18 Oct Sac State women’s soccer escapes with a 1-0 win against Idaho State
Abigail Lopez’s game-winner keeps Hornets’ playoff hopes alive
Drawn 0-0 at halftime with Idaho State, Sacramento State’s women’s soccer head coach Randy Dedini told his freshman forward Abigail Lopez to stay ready after a tough first half.
“I told her, ‘stick to it,’” Dedini said.
After scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at Davis Field to save the Hornets’ playoff hopes, Lopez did just that on Sunday.
The Hornets (4-9-2, 3-4 Big Sky) were stuck in a gritty dog fight with the Bengals (2-13-1, 2-4 Big Sky) with both teams knowing the playoff implications involved with the match.
The sixth and final seed in the Big Sky playoffs would be given to the game’s victor, and both squads put on a valiant effort to slot their team.
The match opened up with trading blows of shots. Sac State led the way with three early shots in the first seven minutes of action. However, the Bengals quickly retaliated with their own offense by dominating possession for the next 10 minutes and attempting five straight shots.
In dealing with the back-and-forth nature of the match, Sac State seemed to embrace a play style that saw their offense take risks even when it did not work out.
Altogether, the Hornets finished with eight offside calls due to the assertiveness of their forwards, and Dedini said that tempo was intentional regardless of the calls.
“As soon as we started playing on the widths, we saw a lot more chances,” Dedini said. “That was our game plan, and the girls executed it.”
Despite the aggressive, offensive push for the Hornets, it would all pay off in the end.
After a second half that saw offensive runs from both sides and included 16 combined shots and seven corner kicks, the Hornets finally had an opportunity.
At the 86th-minute mark, with under four minutes left in regulation, senior midfielder Samantha Craig sent in a cross pass from outside the penalty box into the middle of the Bengal defensive back line unit.
The whole game I was making runs, and each I made in the first half was offsides,” Lopez said. “I made the decision in the second half that I was going to delay my runs because I didn’t want to catch myself offsides.”
Waiting on the other end of the pass freshman forward Abigail Lopez, who was able to retain possession and drive down the middle of the box to score the game-winning goal for the Hornets, inserted them into the sixth seed in the Big Sky.
“I was really proud of our girls and their grit,” Dedini said. “[The goal] was one of the best I’ve seen this season.”
Craig said the win will be huge for the Hornets’ confidence going forward as their eyes are set on a spot in the Big Sky tournament.
“I think getting our first win on the road was crucial for building team confidence and mentality for this upcoming weekend at home,” Craig said. “We can bring our home game environment anywhere and be successful wherever we play to get a [winning] result.”
The Hornets’ next match will be at home against Northern Arizona on Friday, Oct. 22, at 3:30 p.m. at Hornet Field.
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