The Sonoma women’s soccer team kicked off their 2013 season with a 7-0 blowout against the Antelope Valley Marauders on Saturday.
In heat exceeding 90 degrees, the Seawolves wasted no time putting three quick goals on the board within the first 15 minutes of the game—two of those goals coming within the first two minutes.
“We felt really good and we were prepared today,” said starting forward Alicia Mertz. “Games like this early in the season can give you confidence for the rest of the season.”
Mertz recorded her first career hat trick in the game, scoring her first goal from 20 yards out on a breakaway, just seconds after Lauren Curtin opened the scoring with a 44th-second goal of her own. Mertz scored again in the 16th-minute before securing her hat trick in the second half on a cross from Lauren Fryer, who recorded three assists in the game.
The Seawolves dominated possession of the ball throughout the game and only allowed the Marauders one shot on goal that came in the second half, giving goal keeper Tara Funk the only save for her team compared to the opposing goal keeper’s 18.
Saturday’s win really came down to physical conditioning and the Seawolves had clearly come prepared.
“Well that’s [physical fitness] sort of our bread and butter,” said Head Coach Emeria Salzmann Dunn. “Physical fitness breeds mental fitness as well; when you have confidence and you’re not worried about every touch, you can have a much more creative game.”
The Seawolves’ defenders scarcely allowed the ball to come onto their side of the pitch, especially in the first half where they allowed zero shots and conceded only one corner kick.
Offensively, ‘Noma kept the pressure on Antelope Valley with 30 shots on goal in the first half alone and almost matched that number in the second half with 27.
With 57 shots in the game, one might have expected an even larger scoreline this game, but whether it was the heat or the fact that some balls missed by mere inches, fans were forced to settle for just seven goals.
“It’s great when you have games like this to start a season,” said Mertz. “As a player, when you see the ball hit the back of the net over and over again, it’s like it starts to become habit, which gives you confidence.”
The second half brought on even more action than the first, Mertz scored her third goal to seal her first career hat trick, Fryer racked up three assists, and the substitutes would not go unheard as they tacked on two goals of their own before the final whistle blew.
“We scored a lot of great goals and I was able to play a lot of people,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “I was pleased to see that we could still be productive even though we were switching up players and formation. That was helpful because now we know that we can still be successful even if we have to make adjustments.”
Senior Cara Curtin came into the game and scored soon after on a cross from the selfless Fryer, who played a part in three of the four goals that came in the first 17 minutes of the second half.
Sophomore Gabby Squarcia put the team’s final goal into the net with only four minutes to go in the 90 minutes of play. She received a cross from Anna Martin and belted it into the goal from five yards out.
There’s no rest for the wicked as the Seawolves look ahead to a challenging game against California Baptist on Tuesday at noon at Seawolf Soccer Field.
“Tuesday is a big, big game for us,” said Dunn.
“Cal Baptist is a very, very well-respected, high-quality program with a huge amount of success in the past few years. We’ve never played them before and we’re looking forward to it; we’ll be ready come Tuesday.”