The Fresno Freeze held nothing back in its Women’s Premier Soccer League debut, dominating the defending Pacific-North Division champs California Storm for a 5-1 win Friday night at Chukchansi Park.
The Freeze (1-0-0) fell behind early as the Storm’s Sherifatu Sumalia scored in the ninth minute.
But it didn’t take long for Fresno to respond, with outside midfielder Vanessa Black evening the score 1 minute later.
Caitlyn Kreutz, The Bee’s 2015 Player of the Year from Buchanan High, scored the go-ahead in the 43rd on an assist from Mari Cruz Chapa.
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The Freeze carried their momentum into the second half, adding three more — including a 25-yard golazo by midfielder Ashley Tenn in the 65th.
“The character of our team was shown by going out and responding immediately,” Freeze coach Tim Carroll said. “My hat is off to them. The girls did a tremendous job.”
About 4,000 fans were at Chukchansi Park for the first soccer doubleheader of the year that also featured the Premier Development League’s Fresno Fuego.
The Fuego, however, lost 1-0 to Burlingame FC and end a three-game unbeaten streak to start the PDL.
Fresno (2-1-1) got a taste of its own local flavor as Kyle Cadigan was on the heading end of a corner kick for a Dragons goal in the 29th minute.
“It’s exhilarating,” said Cadigan, a 2010 Buchanan High grad. “Especially playing in this stadium, it’s such a terrific atmosphere, not only the Fuego but the fans. They love it and and are as passionate as we are.”
Cadigan’s goal was the first time all season — 309-plus minutes of game time — that the Fuego found themselves behind.
And it didn’t get any easier for Fresno, as Elliott Hord and Abraham Campos had to be subbed off over the next 10 minutes with injuries.
The Fuego continued their speedy attack in the second half, only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Josh Cohen, who finished with 10 saves.
Fresno scrambled to save at least a point but couldn’t punch in a goal — even bringing up goalkeeper Cesar Castillo into the attack for a pair of stoppage-time corner kicks.
“We played our hearts out,” Fuego coach Scott Alcorn said. “But I’m disappointed with the loss.”
The Fuego and Freeze hit the road next weekend before returning to Fresno on May 29 for another Fire-and-Ice doubleheader at Chukchansi Park.
WPSL: FRESNO FREEZE at PRIMERO DE MAYO
▪ May 24: TBD in Sacramento
▪ Records: Freeze 1-0-0; Mayo 0-0-0
PDL: FRESNO FUEGO at BURLINGAME FC
▪ May 23: 5 p.m. at Burlingame High School
▪ Records: Fuego 2-1-1, Dragons 1-0-0