Women’s soccer team fall in second round of NCAA Championship Tournament

The season for the Sonoma State University women’s soccer team has come to an end, as it played its final matchups over the weekend. 

After hearing the news that they had advanced into the NCAA playoffs, despite losing to No. 3 UC San Diego in the CCAA Final, the Seawolves were eager to get on the field and play in the first round against California Baptist. Sonoma State finished with an overall record of 15-5-1 and with a ranking of No. 25 in the nation.

 The Seawolves embarked on an adventure as they headed up to Bellingham, Washington to play their first match in the NCAA division II Championship Tournament on Thursday. In the first round of the tournament, Sonoma faced California Baptist who held a record of 11-5-3 on the season. After a scoreless first half due to an increased effort on the defensive end, both teams came out in the second half knowing the first goal would be crucial. 

Sarah Lindborg, sophomore forward, was able to score for the Seawolves on a header over the goalie’s head, which Madison Watts assisted. There were very few shots on goal in the game, as Sonoma State had five and California Baptist had four. With this victory for the Seawolves, they advanced to the second round where they would face the defending National Champions, Western Washington. 

Sonoma State knew it would face the most trying match of the season as it faced the Western Washington Vikings, a team that had only one loss and a record of 18-1-0. In the 35th minute of the match, Grace Eversaul, the Vikings‘ freshman midfielder, sent a low ball from the top of the box into Sonoma State’s net for the 1-0 lead. 

Western Washington made its second goal as Karli White, junior forward/midfielder, shot from 18 yards out and hooked the ball into the near post in the 64th minute of the game. The Seawolves’ goalie, Kristen Spear, was able to get a touch on the ball but it wasn’t enough to divert it off frame.

Although Spear had an impressive eight saves in the match, it wasn’t enough to keep up with the relentless Vikings. The Seawolves were unable to keep up with the Vikings and put points on the board as the final score was 2-0. As the clock ran out, the Seawolves knew they had left everything they had on the field and held their heads high with pride as they had made it into the NCAA playoffs.      

 “I think I have improved on my communication with my other forwards and just my awareness. I’ve learned more about the game and how to improve my game. In the offseason, I think we need to focus on just working on the little things and make sure we are doing those well,” freshman forward Alexis Espitia said. 

Unfortunately for the Seawolves, the loss against No. 7 Western Washington was an immediate elimination from the NCAA championship tournament and their season had come to a close. Although the team will be losing their six seniors after graduation, next season looks promising for Sonoma State. With their superb team chemistry and love for the game, viewers should expect to sit back, relax and enjoy another rollercoaster season in 2018 – the Seawolves will be nothing less than prepared and ready to fight.

“I think our team did a great job about growing from our losses. Every time we lost in the season we came back stronger,” said junior midfielder Bella Amyx. “That was huge because it gave us momentum in the postseason and we didn’t dwell on the mistakes. I think moving forward we need to focus on putting together a full 90 [minutes]. All the games we lost this season were lost in the last few minutes or in overtime, with the exception of Western Washington. Once we can play a full 90 [minutes], I think we will really become unstoppable.”