FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
For the first time since 2008, the Sonoma State women’s soccer team has captured the California Collegiate Athletic Association North Division title and with it the top seed in this weekend’s conference tournament.
On Friday, the Seawolves (15-2-1, 11-2-1 CCAA) will be in Carson (outside Los Angeles) where they’ll face No. 4 Cal Poly Pomona (10-4-3, 8-4-3) at 11 a.m. The other two teams in the tourney — No. 2 Cal State Stanislaus and No. 3 UC San Diego — will get together at 1:30 p.m.
The winners play for the crown Sunday at 12:30 p.m. All games are at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Sonoma State needed a win this past Sunday at Stanislaus to earn the top seed and the Seawolves came through with a 2-1 victory.
“It was the biggest win of the year for us,” said coach Emiria Salzmann Dunn. “There was so much on the line. It might not have been our best played game, but it meant the most to us.”
The Seawolves were definitely the underdogs. Stanislaus came to Rohnert Park on Sept. 16 and left town with a 4-1 victory.
“My girls were possessed Sunday,” Salzmann Dunn said with a chuckle. “They were just not going to lose that game.”
The winning goal came from an unlikely source, defender Shayla Mellenthin.
“I really wasn’t surprised that a defender scored such a huge goal,” Salzmann Dunn said. “One of the strengths of this team is that we can score from so many directions.”
SSU beat Pomona, 5-0, at home on Sept. 21, but the Broncos are playing much better recently. Their record over the past month is 8-0-3.
“We know they’ve improved a lot, and it’s going to be a tough game for us,” Salzman Dunn said. “I have confidence and trust in my girls. We’ve had an amazing year, faced all conditions and answered each challenge. Now, we’re ready for the post-season.”
The field for the NCAA Division II tournament will be announced next Monday and Sonoma State will likely be invited.
Ten SSU players are from Sonoma County: Tara Funk and Margi Osmundson (Petaluma); Cara Curtin, JJ McFarlin, Elena Catania, Gianna Fistolera, Alesha Laranjo, Gretel Amman and Alexis Sciacqua (Santa Rosa); and Bree Robles (Sonoma).
One player on the Cal Poly Pomona roster is from the Redwood Empire — senior Sarah Semenero played for Sonoma Valley High.