The Sonoma State University women’s soccer season is officially over. An announcement that many from Noma Nation were not prepared for this early in the postseason. The Seawolves quest for redemption in the NCAA championship tournament was stopped short in a disappointing loss to Azusa Pacific last week.
The No. 17 Seawolves were stunned just over a week ago in the CCAA championship tournament with a loss in the semifinals to UC San Diego after going unbeaten in their previous 15 games. However, they were still able to earn an at large bid as No. 3 seed in the NCAA championship finals.
The Seawolves were able to secure a win in the first round of the tournament against Point Loma, but during the match they suffered a loss they could not make up for.
CCAA defensive player of the year Carolyn Greco was taken down on a vicious foul by a Point Loma defender. Greco suffered a concussion and was not able to suit up for the match against the No. 2 seed Azusa Pacific.
Coach Emiria Salzmann-Dunn said that replacing Greco was nearly impossible as “her leadership goes farther than her play on the field.”
“It was a massive loss. She’s the best defender I have ever seen in all my years around the game of soccer,” said Salzmann-Dunn.
After beating Point Loma 2-0, the Seawolves advanced to the second round to face the No. 2 seed Azusa Pacific Cougars in Azusa.
The Seawolves fell behind early when the Cougars sent in a goal past senior goalkeeper Ashley Luis in minute eight.
The Seawolves’ defense was under fire for the rest of the first half, having to defend an array of shots sent their way by the Cougars high-powered offense.
Sonoma State’s defense held tight for the last 45 minutes, stopping all 14 shots sent their way.
However, the offense was never able to settle in and get the chance to score the equalizing goal. The Seawolves were only able to muster up five shots against the stout Azusa Pacific defense.
The game ended with a score of 1-0 in favor of the Cougars, abruptly ending the Seawolves’ magical season at (14-3-3).
Starting the game slow was a major factor in the Seawolves’ loss to the Cougars.
“Coming out tentative and falling behind in the first eight minutes was really difficult to come back from,” said Salzmann-Dunn.
Even though the Seawolves’ historic season came to a bitter close, the season was highlighted by many accolades that will go down in the Sonoma State record books.
The 2015 team outscored opponents 30-9 over their season and pitched 14 shutouts, including nine in a row. The accomplishments both being program records.
“There is just so much to say about this team,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “This was a hallmark team of dedication that showed remarkable resilience and toughness.”
Coach Salzmann-Dunn said having steady competition between teammates day in and day out was the fuel for having success on the soccer field.
“For 32 players so committed to competition, nothing could tear them apart. Which was very rare for a team that was so competitive,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “They were always ready to bounce back and get to work.”
The Seawolves had nine players earn all CCAA honors, including coach Salzmann- Dunn, who was named Coach of the Year in her fifth season with Sonoma State.
The nine all-conference athletes included four seniors who led the way for the Seawolves.
Coach Salzmann-Dunn said she was spoiled by this senior class and barely had to coach because of their deep connection and commitment to the game.
“They were magnanimous, larger than life. There is no doubt they will leave an impact on this program for years to come,” said Salzmann-Dunn. “I will truly miss them.”
The Seawolves will say goodbye to six seniors that had a memorable four-year run, going 57-16-9 while representing Sonoma State in three NCAA Championship tournaments.