KEMPER LEADS WOMEN'S SOCCER TO 1-0 VICTORY AT PSU; HORNETS CLINCH BIG SKY TOURNAMENT BERTH
PORTLAND, Ore. - Kim Kemper''s goal in the 30th minute led Sacramento State to a 1-0 victory over Portland State and clinched the Hornets their second consecutive berth in the Big Sky postseason tournament on Friday night at PGE Field.
Sacramento State improves to 10-7-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the Big Sky Conference, posting the program''s best overall record in its 13-year history. Head coach Katie Poynter took over the program in 2004 and began to revamp the team, bringing in three straight top-rated recruiting classes. A year ago, Sacramento State finished a program-best second in the Big Sky standings and advanced to the postseason tournament for the first time since 2001.
"We are really proud to have been able to achieve a 10-win season for the first time in program history," Poynter said. "Our staff, players, parents, and everyone involved with the program have given the team 100 percent support, and that is a great feeling. Our players work extremely hard on and off the field, and we are proud to surpass the record of some of Sacramento State''s best soccer teams of the past.
With the victory over the Vikings, Sacramento State moves into second place in the standings with 13 points and Idaho State clinches the title with a 5-1-0 league record (15 points), despite having one regular season match remaining at Weber State on Saturday. The postseason tournament will be held in Pocatello with the semifinal matches taking place on Friday, Nov. 3 and the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 5.
Portland State (4-13-1, 4-3-0), currently third in the league standings, is still in the hunt for the final two tournament berths along with Weber State, Montana and Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks are at Northern Colorado on Saturday, and Montana is at Eastern Washington on Sunday. The Hornets hold tiebreakers over Weber State and Portland State.
"Getting to the tournament this year is very different compared to last year," Poynter said. "I believe our success even suprised us last season. We were young, and just happy to make the postseason. This year, we had an extremely tough non-conference schedule, and worked very hard in the offseason with a focus of getting back to the tournament. We aren''t suprised this year. We worked extremely hard to get where we are, and we are ready to fight for a Big Sky Tournament Championship."
Kemper, a 2006 graduate of Bella Vista High School, buried her third goal of the season (second game winner) heading in a Katie McCoy free kick from 10-yards out.
McCoy took the free kick from about 30 yards out following a Viking foul. She lobbed a kick into the 18-yard box and Kemper headed it in past Viking freshman goalkeeper Cris Lewis.
McCoy continues to lead the team with six assists, matching her career high. A first-team conference selection a year ago, McCoy''s 14 career assists rank second in program history.
Portland State’s best scoring opportunity of the night came in the 23rd minute when Hornet freshman goalkeeper Mandy Trojan covered a loose ball outside the 18-yard box, giving the Vikings a free kick from just 10 yards out on the right wing. However, junior defender Juli Edwards’ kick sailed just high of the goal.
Sacramento State held a 19-9 advantage in shots on the evening. Trojan made three saves during the match.
Sacramento will have to wait for their semifinal opponent at next week''s Big Sky postseason tournament depending on the weekend''s results.
"Our focus right now is the semifinal on Friday night, because to us, that is the only game that matters right now," Poynter said.