Sac State women’s soccer drops Big Sky opener in gritty 4-2 loss

Hornets couldn’t keep up in back-and-forth shootout


Larry Lawson

Senior forward Ele Avery dribbling through defenders Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 at Hillsboro Stadium. The Hornets fell to the Vikings in a disappointing 4-2 to open Big Sky play.

Jordan Latimore

After a physical 90 minute slugfest at Hillsboro Stadium that saw six goals between both teams, Sacramento State women’s soccer was worn out in their disappointing 4-2 loss on the road against Portland State.

“[The locker room] was emotional,” senior forward Ele Avery said. “We don’t have a lot of seniors and [now] we understand, we’re in the Big Sky now.”

The Hornets (1-6-2) endured a harsh welcome to Big Sky conference play against a Vikings team (3-5) that imposed their will the entire match.

Trouble came for the Hornets early when in the 10th minute, Portland State came down on a drive and scored off of a cross pass in the middle of the box, creating a 1-0 deficit.

The Hornets responded to the Vikings quick goal with an aggressive series of attacks from their go-to forwards, Avery, sophomore Samantha Wong, and freshman Danna Restom who all combined for five shots in the match. 

Restom, who had two shots in the first half, seized the moment for Sac State when in the 22nd minute, she scored the Hornets’ first goal on a left sided shot, evening the game at 1-1.


“We loved that we were able to respond back quickly and like to stay in it and not put our heads down,” Avery said.

The Hornets went into halftime full of energy and momentum after tying the match, but the second half proved to be the most deflating period of the afternoon. 

Right out the gates, Portland State turned up the pressure offensively. 

Just two minutes into the second half, Portland State scored a goal after Sac State junior goal-keeper Katie Price, deflected a Viking shot toward Portland State freshman forward Abi Hoffman with no defense in front of her, which allowed the Vikings to capitalize and take a 2-1 lead.

But as quickly as the Vikings scored in the second half, Sac State had an answer just as fast. Only a minute and a half later, freshman forward Abigail Lopez got free on a break away attack and scored to even the game once again.

“We need to work on not waiting for these moments,” Avery said. “We need to be the first to respond. It’s definitely a challenge that we are trying to face within ourselves.”

The Hornets found themselves building momentum in the second half, but it all came crashing down.

In the 50th minute just after Sac State tied the match for a second time, it was once again Portland State forward Abi Hoffman, who scored a long-distance 40-yard shot that was just too high for 5-foot-8-inch Price to reach.

“They just kind of had those moments and they were just able to finish,” Avery said. “And some of them were kind of just magic.”

The next 40 minutes of the match would see a Sac State squad playing from behind with several drives to the goal that would either finish in a Portland State save or a missed shot from the Hornets. 

Although the assertiveness, which was a big question for Sac State coming into conference play, was apparent in Sunday’s match, it wasn’t paired with the execution needed to secure the win.

“It’s disappointing,” Head Coach Randy Dedini said. “Too many mistakes, too many soft goals, constantly playing from behind takes a lot out of the team mentally and there’s frustration that sets in.”

Portland State would eventually go on to score a late goal off of a corner kick at the 75th minute, extending the lead to 4-2, creating a gap the Hornets couldn’t overcome.

“In this game I feel like we connected with all three forwards, but we definitely need to work on our midfield,” Restom said. “Trying to stay tight to our players, transitioning from defense to offense, that’s what we definitely need to work on.”

The Hornets next match will be on the road again at the University of Montana on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.