals and is one of only 10 Gaels to ever reach the career 20-goal plateau.

Just as importantly, Saint Mary’s moves to a record of three wins and four losses with the Sunday win, and they now look ahead to another two-game week. Saint Mary’s pays a visit to San Jose State Friday afternoon  to take on the Spartans. Then on Sunday they host Samford for a noon game in Moraga as they prepare for WCC action to start in late September.

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