The playoff-bound, 18th ranked Sonoma State Seawolves travelled to Pioneer Stadium for the last time this season to finish up their series against California State East Bay. Before the game, a ceremony took place honoring East Bay’s senior players Donna Williams, Shannon Fontes, and Katie Brawley. CSU East Bay also took the time to honor SSU’s own seniors Cara Curtin, J.J. McFarlin, Danielle Carr, Alicia Mertz, Shayla Mellenthin, and Lauren Fryer in front of the 183-person crowd.
“It is always so bittersweet to conduct these ceremonies,” said CSU East Bay coach Amy Gerace. “All of our seniors have played four years, and although it’s nice to honor them, it’s sad to see them go.”
During the first period the Seawolves appeared to be in complete possession of the ball. They managed to fire off 16 shots while managing to keep the Pioneers from taking any shots. With two seconds left in the period, Gabby Squarcia made the first goal in a fashion that would make Rube Goldberg proud. It began with a corner kick followed by an attempt at the goal by Lauren Curtin. The attempt then bounced off of Pioneer goalie Williams back to Curtin, who then passed to an open Squarcia to squeeze off the first goal of the game with two seconds left.
“Lauren is a huge help out on the field,” said senior forward Mertz. “She can easily make those tough goals, but unselfishly passes to whoever is more open on big plays like that.”
The second half began with many substitutions from both sides. Being wary of the upcoming playoffs, the Seawolves wanted to be competitive while making sure to adequately rest the girls who have been enduring the rigors of a long season.
“It’s nice to be able to tool up and rest some girls this late in the season,” said junior Carolyn Greco and senior Carr. “Since we clinched a [playoff] berth, it gives us more breathing room going into the end of the season.”
The Seawolves continued to be in control for most of the second half. Eight minutes into the half, Mertz managed to boot the second goal of the game with a huge left cross pass from Curtin. Seven minutes after that, Curtin made a goal of her own after a pass from Carr that gave her a one on one match with East Bay goalkeeper Williams.
In the middle of the second half, the Pioneers managed to gain a burst of life with a score by junior Ariana Gordon after a pass from sophomore Danielle Cummings making her first goal of the season.
“We have a very young team on the field,” said coach Gerace. “They respond well to leadership from the seniors. It will be enjoyable coaching them these next few years.”
The Seawolves responded to the goal by tightening up their defense for the remainder of the game. The final score resulted in a 3-1 victory as the Seawolves played spoiler to CSU East Bay’s “Senior Night.”
“Anyone can beat anybody in our conference,” said coach Emiria Salzmann-Dunn. “These games get tricky when you play teams that can be spoilers.” Sonoma State finished their last game at Humboldt State on Sunday with a 2-0 victory. On Friday the Seawolves will drive down to CSU Stanislaus to compete in the CCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament against number two seed CSU San Bernardino.
“Consistency has always been an issue of ours,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “Best thing we can do is keep sharp and always try to strengthen all aspects of our game.”
There is no better way for the Seawolves to prove their consistency then against the best teams in the conference. This tournament will show everyone including this group of Seawolves, how much of their game will be left on the field.