Sac State women’s soccer suffers heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Northern Arizona

Hornets’ playoff standing hangs in the balance


Jordan Latimore

Freshman forward Danna Restom attacks the Eagle defense against Eastern Washington on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Hornet Field. Sac State was defeated by the Lumberjacks 3-2 in a double overtime loss on Friday.

Jordan Latimore

Hanging on to the sixth seed in the Big Sky by a thread, all Sacramento State women’s soccer needed to clinch a playoff spot was a win in its matchup against Northern Arizona University on Friday at Hornet Field.

After a devastating 3-2 double overtime loss, that hope is now up in the air.

The Hornets (4-10-2, 3-5 Big Sky) opened the match with a dominant offensive approach that the Lumberjacks (7-10, 5-3 Big Sky) seemed to have no answer for. 

Sac State was able to take four shots within the first 10 minutes, and eventually at the 10-minute mark freshman forward Danna Restom was able to knock in Sac State’s first goal after a batted shot landed in Restom’s possession.

“At the beginning of the season, it was really important to even get chances,” said freshman forward Abigail Lopez. “It shows our growth because we are getting chances now,”

However, Northern Arizona stayed resilient and would not go without a fight. They would go on to match and score with their own goal in the 32nd minute off of a breakaway solo drive.

Sac State’s offense responded quickly, though, after senior forward Ele Avery was able to score just three minutes later.

Going into halftime up 2-1, the Hornets sat in a comfortable lead that seemed like it would result in a solid win. 

That would not be the case.

In the 57th minute, Lumberjack midfielder Mikhail Johnson struck a game-tying goal for NAU that put the game’s victor in the balance. 

In gridlock with the Lumberjacks, the Hornets were in for an uphill battle down the stretch, which is not something they are used to

In a physical back and forth final 30 minutes of action that saw eight shots traded between the two teams and three yellow cards, neither squad was able to score leading to overtime.

Worn out from 90 minutes of intense soccer, the first overtime period showed to be an attrition-based slugfest with both teams showing extreme signs of fatigue through their struggle to sprint or stopping to catch their breath. This struggle to maintain physically led to neither team being able to score, allowing for a second overtime to ensue.

In the 112th minute of play, Sac State saw disaster strike. 

After a defensive breakdown in the middle of the penalty box, senior Lumberjack midfielder Rylee Mitchell scored a game-winning, sudden-death goal putting the Hornet’s playoff hopes in jeopardy.

“We knew it was going to come down to this type of game, unfortunately, they scored one more goal than we did,” said head coach Randy Dedini.“We had our chances early on to up 3-1, but we kept them in it.”

Still sitting in and trying to be the sixth seed in the Big Sky for a tournament run, the Hornets know they cannot let this win stay with them, and they need to do whatever is necessary for a win on Sunday.

“I think that we really exposed the other team’s weaknesses,” said senior midfielder Samantha Craig.

The Hornets’ next match will be played against Southern Utah at 1 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.