SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State women's soccer team (6-5-2, 1-1-2) came into Sunday's matinee match at Hornet Field looking for back-to-back conference wins but fell short, dropping their match 1-0 to the University of Northern Colorado (8-5, 2-2).
The energy was high on a windy day at Hornet Field as Sacramento State welcomed not just its opponent to the pitch, but also alumni from the 2007 and 2010 Big Sky championship teams. Those two squads are the only two in program history to make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately, it was a different story for the women's team on the field as it fell behind the UNC Bears 1-0 in the 15th minute of play. The Bears set up a nice cross by Maddie Roberts and, although the Hornets had an opportunity to break up the play, the ball settled in front of Braden Brooke, who struck home her fourth goal of the year from just 15 yards out.
In total, the Bears took just three shots in the first half, with all three on frame. The Hornets took eight shots in the first, also putting three on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net.
The second half featured fewer shots than the first as play turned more physical and defensive. The Bears took just one shot in the entire 45-minute half, missing wide, while the Hornets took six. Three of those six were on goal, but UNC's Madeline Burdick was a perfect 6-6 in save chances.
Alyssa Baena, who played just 14 minutes in the match, made the most of her time, taking two shots (one on goal) and putting consistent pressure on the UNC back line. Freshman Kylee Kim-Bustillos continued to take shots, as well, leading the team with four (two on goal).
The Hornets had an excellent opportunity as the clock ran down in the final minute. With 89:34 on the clock, senior Chelsea Arnold sent a corner kick into the scrum in front of the UNC net. After a deflection, the ball came down to Christina Lazar, whose strike missed just high by inches.
Despite allowing the game's only goal, Aaliyah Fesili made two other saves and continues to impress in the net. The freshman has allowed just three goals in the team's last seven games while posting a 0.60 GAA for the season.
The match saw three yellow cards - one to UNC and two to Sacramento State - all in the second half. Sacramento Sate was tagged for 15 fouls while Northern Colorado committed just seven.
Today's loss is the team's first in conference and their first in four matches (last loss, Sept. 15 at Cal Poly).
The women's squad will be back in action on Friday, October 6 as they travel north to take on Montana. The two teams have nearly identical records as Montana will enter that match 6-5-2 (1-1-1). Kick off is set for 2:00 PM PST.