The Sonoma State Seawolves outlasted the Chico State Wildcats 1-0 on a cloudless Saturday afternoon at the Seawolf Soccer Field. It may have been a low-scoring game, but the quickness and intensity of the game kept all of those in attendance at the edge of their seats.
“It’s always good to beat Chico,” said senior Danielle Carr. “It’s a huge rivalry. Even though it was a scrimmage, it felt like a league game.”
The game certainly gave the impression that it was anything but a scrimmage due to both teams’ physical aggression and energy.
With such a solid game both offensively and defensively from both sides, it was up to the goal keepers to determine the final outcome of the game. Both Seawolf keepers, Allison Hadidian and the Star’s very own Tara Funk, were able to stand their ground in the box as Hadidian followed Funk’s perfect first-half with one of her own to complete the shutout.
Chico’s keeper, Sidney Coleman-McNally, also impressed, but the Seawolves found a way to sneak one past her early in the game.
Senior Alicia Mertz, one of the team’s starting forwards, was relentless in her efforts to get the ball in the net. After the opposing keeper made an outstanding block, Mertz was ready on the rebound and, with her back to the net, headed the ball into the top-middle part of the goal resulting in an uproar of cheering from teammates and the crowd.
“I thought it was a great goal,” said Head Coach Emeria Salzmann-Dunn. “The keeper made a really good save, but we reacted to it well, so it showed a lot of focus and fortitude in continuing to attack instead of just stopping at the first attempt.”
It may have been the only goal scored, but the game was definitely far from over as the both teams continued to aggressively push the ball up and down the pitch.
During the second half, Salzmann-Dunn substituted quite a few players—as is expected in a scrimmage game—to give the younger players an opportunity to showcase their abilities and improve the team’s chemistry.
For most of the half, it seemed as though Chico had a slight advantage in terms of possession, but solid defense by the Seawolves proved to be the game-saver.
Hadidian, a freshman who joined the team this semester, took over for Funk in the second half and didn’t disappoint. After having been peppered with shots for most of the half, Hadidian came up with a fantastic save as she leaped up in the air and punched the ball over the goal post to prevent the Wildcats equalizer.
“We have really high hopes for her,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “She obviously has height, and it clearly helped her on that save. It was a really good save.”
The shot blocked by Hadidian proved to be one of the last real scoring opportunities that the Seawolves would allow the Wildcats with the final score of 1-0 as the whistle blew.
There are high hopes for this team after putting together such a spectacular season last year where they took first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and second place in the CCAA Tournament, but the team clearly only has one thing on their mind.
“Get to the CCAA Tournament; get to the NCAA Tournament!” exclaimed teammates Margi Osmundson and Carr simultaneously.
“That’s always our top goal,” said Osmundson. “You want to shoot for the highest thing possible and get farther than last year.”
The Seawolves will look to keep their momentum going as they host the Antelope Valley Marauders on Friday, Sept. 6 at 2 p.m.