HILLSBORO, Ore. -- Northern Colorado women's soccer dropped its first match in the past five during the Big Sky conference-opener on Friday day at Portland State. The Bears loss drops them to 4-4-2 on the season and 0-1-0 in Big Sky play while the Vikings improve to 4-4-1 and 1-0-0 in the Big Sky.
"It's conference season and it's always tough on the road," head coach Tim Barrera said. "We came out and played ok but when we give the ball away a team like PSU can punish you in transition, which they did."
The Bears had troubles at times finding shot opportunities as the Vikings outshot the visitors, 11-5, as well as leading in corners, 3-2. Senior Natalie D'Adamio led the opposing keeper in saves, 4-2, but those saves translated to the number of shots from each team. The win from the Vikings was the eighth of the series but the first since 2009.
Sophomore Essence Ortiz-Laneir scored the only goal for the Bears on the day, her third of the season, which came via a penalty kick. The penalty kick goal was the second Ortiz-Laneir has scored in as many opportunities this season.
The first half was controlled in shots by Portland State, outshooting Northern Colorado, 6-2, including opening the game with five shots. The fourth of those shots was the goal that would guide PSU the rest of the way. Lynsey Gaines put up a shot in the 13th minute that hit the post and bounced back into play. After the ball had hit a defender, Abbey Bergquist struck it and put it in the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Vikings scored again 15 minutes later to extend the lead. The shot that scored came just one minute after Ortiz-Laneir gave the Bears its first opportunity to score a goal with a shot on goal. Eryn Brown was able to put across a shot from 15 yards out that scored towards the far-side post. The second goal for the Vikings was Brown's sixth on the season. The 2-0 score would last into halftime, but not long after the Bears would get on the board.
"We regrouped after half and had more energy the rest of the way," said Barrera. "It was back-and-forth through much of second half and the women were fighting until the end but it wasn't meant to be."
Not even 30 seconds into the second half, the Vikings fouled Ortiz-Laneir inside the scoring box. The ball started out wide with Alexsys Tamayo passing to Rebecca Lancia on the right side. Lancia then hit a cross towards Ortiz-Laneir who was pushed in the back while going for the ball. The refs granted the sophomore a penalty kick and she did not disappoint. Ortiz-Laneir scored her second penalty-kick goal of the season to give the Bears quick momentum, looking to tie things up.
The second half was more balanced in terms of shots as the Bears totaled four compared to the Vikings five. The balance in shots came as a balance in score too, though, as the Vikings also scored during the period. In the 59th minute Brown again put up a shot, this time from distance, that D'Adamio was able to make a save on. Off the rebound from the save, though, Ariana Cooley put the ball in the goal from point blank to seal the game at 3-1 for PSU.
Northern Colorado travels to Sacramento State on Sunday to try and split the conference-opening weekend. The Bears and Hornets will meet at 2 p.m. at Hornet Field. Sacramento State leads the all-time series, 5-1-2. The Bears will look to grab momentum back following the 3-1 loss, after going undefeated in the previous five matches including four shutouts.
"We always have got to try and get points on the road and it's never easy on the road in the Big Sky," said Barrera. "We'll do the best we can and try to split the weekend."
Keep up with LiveStats of the Bears/Hornets match at the link HERE. Follow the Bears on Twitter, @unc_bears, to catch gameday updates and post-game news.