By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cara Curtin is wearing a different uniform these days, but she’s still making game-winning goals.
Curtin, who scored the deciding goal last December when Santa Rosa JC won the state title, came through in overtime Saturday afternoon as Sonoma State University defeated Cal State Monterey Bay, 1-0.
The Santa Rosa native was 10 yards from the post when she took a pass from Bree Robles and fired the ball into the right side of the net.
After neither team could score in the first 90 minutes, Curtin connected on the first shot taken in overtime and it nearly didn’t happen.
“I made contact with a defender and started to fall,” Curtin said. “I got my balance back before hitting the ground and then the ball was in front of me.”
Curtin’s shot eluded a defender and the outstretched arms of keeper Diana Zambrano. It was her 13th goal of the season.
Curtin scored four goals in the CCCAA championship game and was later selected as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Junior College Player of the Year.
The Seawolves recorded their sixth straight shutout. Alexis Sciacqua has been in goal for each of those games and hasn’t allowed a goal in nearly 600 minutes. She rejected eight shots Saturday.
SSU had beaten Monterey Bay by a 4-0 score earlier in the season and some of the players were frustrated as they huddled with coach Emiria Salzmann Dunn before the start of overtime.
The coach came up with a strategy that paid immediate dividends.
“I told the girls to apply more pressure on the back line,” Salzmann Dunn said.
The players did just that and in the nearly two minutes of overtime the ball never crossed midfield.
Sonoma State sits atop the CCAA-North standings with a 9-1-1 record and was playing its fourth game in nine days.
“We didn’t play our best against Monterey Bay,” Salzmann Dunn said. “The girls were a little tired and some of them had aches and pains. Still, like a good team, they gritted it out and won.”
The Seawolves are 12-1-1 overall. The Otters are now 7-6 and 5-5 in conference.
Saturday was homecoming for both the women’s and men’s teams.
The men played prior to the women’s game and were upset by Monterey Bay, 1-0. The Otters (2-9 overall) scored in the 74th minute.
SSU had nearly three times as many shots on goal, including a 10-3 barrage in the second half.
“That was a tough loss,” coach Marcus Ziemer said. “I thought we played really well and just didn’t finish our chances.”
The Seawolves’ record is 6-5-2 and 5-4-2 in CCAA.