STILL AT THE TOP
Sacramento State''s 2-1 victory over Portland State keeps the Hornets in control of their own destiny as they enter the final weekend of play in the Big Sky Conference. The owners of a 3-0-1 league record and the only team to not suffer a loss, Sacramento State is off to its best Big Sky start in program history. But as exciting as the start has been, it is the finish that will determine the Hornets'' season. With the top four teams advancing to the postseason tournament, there are still six games from Thursday- Sunday that will determine the regular season finish. Sacramento State sits just ahead of Northern Arizona (3-1-0) and Weber State (3-1-0) who share identical conference records. The other team in the mix is Idaho State (1-2-1) and although the Bengals have just one win, they play the Hornets and Lumberjacks this weekend. If Sacramento State goes 2-0 over the weekend, the team will be crowned Big Sky Conference regular champions and host the postseason tournament, losses could drop Sacramento State out of the top spot and potentially out of the top four.
In 2004, Katie McCoy scored two goals and added two assists in her freshman campaign and was rewarded with second team all-Big Sky honors. The La Mesa, Calif., native has topped last season''s performance with a team-leading six goals and five assists. The 2004 Grossmont HS graduate ranks third in points, goals and assists among the Big Sky scoring leaders. In the last five matches, McCoy has tallied four goals and three assists, while Sacramento State has maintained a five-match unbeaten streak and four-game winning streak during that time frame. The 5-foot-5 forward was also named co-Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week for her two goals against Portland State, giving the Hornets a 2-0 lead entering the second half and eventually ending with Sacramento State''s 2-1 victory on the road.
BREAKING ALL THE RULES
The victory over the Vikings was Sacramento State''s second win on the road this year, dating back to the team''s season-opening 1-0 victory at UC Davis on Aug. 26. It was also the team''s first victory over the Vikings since 2001 and first win in Portland since 1997. The Hornets'' two road victories are the most for the program since 2000 and the team''s seven overall wins (7-6-3) are the most for the program since 2000 as well. The five-match unbeaten streak currently held by Sacramento State also dates back to 2000, while the four-game winning streak is the longest for the program since 1999.
Sacramento State ranks in the top-three of all offensive categories in the Big Sky this season. In 2004, the Hornets put away only 11 goals, but change has come quickly. The Hornetsâ€™ 20 goals this year ranks them third in the conference. On the flipside the defense is ranked second in the league, allowing just 1.31 goals per game. The Hornets have also scored multiple goals in five matches this season and have managed to allow one goal or less from their opponents in 11 of 16 games. The offensive production doesn''t just belong to McCoy. In her last four games, junior Kelly Novak has recorded four goals and one assist, while sophomore Kayelyn Satkowski has added one goal and one assist during that same time frame. The defensive efforts belong to the back line of senior Mandi Siller and Marissa Condren along with freshman Kara Taylor, while junior Maggie Murphy and senior Linda Sanchez have played well on the outside of midfield. Freshman Sarah Howard has also teamed up with senior Amber Dragomir and sophomore Katie Burton in the central midfield, helping direct the flow of the game into the offensive third.
Sacramento State travels to Idaho State (4-10-1, 1-2-1) on Thursday before heading to Weber State on Saturday in a match that could potentially decide the regular season conference champion and host of the postseason tournament. The Bengals are coming off a 1-0 victory over Eastern Washington and are led by Chantal Kim''s two goals and one assist. The Wildcats, last year''s conference champions, are on a three-match winning streak and are led by Linsey McFarland''s eight goals and three assists.