WOMEN'S SOCCER HOSTS NEVADA SUNDAY TO OPEN 2012 SEASON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's soccer team kicks off its 2012 season by hosting Nevada at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Hornet Field.
Head coach Randy Dedini, in his sixth year at the helm, and the Hornets start their 17th season in the Big Sky Conference in 2012 and look to improve on last year's 6-9-2 overall record and 2-3-2 league mark.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Sacramento State returns 69 percent of its goals scored and 64 percent of its assists off last year's roster plus six starters and 10 total letterwinners. The roster also features 11 newcomers plus eight players who either redshirted or did not see game action in 2011. The Hornets went 0-1-1 in exhibtion games this year, playing to a 1-1 draw at Pacific and losing 2-0 to the Sacramento Storm of the Women's Premier Soccer League. Sophomore Shelby Salvacion scored the Hornets' lone goal in the preseason.
SCOUTING THE WOLF PACK
Nevada, which is playing in the Mountain West this year, recorded a 2-0 home win over former WAC foe Hawai'i on Friday night in its season opener. Juniors Chelsea Fricke and Kori Disarufino each scored in the first half and the lead held up through the final 45 minutes. Senior goalkeeper Dana Moreno earned the clean sheet win with three saves.
LAST MEETING WITH NEVADA
Last year Sacramento State lost a heartbreaker in Reno, Nev., 2-1 in overtime. In a wild second half, Victoria Ramirez scored shortly after halftime to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead but Nevada's Ellie Stott tied up the game with a goal in the 72nd minute. Niether team broke the tie in regulation and a second overtime period appeared to be certain as only 17 seconds remained in the first overtime, but Kori Disarufino scored after a Sacramento State clearing attempt bounced off a defender to cap the crazy finish. It was one of three games the Hornets lost in overtime or in the final minute of regulation.
HOMESTAND KICKS THINGS OFF
Sacramento State plays 18 games in the regular season but starts with three straight home games to open up the 2012 campaign. After playing the Wolf Pack on Sunday, the Hornets play host to rival UC Davis at 5 p.m. on Aug. 24 and Cal Poly at 1 p.m. on Aug. 26.
MEET THE CAPTAINS
Sacramento State will have three captains this season. Senior forward Jordan Carlberg plus senior midfielders Jessica Castaño and Megan Burg will assume lead roles for the Hornets this year after befing solid contributors in their first three seasons.
Head coach Randy Dedini's biggest objective heading into the 2012 season will be replacing four-year starting keeper Savannah Abercombie. The Sacramento native and El Camino HS grad set a Big Sky and program record with 29 career shutouts. The Hornets have three goalies on the roster this year in senior Shelby Tomasello, sophomore Kimberly Mata and freshman Hannah Gendron. Mata earned the start at Pacific in the first exhibition game while Tomasello played all 90 minutes against the Sacramento Storm in the second and final preseason tune-up.
Senior forward Elece McBride scored game-winning goals in the semifinals and championship game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in 2010, leading the Hornets to their second NCAA Tournament bid in four years. McBride sat out last season and redshirted and her abscence hurt the Hornets on the offensive end. But this year McBride is back and will team up with fellow senior, captain Jordan Carlberg, to give Sacramento State one of the most skilled and experienced front lines in the conference. The pair have combined to score 16 career goals.
By far the strongest area on the field for the Hornets this season will be at midfield, where senior Megan Burg, senior Jessica Castaño, senior Victoria Ramirez and junior Jami Shimada all return after starting in 2011.
Sacramento State signed 11 new players to the 2012 roster, including nine true freshmen and two transfers. Junior midfielder Raylene Larot, who played at Nevada in her first two seasons, gets to face her former team right off the bat in the season opener. Freshmen Maggie Pleis and McKenna Swanson, both graduates of Cedarcrest HS in Duvall, Wash., figure to get plenty of playing time in their rookie years. Sandy, Utah, native Kassidy Kellogg has also been impressive in training camp and looks to be a factor on defense early.
GETTING BACK IN THE MIX
Under head coach Randy Dedini, the Hornets have had just one losing record in Big Sky Conference play. That came last season when Sacramento State finished sixth and missed advancing to the conference tournament. Dedini, who sports a 44-26-16 career record (16-11-8 Big Sky), will have two more teams to beat to climb into the postseason tournament this year. The Big Sky Conference added North Dakota and Southern Utah to league and both have women's soccer teams. Sacramento State will play both newcomers on the road this season.
Sacramento State was picked to finish fifth in the Big Sky Conference preseason coaches poll, in a tie with Northern Arizona. Portland State, Northern Colorado, Montana and Weber State were the top four choices.