SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's soccer team rallied from down 1-0 and down 2-1 and earned a 2-2 draw against Fresno State on Friday at Hornet Field. Both teams moved their season records to 3-4-1 with the hard-fought double-overtime stalemate.
"Every time we've been down this year the girls have responded really well with not getting down and continuing to fight, and we've been coming back from deficits over and over," Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini said. "That's a really good sign for us, but now we have to start eliminating the little mistakes and playing urgent the entire game.
The lack of urgency was evident at the beginning of the contest as Sacramento State did not attempt its first shot until the 29th minute. The Hornets trailed 1-0 at that point after Fresno State senior Kayla Kret headed in a corner kick to give the visitors the lead in the 26th minute.
The Hornets turned on the intensity and ended up with a 4-2 shot advantage for the first half, but Bulldog goalkeeper Katie DeVault made two saves in the opening period as Fresno State held a 1-0 halftime lead.
Things got interesting early in the second half as the Hornets tied the match less than seven minutes into the second stanza. Redshirt freshman Ashley Cella played a free kick into the box that was deflected by sophomore Alyssa Anderson to freshman Rachel Leonard, who calmly fired into the vacated net for her first career goal and a 1-1 match.
That first tie was short lived as Fresno State regained the lead just 26 seconds later. Bulldog sophomore Dani Rodriguez sent a cross into the Hornet box that was deflected by goalkeeper Hannah Gendron but found Fresno State's Morgan Castain for an uncontested shot into the home goal.
Sacramento State went on the attack, and in the 71st minute the squad had three consecutive corner kicks. The final corner led to the equalizer, as the set ball from junior Jessica Small hit a body and found senior Jordyn Rolling for a blast into the near post to level the score in the 73rd minute.
Gendron made a save in the final minute of regulation to ensure overtime, and in the first extra period the Bulldogs had a 3-1 shot advantage but Gendron made another stop to force a second OT.
Fresno State had an early corner kick try in the second overtime denied by Gendron, then Sacramento State had three shots off two corner kicks but all three were blocked by the Bulldog defense and the match ended in a draw.
"We changed our front line combinations and once we did that it seemed like their back line was a little unsure, and it took our midfielders a while to realize we had a numerical advantage," said Dedini of his team's rally to force the tie. "I felt like we possessed the ball a little bit better than they did and we were really able to get our outside backs into the attack a lot. We did a pretty good job in trying to take advantage of where they were weaker."
Gendron, who made her first career start in the absence of injured junior goalkeeper Kimberly Mata, made a career-high six saves to earn the tie. The Hornets held a 16-12 shot advantage for the match but Fresno State had an 8-4 edge in shots on goal.
Sacramento State will close the non-conference portion of its schedule at 1 p.m. Sunday at Pacific.