Rarely could one ever imagine the thought of a game being won by a team that was outshot 16 to 9. Unfortunately, out of those nine shots, Seattle Pacific managed to fire. One of them would be the lone goal that would put an end to a Seawolves’ season defined by late period heroics and games both lost and won by only small margins.
The first period began with the Seawolves on the defensive. Four minutes into the game the Falcons’ All GNAC (Great Northwest Athletic Conference) All-Star Demi Waitley got off the first shot of the game only to miss high. This would happen three more times by Falcons’ Maddie Krauss, Ashley Shaw and Alexa Diaz, whose shot was staunchly defended by CCAA All-Tournament Seawolf goalkeeper Allison Hadidian.
Roughly 15 minutes later, mid-fielder Melissa Lafranchi would make the first assault on the goal for the Seawolves which would blocked by GNAC Most Valuable Player goalkeeper Natalie Harold. The Seawolves continued their attempts on the goal with shots from Kristal Luna, Lauren Fryer, Alicia Mertz and the Curtin sisters, which would give SSU momentum going into the second half.
The Sonoma State Women’s Soccer team entered the NCAA Division II Western Regionals to bring the National Championship back to Rohnert Park for the first time since 1990. In the beginning of the second period it appeared that the Seawolves were demonstrating the potential to do just that.
Five minutes into the period the Seawolves were in complete control of the ball. Fryer and Lafranchi both managed to fire off a couple of shots at the goal. Then trying to repeat her heroic tying goal in the CCAA tournament game against Cal State University San Bernardino was forward Margi Osmundson, who took a hard shot on the goal but unfortunately none of the three would manage to sneak one in past the stout Harold.
After the block by Harold, the Falcons took control of the ball in Seawolf territory. Seconds later a penalty on the Seawolves resulted in a corner kick by Diaz. Josie Graybeal managed to get control of the kick and sent a header at the Seawolves’ goal that was blocked by keeper Hadidian.
Two minutes later, SPU’s Kaylie Winston served a long ball into an open area in the goal box. A Seawolf defender made a valiant effort to protect the ball as it rolled toward Hadidian, but was stopped short as Hannah Huesers stole it and with an easy tap in, would eventually be enough to seal the deal as the Seawolves lost 1-0.
Although SSU will be losing seniors Cara Curtin, JJ McFarlin, Mertz, Danielle Carr, Shayla Mellenthin and Lauren Fryer, they will have a very talented and experienced group going into next year’s season.
“They always battle and never give up,” said Coach Emiria Salzmann-Dunn earlier this month. “JJ [Mcfarlin] has her heart on her sleeve in every game she plays.”
If the full squad returns next year, Salzmann-Dunn will have freshman sensation Hadidian who played goalkeeper like an experienced senior. Also returning would be junior Lauren Curtin, who had 25 points in CCAA regulation which placed her third in the entire conference leaderboard. Sophomores Lafranchi and Osmundson each scored five goals apiece in regular season tying with one another at 12th on the leader board.
“Kristal Luna has been outstanding for us this season,” said Salzmann-Dunn of the sophomore back a few weeks ago. “Those are the kind of players you want to add to your team culture.”
With this wealth of talent and a handful of ambitious red shirt freshmen, the 2014 Sonoma State Women’s soccer program has the potential to not only build upon the success of the 2013 team, but could have the potential to go even farther with all the playoff experience these girls have developed. Unfortunately for fans, those questions cannot start being answered until next August.