SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's soccer team kicks off the regular season this weekend as they travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in the UNLV Invitational. Friday's match against UC Santa Barbara will start at 4 pm PT and Sunday's match against the host Rebels will start at 1 pm PT.
How To Watch
Live stats for Sacramento State's Friday match against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos will be available online by visiting HornetSports.com. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter, @SacStWSoccer.
Sunday's match vs. host team, the UNLV Rebels, may stream online. Live stats will be available online by visiting HornetSports.com. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter, @SacStWSoccer.\
Up to the minute news and links can be found by visiting the 2018 Women's Soccer Schedule online at HornetSports.com.
About Last Season
Sacramento State battled to an 8-8-4 overall record and a 3-3-4 mark in Big Sky competition last season, clinching the number six seed in the 2017 Big Sky Postseason Tournament. Their four draws were the most ever for the Hornets in conference play in program history.
The Hornets averaged more than a goal per game, in large part thanks to scoring leader Kylee Kim-Bustillos, who led the team with 11 goals. Defensively, Sacramento State posted an 0.99 goals against average while shutting out their opponent six times.
The 2017 season came to an end for the Hornets in the first round of the Big Sky postseason tournament in Cheney, Washington as they fell 2-0 to the No. 3 seeded Northern Colorado.
Sacramento State played two preseason exhibition matches this year, one on the road and one at home, to help prepare for the regular season. The Hornets played to a scoreless draw over three 30-minute periods on the road against San Jose State before tying with Cal, 1-1, at home.
Between the two contests, Sacramento State used 21 of the 24 players on the roster, making sure as many players as possible were able to experience game action before the start of this weekend's season-opening tournament in Las Vegas.
The Sacramento State women's soccer team named three team captains for the 2018 season: senior midfielder Caitlin Prothe, junior midfielder Mikayla Reed, and junior goalkeeper Kaylyn Evans. Prothe was named to the 2018 all-Big Sky First team while Reed was named to the second team. Evans is the senior-most goalkeeper on a team that has traditionally relied heavily on defense.
With last season's trip to the Big Sky Tournament, Sacramento State made it three straight years with a postseason appearance. That streak matches the program record for most consecutive seasons in the postseason (last, 2005-07).
Since its start in 1994, the Sacramento State women's soccer team has never advanced to four straight postseason tournaments. With a strong 2018 season, the Hornets could break that record this season.
Sacramento State returns three players to the 2018 roster who were named all-conference last season. Caitlin Prothe and Kylee Kim-Bustillos were both honored as first team all-conference while Mikayla Reed was named to the second team.
A Young Squad
The Hornets come into the 2018 season with just three seniors on the roster, including Caitlin Prothe, one of the team's captains. In total there are just eight uppserclassmen on the roster. There are 13 sophomores, though three of them - Kylee Kim-Bustillos, Christina Lazar, and Aaliyah Fesili - were all starters while five others saw significant playing time as freshmen. In addition, the roster includes three freshmen.
Sacramento State's defense was one of the best in the conference last year, posting a 0.99 goals against average, fourth lowest in the Big Sky. Returner Aaliyah Fesili led the way in goal, playing in a team-high 16 matches while posting a 7-6-3 record and an 0.84 goals against average, third best in program history. Graduated seniors Chelsea Arnold and Kylee Smith anchored the backline, though sophomore defender Christina Lazar led the entire team with 1,843 minutes played.
Big Sky Preseason Poll
The Sacramento State women's soccer team was picked fifth in the 2018 preseason Big Sky Coaches' Poll. The Hornets received 50 points in the poll, finishing just one point behind fourth-place Northern Arizona (51). They are seven points ahead of the sixth-place program, Portland State (43).
Defending regular season Big Sky champion Eastern Washington was picked to repeat by the conference's coaches, garnering 78 points and eight first place votes. Northern Colorado just edged Montana for the number two spot, totaling 69 points and one first place vote. Montana, who also received one first place vote, collected 66 points.
Kylee Kim-Bustillos led the team in both goals (11) and assists (4). Her 11 goals were the most ever scored by a freshman in Hornets women's soccer history and were tied for fifth most scored in a season by any player. She was named the Big Sky's Newcomer of the Year for her dominant performance. She was also voted the team's Offensive Player of the Year and Team MVP while being named the Big Sky's Offensive Player of the Week once.
Aaliyah Fesili took over in goal during the fourth match of the season and was excellent. She allowed just 14 goals while making 54 saves in 16 matches. Her 0.84 goals against average was the third best in a single season in program history. Fesili was named the Big Sky's Defensive Player of the Week once after posting back-to-back shutouts on the road at Idaho and Eastern Washington.
Lazar helped anchor an incredible back line, starting all 20 matches and playing a team-high 1,843 minutes. She contributed to a defense that posted an 0.99 goals against average and six shutouts. She was named the team's Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with veteran defender Chelsea Arnold.