Sac State women’s soccer kicks off postseason against Northern Colorado


Carlo Marzan - The State Hornet

Sacramento State junior midfielder Caitlin Prothe, left, celebrates with teammates after defeating Idaho State Oct. 13 at Hornet Field. Sac State will play Northern Colorado in the Big Sky Tournament Quarterfinals Wednesday at 10:05 a.m. at EWU Soccer Field in Cheney, Washington.

Carlo Marzan

For the third year in a row, the Sacramento State women’s soccer team is heading to the Big Sky Conference playoffs.

Sac State — which accomplished this three-peat only once in program history from 2005-07 — will play Northern Colorado in the Big Sky Tournament Quarterfinals Wednesday at 10:05 a.m. at EWU Soccer Field in Cheney, Washington.

The Hornets (8-7-4, 3-3-4 Big Sky) started their season at 3-1 but stumbled in their next 11 games by going 3-6-2. Despite this, freshman forward Kylee Kim-Bustillos helped lead the team to a 2-0-2 record in the last four games and finished with the most goals (11) on the team to make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.

“I always knew we would, like in the beginning of the season,” Kim-Bustillos said, referring to her team’s ability to squeeze into the playoffs. “We’ve overcome some obstacles and adversities, but we ended up making it.”

Sac State was freshman heavy this year with 11 freshmen, including Kim-Bustillos, but the eight seniors on the team have been able to offer guidance to continue its postseason streak and prepare for the playoffs.

“We have a younger team, so a lot of people haven’t experienced it yet,” said Andrea Boehm, the Hornets senior forward. “But we have a lot of older girls that are there to kind of carry everyone and help everyone out with it.”

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Although freshman goalkeeper Aaliyah Fesili lacks playoff experience, she said she understands the importance of the team’s chemistry and wants to use it going forward.

“I just want us to have fun, that’s the main thing,” Fesili said. “When we get too competitive, then we lose sight of the main goal.”

Sac State coach Randy Dedini said he likes his chances going into the playoffs, and his confidence doesn’t stop there.

“This team has been one of the best teams I’ve had here in my 11 years coaching, not just on the field, but off the field,” Dedini said. “The chemistry is just so tight, and those are the teams you really want to see succeed because they’re pulling for each other, and they love each other.”

This chemistry will be put to the test against a Northern Colorado team that defeated the Hornets 1-0 in their only meeting of the season on Oct. 1 at Hornet Field. At the time, Dedini said he felt that his team ran into a hot goalkeeper in Northern Colorado’s Madeline Burdick.

“She made about three or four saves that, normally, a couple of those go in, so I think she saved their butts today,” Dedini said after the match.

Sac State hasn’t won the Big Sky Tournament since 2010. However, if the Hornets can accomplish this, they will guarantee themselves an invitation to the NCAA College Cup.

“Now the fun starts,” Dedini said. “For (our) great senior class, we want to try and get into the NCAA Tournament and play a bunch more games. Every game is important.

“We win, we move on. We lose, then we’re out.”