Collins strikes overtime game-winner

Jeremiah Martinez

After a scoreless game in regulation forced overtime, Sacramento State women’s soccer was victorious with a Kayla Collins goal in the 98th minute of play against Northern Arizona University on Friday evening.

It was Collins’ third goal of the season, as the Hornets started 1-0 in Big Sky Conference play against the reigning champs and improved to 3-6-0 overall.

Collins took a short pass from Jennifer Lum at the top of the box, as the shot went underneath Lumberjacks’ goalkeeper Natalie Gilbertson’s arms.

“I was like ‘OK, this is the shot, you got to make this one or I’m going to be too exhausted to run,’” Collins said. “So I just shot it and really hoped it would go in.”

The forward’s previous scoring effort in the overtime period came when she drove the ball down the field and narrowly missed her shot wide right in the 96th minute.

Collins said defeating the previous conference champions was a great start to the Big Sky season.

“That felt so great,” she said. “It was way more intense than the games we have played previously. Being able to come in and win it, especially with our record … we were looking for a win.”

It was a fairly even game throughout, as the Hornets outshot the Lumberjacks 12-11 overall and 9-4 in the second half and overtime period combined.

Northern Arizona outshot the Hornets in the first half with a 7-3 advantage.

“We haven’t had a shutout, but I think this is the most important time to have a shutout,” Sac State midfielder Jennifer Lum said. “It feels so great to get it in our first conference game.”

Lum said the team had a confident mindset heading into overtime.

“We felt really positive and had a good feeling because we were attacking the whole time,” she said. “We were pumped and then we got that goal, which felt even better.”

Lum led the Hornets with four shots in the game, of which three came in the first half.

The junior had multiple chances to get the Hornets on the board in the game, but she couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities.

“I’m trying to shoot more to help my team, but I have to put more on goal,” Lum said.

One negative outcome from the game for the Hornets was midfielder Maggie Pleis suffering a leg injury in the second half.

Pleis was going for a header and landed awkwardly, as she couldn’t get off the field on her own feet.

Sac State coach Randy Dedini said it would be a significant loss for the women if Pleis were to miss time.

“It’s a big loss, but like any other good team, it’s the next player up and someone has to step up to fill in for her,” Dedini said. “Emotionally, she’s a phenomenal player and person and she just brings a lot of energy, she’s really fun to be around. So we feel really bad for her and we hope that it’s not that serious and she could recover quickly.”

The Hornets will look to win consecutive games for the first time this season, as the women will take on Southern Utah University in a Big Sky matchup at Hornet Field at 1 p.m on Sunday.

Southern Utah will enter the matchup with a 0-1 conference record after losing 2-1 against Portland State University in overtime on Friday evening.