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FC Tucson women take first win ever over SeaLions

Gutierrez scores two more

Before Saturday, FC Tucson had never beaten the San Diego SeaLions. But when the match was over at Kino Stadium, FC Tucson was on top 2 - 1 thanks to a brace from Mariel Gutierrez.

It didn't look like it would go that way at first. The SeaLions dominated the opening portion of the match, with Lainey Burdett called on twice in the first 10 minutes. She got caught off trying to intercept a pass so almost let in a third shot, but defender Samantha Falasco made a save off the line.

FC Tucson settled the match down and shots came from Brianna Barreiro and Madison Hirschman.

Even with the pressure, it took until the 39th minute for the team to find the back of the net. Jessica Raybe crossed the ball into the box where Gutierrez was waiting. She tipped it past the keeper for the first score of the match.

It only took five minutes for the SeaLions to level things up again. Cori Deason's shot from distance beat Burdett.

FC Tucson began the second half with a run from Catalina Foothills grad Tatianna Lizarraga, but SeaLions and University of South Dakota goalkeeper Parker Rytz grabbed the ball from her feet before she could get a shot.

Gutierrez led a counterattack in the 87th minute. She was largely unmarked when she made her shot. Rytz's attempt at a save sent the ball into the back of the net.

Gutierrez's two goals secures FC Tucson six points in their three opening matches. The team is scheduled to take on Phoenix Del Sol, their first non-San Diego opponent, Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Kino North Stadium.

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First time for everything

Going back to the days when FC Tucson was known as TSA FC, the SeaLions have been the team's bêtes noire. Aside from a couple of ties, they have never beaten them. In their first season, the SeaLions knocked them out of the playoffs on the way to the national championship.

They would have had a difficult match against the SeaLions in any case, but playing the third match in five days in the Southern Arizona heat presented more challenges.

"The first thing we said in the locker room was 'it's hot'. But, they were dealing with the same thing we are," said defender McKenzie Grossman. "That's the adversity we have to deal with. They play tomorrow so they'll be dealing with it then."

Grossman started playing for the team while playing at Arizona State (we won't hold it against her) and still commutes from Phoenix because of her love for the culture around the team. Except for a time playing in Sweden, Grossman has spent five years on the FC Tucson roster. She has been on the squad for frustrating losses like last year's 1 - 0 lead evaporating into a 2 - 1 loss in the final minutes of the match. Holding on to the lead after they got it back late in the match was important.

"Once we did that, we could calm down and play it on the ground. We weren't so frantic and rushed," she noted. "We kept the pressure on them. That was good."

Names

The full name of Saturday's opponent is San Diego WFC SeaLions. The other two teams from San Diego have unwieldy names, LA Galaxy San Diego and San Diego Parceiro Ladies, but neither of those combine two words into one or have the interesting grasp of capitalization that the name SeaLions does.

Interestingly, SeaLions goal scorer Cori Deason plays for Point Loma Nazarene University, whose mascot is the two-word version, Sea Lions.

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Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

Tucson's Jessica Raybe crosses the ball from wide on the right.

FC Tucson vs. San Diego SeaLions

Kino North Stadium

Scoring Summary

FCT: Mariel Gutierrez (39’)

SDS: Cori Deason (44’)

FCT: Gutierrez (87’)

Misconduct Summary

No cautions or ejections

Starting Line-ups

FC Tucson: Lainey Burdett - McKenzie Grossman, Alex Skidmore, Samantha Falasco, Brooke Denesik  - Hailey Mazzola, Brianna Barreiro, Kelcey Cavarra, Treena Ferguson - Mariel Gutierrez, Jessica Raybe

San Diego WFC SeaLions: Parker Rytz - Rachel Sadowski, Bridget Wollrabe, Victoria Gersh, Christina Bragado - Rhiann Holman, Elle Magracia, Cassie Callahan, Lili Andino - Keira Bocchno, Cori Deason