The Sonoma State Seawolves women’s soccer team took to the field Sunday afternoon against UC Santa Cruz in their first game of the year, ultimately overcoming the Slugs in overtime by a score of 4-3.
Though it was only a scrimmage, the game provided a unique opportunity for the coaches to see both returning and new players compete together in a real-game situation.
“The goal of preseason is to have the team come together and create unity. That’s what we’ve been focusing on and I’ve been really proud of how they’ve been doing that,” said Head Coach Emiria Salzmann Dunn.
The Seawolves struck first against the Slugs as newcomer Alicia Mertz slid the ball past the goalie on a cross from senior captain JJ McFarlin in the opening minutes of the game. Not long after, Mertz positioned herself perfectly on a corner kick to score a second goal to give the Seawolves an early 2-0 lead.
However, there would be plenty of goals to be scored in the game as the Slugs answered back with a successful set piece on a corner kick before the half ended to make it a 2-1 game.
After half time, most of the pitch looked quite different with an exodus of new talent showcasing their abilities. Among the newcomers who impressed was freshman Taylor Enzler, who stole the ball practically right after the whistle had finished blowing and scored on a shot from the top of the 18-yard box to put the Seawolves up 3-1.
“It was fun to see all the new players get a chance to start their season off with an exciting game,” said team captain Carolyn Greco. “It was a very physical game and a good test for our team.”
Of course, the game wasn’t over yet as Santa Cruz came back with two goals of their own before the end of regulation play.
The game went to overtime where golden-goal rules were applied, so the first team to score a goal would win the game. Dunn decided to put the original starters into the game for the few minutes it took for them to score.
How many minutes did it take? About two.
Tired from the 90 minutes already behind them as well as another 90 from Saturday’s alumni game, McFarlin didn’t waste any time as she blasted the ball into the net on a pass from Lauren Curtin who got the assist, allowing the team to go home and get some well-deserved rest.
“It was fun to see how excited everyone was to get another goal for the win,” said Greco.
Dunn was equally impressed with the team’s resilience and progress in such a short amount of time.
“From day one, this group of players—all of the returners and all of the newcomers—have been amazing and have worked very hard,” said Dunn. “It’s a group that’s very eager to learn and we’re going to have a very different team than last year. I’ve been really impressed with the commitment and dedication that the players have been showing.”
With such a short pre-season schedule, the Seawolves will have to cram four more scrimmage games before starting the season. However, if you simply can’t wait for the upcoming season’s action, the Seawolves will play Chico in a scrimmage here at Seawolf Soccer Field on Aug. 31 at 2 p.m.
Dunn is looking forward to kicking off the season at San Francisco State on Sept. 13 and has big goals in mind for her team this season.