SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's soccer team (7-8-2, 3-4-1 Big Sky) looks to close the regular season with a home win at 2:30 p.m. Friday but will face a tall task in Portland State (10-4-2, 7-0-1 Big Sky), which has already clinched its third consecutive Big Sky regular season title.
The Vikings will host the Big Sky Tournament in two weeks, but the three other qualifying teams for the postseason have yet to be determined. Sacramento State is mathematically alive for a postseason berth but the Hornets will need a win on Friday and a lot of help.
Along with a win the Hornets also need Weber State to lose twice, Southern Utah to win twice, and Idaho State to lose or tie both of its remaining matches, losing at least one of them. Sacramento State and Portland State have just the one match remaining but the other eight conference teams will play both Friday and Sunday, making the Hornets chances slim. All they can do is look to end the regular season with a victory on their home field.
"We want to end the season on a good note and beating Portland State at home would give us a lot of confidence going forward," Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini said. "We've seen a lot of progress with this team and we're certainly heading in the right direction. We're obviously disappointed with how the season has gone, but at the same time we saw a tremendous amount of growth from last year to this year and we've taken some positive steps forward."
Friday's contest will be the last home match for Hornet seniors Melissa Gomez, Raylene Larot, Jordyn Rolling, Jami Shimada, and Gabriela Trenton. Shimada and Trenton were four-year Hornets and are the last remaining players from the 2010 team that won the Big Sky Championship. Three years later they will play for the final time on Hornet Field.
"We started off an a high note winning the Big Sky and we've had a lot of talent the last few years but we haven't been able to put it all together," Shimada reflected. "Overall it's been a good experience; there's more than just the soccer aspect of it but also the friendships that I've had with all these girls. It would be nice to win on Friday, especially since Portland State has been our rival and is coming in undefeated in conference."
Individually, Friday's match could decide who wins the Big Sky scoring title. Sacramento State sophomore Alyssa Anderson and Portland State junior Eryn Brown are two of four Big Sky players that are tied for the conference lead with seven goals this season. Anderson had six goals in non-conference play but has just a single tally in Big Sky competition, having gone scoreless over the last five matches.
Rolling and Trenton have stepped up offensively, with Rolling now tied for fifth in the Big Sky with five goals and Trenton tied for ninth with four. The two are tied for the Big Sky lead with four goals apiece in conference play as the Hornets have outscored their Big Sky opponents by an 11-10 margin. Sacramento State is also 4-2-2 at home this season and is 2-1-1 in home conference matches.
Portland State is looking to record its first undefeated Big Sky season and has allowed only three goals against in eight Big Sky matches. The Vikings lone tie came in a 0-0 draw with Southern Utah, which is one of five shutouts for the team in Big Sky play. Brown leads the conference with 15 points on the year and goalkeeper Caitlin Plese leads the league with a 0.78 goals against average and eight shutouts. Sacramento State is 10-6-3 all time against Portland State but the Vikings have won three of the last four meetings between the teams.
Friday's match will be a Green Army game, featuring Herky's PK Challenge at halftime and free food from Raley's for the first 50 students in Green Army gear.