Seawolves split CCAA Championship road series

With six minutes remaining in the CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association) Semi-Finals, it didn’t feel like the 17th ranked Sonoma State Women’s Soccer team was quite ready to concede their season. The game had only been marked by a goal in the last dwindling moments of the first half by CSU San Bernardino’s All CCAA Second-Team mid-fielder Carissa Kutkowski.

With some fancy footwork, SSU’s mid-fielder Margi Osmundson juked a defender out of her shoes, and then released a missile from the far right corner past CCAA’s Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Year Chelsey Jones to put the game at 1-1. This would only be the beginning of what would be a rollercoaster weekend for the Seawolves.

After a wild second period, the first period of overtime was met with a high level of defense. Both teams combined only to muster out two shots for the entire ten minutes with one shot from Coyotes’ forward Kiana Quarles and one from Seawolves’ CCAA Honorable Mention Kristal Luna. 

Two minutes into the second period of overtime, Osmundson nearly mirrored her second period regulation heroics, but was stopped by a more vigilant Jones. Four minutes later mid-fielder Gabby Squarcia made her attempt on the goal only to be thwarted by another strong save by Jones, but this would not be Squarcia’s last. With nearly one minute to go, Squarcia made a last-ditch effort soft kick from the left post to score the winning goal and end the Coyote’s first ever playoff appearance with a 2-1 final score. 

“We just wanted to make sure to keep the energy high after Margi’s [Osmundson] goal,” said Squarcia in her interview with sonomaseawolves.com. “We had the momentum going into overtime so we wanted to continue to keep the pressure on them.” 

This momentum carried them over to the CCAA Championship against number five ranked CSU Stanislaus for their third matchup of the year. CSU Stanislaus became the first team to go undefeated in regular season, and have the most players on the CCAA All-Conference team since Sonoma State did it themselves back in 1998.  These matches were not easy for either team with a 2-2 tie at Sonoma State, and a 1-0 squeaker won by the Warriors at their own domain. 

The first half began with the same momentum the Seawolves demonstrated against the CSU San Bernardino. At only 37 seconds into the game, the CCAA All-Conference Curtin sisters were on the offensive. Lauren fired the first shot and only seconds later her sister Cara would boot another one, but neither were enough to get past All CCAA Second-Team keeper Chelsea Lewandowski. 

For the near entirety of the first half the Seawolves also managed to keep the potent Warriors offense behind their own trenches by allowing only one shot by CCAA Most Valuable Offensive Player Karenee Demery. The shot was subsequently blocked by Seawolves goal-keeper Allison Hadidian who had been fighting an illness prior to the game. 

“Allison’s been doing fantastic this year just as a freshman,” said Squarcia. “She’s been put in this tough position, and still comes through when we need her most.” 

“You want players to add to culture of your organization, and Allison has really stepped up as a freshman,” said Coach Emiria Salzmann Dunn in an interview with sonomaseawolves.com. 

The Seawolves managed to maintain this impenetrable defense until midway through the second half when the Warriors began to flex that number five ranking. After a collision with Demery, Hadidian was issued a yellow card that set up a penalty kick. 

Katelyn Nebesnick took the shot and scored the first goal of the game. This put her as the leader in converted penalty kicks with CSU Dominguez Hills’ Melanie Desalvo with two on the year.

After a shot attempted by C. Curtin only a minute later, the Seawolves were mostly on the defensive with eight shot attempts by the Warriors. With 37 seconds left in the game, Kirstin Coleman kicked in the insurance goal to put an end to the Seawolves’ pursuit for a CCAA Championship putting the final score at 2-0. 

“In our own conference we played one of the best teams in the country,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “It hurts to lose a championship, but if we’re going to move on, you need these games to make you stronger going into the NCAA Tournament.”

The Seawolves qualified for the tournament at 5:30 p.m. last night and will head up to Seattle to square off against Great Northwest Athletic Conference Champion and number six seed Seattle Pacific. The game will take place Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Orca Field on the campus of Whatcom Community College.

For their heroics from the CCAA Semi-Finals, Osmundson, Squarcia, Hadidian, and  Shayla Mellenthin were all named to the CCAA All-Tournament Team.