SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sunday's matinee against the Montana Grizzlies was the season finale for the Sacramento State women's soccer team. Although the Hornets fell to the Grizzlies, 3-1, the afternoon was capped by a goal from departing senior Caitlin Prothe.
Prothe was one of three seniors recognized before the start of Sunday's action, including Sarah Sherwood and Allie Zwerling. Joined by their family and friends - and in Sarah's case, her dog! - the trio took turns crossing the field while celebrated by their teammates, coaches, and fans.
It was fitting, as well, that Prothe teamed up with Zwerling to give Sacramento State their only goal of the afternoon in the 85th minute.
Zwerling played a great ball from just across midfield up ahead to the charging Prothe. As she, a Montana defender, and the Montana keeper, charged in on the ball, Prothe managed to get a foot on it as the keeper slide toward the ball. It tipped slowly over the keeper and, on two bounces, skipped into the far corner of the goal.
The goal was the fifth of the season for Prothe, matching her career high. Four of her five goals this season came against conference opponents. For Zwerling, the assist was her first of the year.
Unfortunately, that was the only goal Sunday for the Hornets, while Montana scored three of their own. Sacramento State fell behind early, 1-0, on a Montana penalty kick after a hand-ball in the box in the 8th minute.
That deficit doubled in the 15th minute and became a three-goal difference in the 63rd.
Despite the goal difference, Sacramento State actually led the Grizzlies in total shots, 15-13, while trailing, just 2-1, in corner kicks.
Kaylyn Evans started the match in goal for the Hornets, but was pulled after a collision with an attacking Montana player in the 41st minute. With second and third options Ailey Collins and Aaliyah Fesili sidelined for Sunday's match, it was sophomore forward Tiffany Miras who put on the black jersey and gloves for the remainder of the game.
Miras allowed one goal but made three saves in her debut at goalkeeper, much to the excitement of her teammates.
As was the case for most of the season, Sunday's match was another physical one. On an inconsistent afternoon, the Hornets and Grizzlies piled up 28 total fouls.
Sacramento State also picked up three yellow cards in the match, one on each Aubrey Goodwill, Allie Zwerling, and Skylar Littlefield. The Hornets came into Sunday's match with 23 yellows, the second most in the nation. With three more Sunday, they are tied with Oregon State for most yellow cards in all of NCAA Div. I.
For the season, nine different players scored a goal for Sacramento State, led by Prothe with five. Four others scored two or more. In total, seven of the nine players to score this season were underclassmen.
For the first time in four seasons, the Hornets did not qualify for the conference's postseason tournament. Sacramento State wraps the season with a 3-13-2 overall record and a 2-6 mark in Big Sky competition.
In a season marked by multiple season-ending and season-impacting injuries, including all three goalkeepers, defenders Christina Lazar and Aubrey Goodwill, co-captain Prothe, and last year's leading scorer Kylee Kim-Bustillos, among others, Sacramento State scored just six points in conference play, it's fewest since 2004.
Despite the tough 2018 campaign, the Hornets roster is composed of 17 underclassmen, all of which saw significant time this season and will be instrumental in the coming seasons.