After the pizza ran out and the water jugs ran dry at the pregame tailgate, students and alumni joined Seawolves’ Stadium for two action-packed games featuring the men and women soccer teams that left a crowd of 750 spectators wanting more.
Unfortunately, the Seawolves just did not get the results they wanted as the men settled for a 3-3 tie after an equalizing goal from Cal State University Monterey Bay Otters in the 87th minute, and the women were held scoreless in a tight 0-1 loss.
“The fight today was big; not giving up until the end,” said Armando Coronel. “We’ve never come back like that before.”
In the early stages of the men’s game, it looked as though Monterey Bay was going to rain on Sonoma’s homecoming game parade with two early goals in the 10th and 31st minutes to give the Otters a quick 2-0 lead.
However, the Seawolves broke through just before the half in the 40th minute with quite an interesting goal. Evan Filipczyk lobbed a pass over the goalie’s head as Taylor Varnadore screened the goalie in the air and bumped the ball off his chest into the net.
Something must have clicked in the locker room at half-time, because the Seawolves came out swinging as soon as the whistle blew for the second half.
It took Taylor Varnadore just 30 seconds to get down the field to receive a pass from Dylan Stafford and head the ball into the goal to tie the game at 2-2. Thirty seconds.
Just over three minutes later as the Seawolves were about to put yet another goal into the net, Monterey Bay committed a foul inside the box to give the Sonoma an opportunity to take the lead.
“It was awesome,” said head coach Marcus Ziemer. “We came out on fire.”
Nico Spann stepped up to take the penalty kick and successfully blasted the ball into the net as his ecstatic teammates sprinted over to congratulate and jump on him in celebration.
However, with just 21 minutes left to play, the referees decided to administer a red card without a yellow-card warning to Stafford after a rough slide tackle, forcing the Seawolves to adjust their formation and play a man down the rest of the game. There had only been two yellow cards issued before the red card, each to Sonoma State.
The Seawolves played hard until the end, but ultimately couldn’t contain Monterey Bay’s Anthony Velazquez, as he put the goal past Sonoma’s goalie Beau Diaz, who seemed unstoppable in the second half even after the ejection.
“Today was a big game for us,” said Dane Shaffar. “We defended well as a team, but sometimes things happen.”
The equalizer forced the game into overtime, where surprisingly both teams went scoreless for the 30-minute duration to result in a 3-3 tie.
“We showed a lot of character and we were very confident going into in the second half,” said Ziemer. “This group—we’ve had some tough times, but everyone’s working hard and staying together. We’re going to finish strong.”
The women’s team looked to have the momentum, even in the first half where they were out-shot 2-4. However, they just couldn’t convert an opportunity into a goal in the 90 minutes of regulation, and Monterey Bay scored the only goal they would need in the 37th minute.
Alicia Mertz and Cara Curtin both recorded shots on goal, but Friday’s matinee came down to the defense as the ball seemed to remain in the middle two-thirds of the field for most of the duration.
In fact, Sonoma attempted five total shots while Monterey Bay did not do much better with six, proving that shots were hard to come by in this match.
The loyal 250 who stayed until the end were rewarded with an excellent game, despite the 0-1 result.
Overall, game day at Homecoming Fest 2013 was a success. Before hitting the games, students and alumni joined together at Juniper Lawn for a pregame tailgate party complete with pizza from Ameici’s, sandwiches from the Pub, a beer garden, face-paint, games, and prizes like a sweet pair of Seawolves Ray Ban-styled shades and a blanket.
“This is the first year we’ve done it with the students,” said Frank Scalercio, the director of the Sonoma State Athletic Association. “The idea is to bring everyone [students, athletes, and alumni] together, have a great college experience, and enjoy athletics. We’re a small school so it’s great to bring everyone together.”