SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Senior Kelly Novak put away the game winner in the 84th minute to lead Sacramento State to a 2-1 victory over Eastern Washington on Sunday afternoon at Hornet Soccer Field.
The victory leaves the Hornets (8-6-2) in a three-way tie for second place with Weber State and Montana in the Big Sky standings. Each team holds a 2-1-1 conference record, trailing league-leader, Idaho State (3-1-0) by a half game.
In Sacramento State’s third come-from-behind victory this season, the Hornets erased a the Eagles’ one-goal lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Junior Katie McCoy was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty kick in the 45th minute. The La Mesa, Calif., native took the shot for the Hornets with a blast to the upper left corner, beating goalkeeper Tiera Como.
Como, the 2005 co-Big Sky Defensive MVP, made nine saves on the afternoon, as Sacramento State outshot Eastern Washington 27-5.
The Hornets added the game winner late in the second half when Novak reached the end of a cross in the box. From five yards out, Novak’s first attempt was blocked by Como, but the Clayton, Calif., native was able to one-time the deflection to the back of the net on her second attempt
It was Novak’s fourth goal this season, matching the fourth-year senior’s single-season career high. She has now scored 11 career goals.
Eastern Washington’s Shelly Ikerd gave the Eagles their initial one-goal lead, burying a shot to the upper right corner in the 16th minute. Ikerd scored her fourth goal of the year after breaking free along the left sideline and forcing Hornet goalkeeper Jenny Lawrence off her line. It was the Eagles only shot of the first half.
Sacramento State dominated the match offensively, but struggled to put one past Como in the second half, despite taking 15 shots. In the 63rd minute, Como made a one-handed stop on McCoy at the near post and then denied the Hornets’ second leading goal scorer again in the 79th minute, making a diving save in a one-on-one attempt.
Sacramento State’s eight victories match the program’s win total of a year ago. With three matches remaining on the regular season schedule, the Hornets need just one more victory to match the program’s single-season win total and two victories to reach double digits for the first time in program history.
McCoy, a first team Big Sky selection a year ago, now has 14 career goals for the Hornets, ranking fourth in program history. Her 39 career points are also fourth all-time.
Sacramento State will play its final home match of the season on Friday, Oct. 20, hosting Northern Colorado. Seniors Maggie Murphy, Kelly Novak and Natalia Romo will be honored prior to the game.