The taste of defeat is an unusual sensation for the Sonoma State University women’s soccer team. The No. 10 Seawolves were shockingly upset by the UC San Diego Tritons in the semifinals of the CCAA championship tournament in Pomona last week.
However, the Seawolves were still able to earn themselves an at-large bid for the NCAA Division II tournament with a No. 3 seed in the West region, after being decided by a selection committee on Monday afternoon.
The Seawolves have now qualified for the tournament three times in the last four years.
Going into the match, Sonoma State boasted the second ranked defense in division II, led by CCAA defensive player of the year, senior Carolyn Greco. Sonoma State has only allowed 0.28 goals per match throughout the entire season.
The Seawolves have only given up five total goals all season long and hadn’t lost in their last 15 matches.
CCAA first-team goalie junior Ashley Luis just had her historic 958-minute scoreless streak broken last week against Cal Poly Pomona.
However, Luis and the Seawolf defense surrendered two goals in the first half against UC San Diego.
The Tritons added another goal in the second half that sealed the victory for UCSD, knocking the Seawolves out of the CCAA playoffs and handing the girls their first loss since September 5th.
“The game plan was basically to go out there and do what we had been doing all year,” said Senior Marissa Marable, who was also given the first team all CCAA nod.
“We knew what we needed to do to beat them, but we ended up having some breakdowns that led to them capitalizing on our mistakes.”
The Seawolves had a shaky start to the match, which led to some uncharacteristic mistakes on defense.
The Tritons’ Kiera Bocchino snuck a goal by Luis in minute 12 to give UC San Diego the early lead.
Just four minutes later, UCSD added their second goal of the day to knock up the score to 2-0.
The Seawolves looked on to the second half to try to get an offensive spark.
Instead, the Seawolves went in reverse and gave up their third goal of the game, when Bocchino was able to score her second goal of the match.
Sonoma State tried to start a furious rally behind their offense, firing 15 shots at the UC San Diego goalkeeper.
But, no improbable comeback was able to gain any steam as the Seawolves were upset by UC San Diego with a final score of 3-0.
The Seawolves tried to keep their heads held high after their disappointing loss to UCSD.
”Even though we did lose, the team fought hard the whole game,” said Marable. “This team is full of heart and dedicated women.”
Marable expressed that one loss cannot sum up the Seawolves’ memorable season.
“This loss does not at all diminish the progress that we have worked hard for this season,” said Marable. “We finished first, only had two losses, went undefeated in league and were only scored on five times. There are so many things this team has accomplished that one loss cannot overshadow.”
UC San Diego went on to beat Stanislaus State in the CCAA championship finale, capturing their ninth CCAA title and gained an automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Championship tournament.
The Seawolves will head south to Azusa to face No. 6 seed Point Loma for the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Sonoma State and Point Loma have only faced each other twice in their respective histories, withthe Seawolves coming out on top, 1-0, both times.
Their match will take place on Thursday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The winner of Thursday’s match will advance to the second round and play Azusa Pacific on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Marable says the team now has their eyes on the ultimate prize.
“We are now focusing on a national championship,” said Marable. “We aren’t done yet.”