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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's soccer team returns to Hornet Field for the first time since September 8 as they welcome North Dakota and Northern Colorado to Sacramento. The team is coming off a good start to conference play, playing to the tie in both Eastern Washington and Idaho.

Scouting North Dakota (4-3-3, 2-0-0 Big Sky)

Sacramento State will host North Dakota on Thursday for their first home conference match of the season. The last time the two teams faced each other, Sacramento State defeated the Fighting Hawks 2-0 in North Dakota. When they faced each other in Sacramento in 2015, it was another Hornets win, 2-0. In total, the women's squad is 5-0-0 against North Dakota.

The Fighting Hawks enter Friday's match with a 4-3-3 overall record and a 2-0-0 showing in conference play. The 2-0-0 Big Sky start is the best for North Dakota since the 2003 season when they also opened conference play 2-0.

Much of that early success has been on the defensive side of the ball. North Dakota has allowed just six goals this season, the fewest in the league. Like Sacramento State, they have also yet to allow a goal in two conference matches. Goalkeepers Olivia Swenson and Catherine Klein have combined for a Big Sky-leading 85 saves through 10 games. 

On offense, forward Katie Moller was named the Big Sky Women's Soccer Defenive Player of the Week. She leads the team with 13 points (six goals, one assist) and her 39 shots are third most in the conference.

Quick Facts vs. North Dakota

Scouting Northern Colorado (7-4-0, 1-1-0 Big Sky)

The Northern Colorado Bears come into Hornet Field on Sunday to take on the Sacramento State Hornets. The matchup is the first between these two teams since an exciting 1-0 Hornets win in Colorado at the end of last season. Northern Colorado was also responsible for eliminating the Hornets from the conference tournament in the semifinals of the 2015 season. Overall, Sacramento State holds the advantage 7-3-3 all-time against the Bears.

Northern Colorado enters this weekend 7-4-0 overall (1-1-0 Big Sky) and are scheduled to play Northern Arizona before traveling to Hornet Field. They split their first two conference games - both played at home - against Weber State and Idaho State. For the season, the Bears rank in the middle of the pack for most offensive categories, including points (5th), goals (5th), and shots (7th). They have done a strong job moving the ball around, ranking third in assists (12) through 11 games.

The Bears are led by the offensive trio of Mariel Gutierrez (four goals, five assists), Brooke Braden (four goals, four assists), and Maddie Roberts (three goals, five assists). As of Wednesday, the three are ranked among the top five in points with 13, 12, and 11, respectively. 

Quick Facts vs. Northern Colorado

Conference Catch Up

The Hornets went 0-0-2 in their first conference matchups of the season, settling for back-to-back scoreless draws at Eastern Washington and at Idaho. Sacramento State picked up two hard-earned points for their efforts and enter Thursday ranked eighth in the conference. North Dakota, the Hornets' Friday opponent, is the only 2-0 team after the first weekend of conference play.

Road Trip Recap

Sacramento State is back at Hornet Field this weekend for the first time since their heartbreaking double overtime loss to Cal (currently ranked #18). In five matches on the road, the team went 2-1-2 with wins at UC Davis and at CSU Bakersfield. Their only loss on the trip was a 1-0 final at Cal Poly.

Weekly Accolades

Sacramento State's freshman goalkeeper Aaliyah Fesili was named the Big Sky Women's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for her outstanding performance in last weekend's games. Fesili was a perfect 8-8 in save opportunities and recorded shutouts against two of the Big Sky's top offensive teams. She now has an 0.62 goals against average, the best in the conference, and an .824 save percentage (third best).

The award was the second this season for the Hornets. Kylee Kim-Bustillos was named the Big Sky Women's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week in the season's opening week.

Celebrating the 2007 and 2010 Teams

On Sunday, October 1, the Sacramento State women's soccer team will celebrate the 2007 and 2010 squads for their tournament appearances, the only two in program history. Both teams will be recognized on field at half time of Sunday's match.

The 2007 team finished their season 12-4-5, dropping their first tournament match against the top ranked Stanford 7-0. It was the final game for Katie McCoy, who finished her Hornets career third in goals (27), first in assists (22), and second in points (76). McCoy also holds the program record for most goals in a season with 14.

The 2010 Hornets squad became just the second team to ever reach the NCAA tournament, but like the '07 team, fell to the top-ranked Cardinal 3-0. A junior at the time, Savannah Abercrombie tied her career-high with 11 saves against a high-powered Stanford offense that took 42 shots. Abercrombie went on to record a program-record 29 shutouts and 271 saves, second-most in program history.

Kid's Day

Sunday's match against Northern Colorado is a Kids Day at Hornet Field. All children 12 and under will receive free admission to the Hornets' match against the Bears.

Pink Day

Sunday's match against the Bears is also Sacramento State women's soccer's Pink Day. The team will wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.

Extra Time

Sacramento State has played five overtime matches so far this season. Four of those five have gone to double overtime and two of those have ended in a tie. Overall, the Hornets are 1-2-2 in overtime contests, including 1-1 at home. The team is being outshot in extra time 16-14 and outscored 2-1.

Second Half Strong

Sacramento State is outscoring opponents 12-10 through 11 games, but are outscoring them 7-3 in the second period. Before posting back-to-back scoreless outings last weekend, the Hornets outshot Bakersfield 11-5 in the second half of a 3-1 win. All three goals came in the second half.

Goal Tracker

Forward Kylee Kim-Bustillos has scored five goals this season, tying her for third-most ever scored by a freshman with eight games to play. The most goals scored in a single season by a freshman are nine, achieved by the program's all-time leading goal-scorer Paula Guarda in 1994. At her current pace, Kim-Bustillos is on pace for nine total goals this season.

Top 100 RPI

The Hornets entered last weekend ranked 94 in the NCAA's Women's Soccer Division 1 RPI. After their back-to-back draws, that number has fallen to 122. Montana is the highest ranked of the Big Sky teams at 73.