Defending CCAA champs seek repeat

In case you haven’t heard, the Sonoma State University Seawolves are the #24 nationally ranked women’s soccer team in the USA. Just this past fall, the Seawolves took the CCAA regional league champions, and earned a NCAA tournament berth for the third time in the past four years. 

With an astounding ‘invincibles like’ record steamrolling into NCAA bracket play last season at 10-0-2, the Seawolves are wasting no time challenging themselves with the season opener at home against the #3 ranked team in the country, Western Washington, this Thursday evening at the Seawolf soccer field, kickoff listed at 5 p.m. 

Just this past week, the Yearly CCAA poll was released, ranking the top teams in the CCAA division. The Seawolves were eclipsed by just one vote short of the oh-so-sweet #1 rank that would have aligned them with the UC San Diego Tritons. 

Freshman forward Sarah Lindborg said, “I’m not to sure how the polling system works, but I do know that we are not too concerned with any outside predictions about our season.” 

With the season approaching, the Sonoma State women’s soccer team has certainly grasped the concept of what it takes to be a champion, following up their tremendous 2015-16 season with a steady diet of off-season training, persistence, and high-octane demands for excellence. It was made very clear by Kristen Spear, sophomore goalkeeper that this team did not simply revel in the spoils of being crowned champions in 2015. 

“Coming off the championship season, the momentum was used to keep the team moving forward, to better prepare the team with consistent work ethic, and desire to win,” said Spear.  

Just this past spring, the Seawolves took on the tough test of playing the U19 U.S. women’s national team for a friendly game hosted in Davis, CA. The team has seen opportunities to think and grow together as the 2016 campaign looms ahead. All things considered, this is not a team that has revelled in the riches of being top of the league. The message was very clear throughout the program--the goal is to get better. So what’s better than an undefeated campaign in 2015? 

“Everyone will agree that our ultimate goal is to be champions. We come into the program knowing that a championship is our ultimate goal and that is what motivates us every day,” said senior captain Taylor Enzler. “Being a champion is not an excuse to not have a good work ethic. Staying champions ensues that you work just as hard, if not harder.” 

Enzler, who has been apart of 3 NCAA DII tournament appearances in her career, has noted that the style of play has not changed over the course of the program’s success. 

“Every year, we get new players and we lose players. The coaching staff has always done a really good job adjusting to our different strengths and talents,” she said. 

A brief visitation of the Seawolves success:  2012: 16-3-2, 2013: 13-5-3,  2014: 14-5-1, leading right back to last years seemingly expected and systematic run at a league title. 

However, 2016 has its fair share of eyebrow-lifting factors to consider. This is a mixed group of young and veteran talent that have adapted the concept of unity and turned that into success. Just a year ago, the team doubled their opponents’ shots on target. On the toes of that statistic, lies an unselfish style of play. The team tripled the amount of assists they dished out compared to their opponents. 

As a team that will be returning it’s three top goal-scorers from last season’s championship run, Kristal Luna, Bella Amyx, and Alex Sifuentes, paired up with some impressive play from contributions from this year’s freshman class Sarah Lindburg, Sam Layman, and Riley West, there seems to be no reason why the 2016 Seawolves will not have their fair say in who will crowned king of the mountain come tournament time.