By Bryan Stauffer
Behind the leg of CCAA Newcomer of the Year Cara Curtin, Sonoma State defeated Cal Poly Pomona, 4-2, in the first round of the CCAA women’s soccer semifinals Friday in Carson.
Curtin put the Seawolves up 3-1 in the 62nd minute after a nifty move around the defender led to a chip shot goal passed Bronco Goalkeeper Sarah Rohman.
With only 11 minutes left of regulation, the Broncos answered back as second-year midfielder Alison Sauve hit a side netting long shot for her third goal of the season.
But Curtin once again prevailed for the Seawolves as she drilled a shot from 20 yards out that found the back of the net, putting SSU up a comfortable 4-2, which clinched the victory for the number one seeded Seawolves.
The loss snapped the Broncos’ program record 11-game undefeated streak, and marked their first loss since Sept. 21 against UC San Diego.
Despite the loss, Sauve said the Broncos left it all out on the field against the nationally ranked Seawolves.
“I think we put our best efforts in,” said Sauve. “Sonoma is a good team, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I think there were areas of improvement, but we all had a good effort put forth and at the end of the day, I think that’s all you can do.”
Although the Broncos got out to an early lead with a goal in the 11th minute from All CCAA Second Team honoree Samantha Stiles, SSU responded with a goal just three minutes later off the foot of midfielder Margi Osmundson.
Entering Friday’s game, Sauve said the Broncos were focused on coming out hot following their 5-0 loss to SSU back on Sept. 16.
“That was our goal, to come out and score one on them first,” said Sauve. “We accomplished that, so it’s always nice to get done what your goal is.”
A week after the team’s first loss to SSU, they took on UC San Diego in a match that turned out to be the team’s pivotal turning point in the season.
Sauve said it was during a halftime meeting against the Tritons that the Broncos decided to kick things into gear.
“We just decided that there is no point in not going for [playoffs],” said Sauve. “We were 0-4 at that point, and we were just like, ‘lets just go for this, there is nothing stopping us'” That was a really big turnaround because at that point, we decided we were going to stop playing for ourselves, personally, and play for each other as a team.”
Head coach Isabelle Harvey said the Broncos came out with a totally different attitude in comparison to their first matchup against the Seawolves.
“Because we’ve grown so much as a team, we knew that we would give a different fight,” said Harvey. “We didn’t really dwell on the past. For us, it’s moving forward and taking one game at a time.”
And the Broncos have done exactly that. Since their losses against SSU and UC San Diego, they have won eight of their last 12 matches and outscored opponents 27-10, including Friday’s loss to SSU.
SSU entered play as the winners of the North Division title with a record of 15-2-1 and, although the Broncos were heavy underdogs, Harvey said the team did not shy away from competing with the Seawolves.
“It’s almost like we were comfortable to be uncomfortable,” said Harvey. “We say that a lot, it’s like we like to be uncomfortable.”
Harvey added that regardless of the turnout on Friday, she was elated with the team’s performance.
“This is a great group, a good team and good team chemistry,” said Harvey. “I’m very happy with the team and I’m so proud of everyone.”
The NCAA tournament begins Friday.
At press time, the fate of the Broncos’ playoff hopes was not yet released by CCAA officials.
Courtesy Tom Zasadzinski
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