Sac State women’s soccer team to play in Big Sky Championship

Hornets enter postseason with 17-match unbeaten streak


Leslie Hicks

Sac State junior forward Alyssa Baena dribbles upfield against Eastern Washington on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Hornet Field. The Hornets begin the Big Sky Championship Friday as the second seed in Greeley, Colorado.

Vince Castellana

The Sacramento State women’s soccer team set a Big Sky record by ending regular season play with a 17-match unbeaten streak and will enter the postseason conference tournament as the second seed.

The only loss for the Hornets (11-1-6, 5-0-4) in 2019 came in the first match of the season on the road at the University of California, Davis Aug. 23.

All games in the tournament will be played at the University of Northern Colorado’s Jackson Stadium in Greeley, Colorado. Following a first-round bye Wednesday, Sac State will play the winner of the match between third seed Eastern Washington University and sixth seed Portland State University in the semifinals Friday. 

Sac State head coach Randy Dedini is preparing his team to be ready for whichever opponent they may face during the tournament.

“We don’t know who we’re going to play first yet,” Dedini said. “We’re going to look at both teams that we potentially will play and gear some of our training towards what they do well, what we want to take away and how we feel that we can take advantage of our style of play against them.”

The Hornets have not lost in over two months and Dedini exuded confidence heading into the Big Sky Championship.

“We feel confident that we’re not going to give up much,” Dedini said. “We got to take advantage of us on offense and put away our chances because we know we have the best goalkeeper, We know we have the best defense and so those are things that we can count on. Sometimes you need the soccer gods to go your way.”

In 18 matches this season, the Hornets and junior goalkeeper Aaliyah Fesili have allowed 12 goals. The team’s offense has also been productive, scoring 27 goals this season for an average of 1.5 per game. 

Sac State has also had 10 shutouts, with five coming in conference play. The Hornets rank first in Big Sky in shutouts, goals allowed, goals against average (0.61), save percentage and unbeaten streak. 

Part of the Hornets’ success comes from their execution of the 3-5-2 formation, with three players on defense, five players in midfield and two strikers.

“No one can play a 3-5-2 formation better than us and we know what our strengths are,” said junior forward Kylee Kim-Bustillos. “We try to eliminate our weaknesses and I think that’s going to be really big.”

Sac State had seven players recognized on the Big Sky All-Conference teams. Fesili, Kim-Bustillos, junior forward Ariana Nino and senior midfielder Mikayla Reed were all selected to the first team. Kim-Bustillos was named offensive MVP, Reed was named co-defensive MVP and Fesili was named goalkeeper of the year.

Junior forward Julia Herrera was selected to the second team. Junior defender Aubrey Goodwill and junior midfielder Samantha Craig were honorable mentions for the conference teams.

No matter what happens in the postseason, Reed said she considers her final season a success amid their 17-match unbeaten streak.

“I think I’ve already been a part of something amazing, a record-breaking season,” Reed said. We put our name down in history and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

If the Hornets win the conference tournament, their season will continue on with the NCAA Tournament.

Sac State begins the Big Sky Championship at 11 a.m. on Friday at Jackson Stadium.