‘Pressure is on’ for women’s soccer team in close games


Carlo Marzan - The State Hornet

Sacramento State freshman defender Jessica Mann attempts to get the ball away from North Dakota sophomore defender Megan McCabe Sept. 29 at Hornet Field. The Hornets defeated North Dakota 3-0.

Carlo Marzan

The women’s soccer season is proving to be competitive and close for Sacramento State.

Before the last two games against North Dakota and Northern Colorado, the Hornets (6-5-2, 1-1-2 Big Sky) have played in nine games that were decided by one goal, two of which ended in double overtime.

“It’s exhausting, honestly,” freshman forward Alyssa Baena said, referring to the neck-and-neck contests. “We’re so dangerous in front of the goal, we just need to get those into the net.”

However, Sac State defeated North Dakota on Friday by the score 3-0, which was the biggest lead of its season.

“Even with that 3-0 lead, I was not comfortable at all,” said Aaliyah Fesili, the Hornets freshman goalkeeper. “North Dakota kept coming on and they were doing really well getting those balls forward. There was never a time where I wasn’t uncomfortable. The score doesn’t mean anything until the game is over.”

Sac State was in a similar situation after it started with a 2-0 lead over the University of Nevada, Reno on Aug. 20 but ended up falling 3-2 in double overtime. The Hornets also secured a first half 1-0 lead over Cal on Sept. 8 before losing 2-1 in double overtime.

“It’s a little heartbreaking to put in so much work and you’re already tired at the end of the game,” Baena said. “Two 10-minute overtimes is hard to keep working and then get a loss out of it.”

Double overtime has proven to be the Hornets’ Achilles’ heel, as they’ve also suffered double-overtime ties in the first two Big Sky Conference games of the season against Eastern Washington (Sept. 22) and Idaho (Sept. 24). These matches resulted in approximately 110 minutes of action, which took its toll.

“I think we’ve been strong, I think it’s just we’re banged up, we’re missing four starters, and we don’t have as many to go to on the bench,” Randy Dedini said, the Hornets head coach. “The group that is starting are playing a lot of minutes and I think it’s starting to wear on them a little bit after a tough weekend.”

Fesili, who was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26, followed up these two performances against Eastern Washington and Idaho with another shutout against North Dakota.

“Anytime we go into overtime, all of us are just super stressed,” Fesili said. “The pressure is on to perform, to get that golden goal, but I believe that we come together as a team and we do the best that we can.”

Of their five games that haven’t gone into overtime, the Hornets have only lost once. With a 3-0 victory against North Dakota, Sac State seems to have proven it can out kick its Achilles’ heel problem.

The Hornets will continue Big Sky Conference competition against Montana at 2 p.m. Friday at Hornet Field.