Women's soccer visits Southern Utah and Northern Arizona this weekend.
Women's soccer visits Southern Utah and Northern Arizona this weekend.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With just four games remaining in Big Sky Conference play, the Sacramento State women's soccer team heads out on a crucial roadtrip this weekend to conference newcomer Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.

The Hornets (4-5-3, 2-1-1 Big Sky) will meet the Thunderbirds (1-7-1, 0-3) at 3 p.m. PT on Friday before a pivotal match against the Lumberjacks (4-6-2, 2-1) at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday. Sacramento State is currently tied for third in the Big Sky standings and, while SUU is in last, NAU is lurking in fifth. The top four teams in the league advance to the postseason tournament. 

Southern Utah will offer LIVE STATS for Friday's match while Northern Arizona will also have a LIVE STATS feed.

Last weekend Sacramento State recorded a 1-1 draw with Eastern Washington on Friday before defeating Montana, 2-0. Senior Victoria Ramirez shined for the Hornets, with a goal and two assists over the weekend. Senior goalkeeper Shelby Tomasello tallied her fourth shutout of the season and second in conference play against the Grizz and made five saves in each game. Overall this year, Tomasello sports a 1.14 goals against average - the third best in the Big Sky - with 47 saves in eight starts. After her big weekend, Ramirez now leads the Hornets with nine points (three goals, three assists) while senior Elece McBride - who ranks third in the Big Sky in shots - is tied with Ramirez with a team-high three goals. As a team, the Hornets have scored 14 goals on 181 shots while allowing 17 scores on 171 attempts. The Sacramento State defense, anchored by Tomasello plus junior Gabriela Trenton, freshman  Kassidy Kellogg and freshman McKenna Swanson, will face the two worst scoring teams in the Big Sky this weekend as NAU and SUU have combined to score just 16 times in 21 games.

Southern Utah is having a rough go in its first season in the Big Sky Conference. The Thunderbirds have one win - 3-0 against Western State College of Colorado - and enter this weekend with three straight league loses. SUU has scored just once in three conference contests but their game against the Hornets on Saturday will be their conference home opener. Southern Utah has scored seven goals on 114 shots this season while allowing 15 scores on 170 attempts. Stacey Brinkman leads the squad with two goals while three players have a team-best one assist. Goalkeeper Charly Booth has started nine games with a 1.62 goals against average and 56 saves. 

Northern Arizona won three straight games before falling, 2-1, at Idaho State on Sunday. During that stretch the Lumberjacks knocked off San Jose State, Southern Utah and Weber State. While NAU has played well lately, it started the season with just one win in eight games (1-5-2). Northern Arizona has scored 12 goals on 134 shots this season while allowing 19 scores on a whopping 216 attempts. Three players lead the team with two goals each while Demi Schmieder has a team-best four assists, which ranks third in the conference. Head coach Andre Luciano has used both Lauren Weaver and Natalie Gilbertson in goal this year. Weaver has the better numbers thus far, with a 1.15 goals against average and 43 saves in six starts. Gilbertson has also made six starts, but sports a 2.01 GAA with 36 saves. 

Last year Sacramento State and NAU played to a 1-1 draw at Hornet Field. Then-senior Caitlin Pulver scored for the Hornets while Jenna Samora, also a senior last year, scored for the Lumberjacks. 

Sacramento State is 7-9-1 all-time against Northern Arizona but has a 2-1-1 record in the last four meetings, including a 1-0 win at NAU in the 2010 Big Sky Tournament title game. Sacramento State and Southern Utah have never met.

Sacramento State is tied with Idaho State for third in the Big Sky Conference standings. The Hornets' opponents this weekend - Southern Utah and Northern Arizona - check in at 10th and fifth, respectively. The standings are based on points, and teams earned three points for a win and one point for a draw in the Big Sky. At the end of the season, the top four teams advance to the Big Sky Tournament, which the No. 1 seed hosts. 

No. Big Sky Women's Soccer Standings
Big Sky Record Points Overall Record
1. Northern Colorado
3-0 9 5-4-2
2. Portland State 3-1 9 5-6-1
3. Sacramento State 2-1-1 7 4-5-3
  Idaho State 2-1-1 7 7-4-1
5. Northern Arizona 2-1 6 4-6-2
6. Weber State 2-2 6 4-9
7. Montana 1-2-1 4 5-6-2
  Eastern Washington 1-2-1 4 4-6-2
9. North Dakota 0-3 0 2-7-1
  Southern Utah 0-3 0 1-7-1