|SSU women reach national soccer rankings
Seawolves step into league play ranked No. 17 in Div. II coaches poll, on road this weekend at Monterey, East Bay
Sonoma State’s women’s soccer team is back in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Div. II Top 25 poll for the first time since 2008.
A pair of convincing victories over Grand Canyon and Dixie State last weekend at the Dixie State College Soccer Kickoff Classic in St. George, Utah helped get them there.
The Seawolves will head into the first weekend of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play as the 17th-ranked team in the nation. SSU is on the road at Cal State Monterey today (Sept. 7) for a 12:30 p.m. game and will travel to Hayward on Sunday for an 11:30 a.m. match against Cal State East Bay.
The last time SSU was ranked in the Top 25 was on Oct. 7, 2008; the Seawolves were ranked 23rd that week after being ranked as high as No. 7 just two weeks earlier.
Led by second-year head coach Emiria Salzmann Dunn, SSU got off to a blazing start in last Thursday's season-opener against Grand Canyon. It took just 5:47 to score the first goal of the season, then the Seawolves cruised the rest of the way, en route to an impressive 4-1 win over the Antelopes, who are coming off of a 9-6-3 record in 2011 and their first NCAA postseason appearance in their 16-year history.
Two days later, SSU netted a pair of goals against host Dixie State and was just 17 seconds from posting a shutout win, but a Red Storm goal in the final moments that nixed shutout, the Seawolves earned the 2-1 victory to open the 2012 campaign at 2-0-0.
Senior Sara Studer and junior Cara Curtin propelled SSU offensively, scoring two goals apiece. In fact, both of Curtin's goals were scored in the first 18 minutes of the season (in the 4-1 win over GCU).
Seniors Ashley Martin and Elena Catania also netted goals last weekend, and Martin also assisted on two other goals. Defensively, senior Alexis Sciacqua has been outstanding between the posts, making nine saves on 16 shots faced, allowing just two goals, one of which was a successful penalty kick.
SSU, which was picked in a preseason vote of the league's coaches to finish second in the CCAA North Division this season and to make an appearance in the conference tournament, just barely missed a spot in last year's CCAA tournament, finishing with an 8-7-3 overall record in Salzmann Dunn's first season at the helm of the program in 2011.
It was a four-win improvement from the season prior and it was also the first winning season since 2008. In the last 16 matches that Salzmann Dunn has coached, the Seawolves are 10-4-2, dating back to Sept. 16, 2011.
Three other CCAA schools are listed in the Top 25 poll, including North Division rivals Chico State (No. 3) and Cal State Stanislaus (No. 13). UC San Diego, a member of the conference's South Division, is 25th this week.
The Seawolves will return to Rohnert Park for their regular season home opener on Friday, Sept. 14, when they host San Francisco State at 4 p.m. at the Seawolf Soccer Field.