Women's soccer opens Big Sky Conference play on the road this weekend.
Women's soccer opens Big Sky Conference play on the road this weekend.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's soccer team opens up Big Sky Conference play this weekend on the road at league newcomer North Dakota and reigning regular season champion Northern Colorado.

The Hornets (2-4-2) will meet North Dakota (2-4-1) at 2 p.m. PT on Friday before battling the Bears (2-4-2) at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday.

Sacramento State is coming off a heartbreaking, 3-2, loss in double overtime to Penn last Sunday. The Hornets defeated UC Santa Cruz, 4-0, on Friday afternoon but fell short against the Quakers. Senior Megan Burg scored in the 89th minute to force extra time on Sunday but Penn's Erin Mikolai scored on a one-touch shot inside the penalty area in the 102nd minute to end the game. Overall this season, Sacramento State has scored 10 goals on 117 shots while allowing 14 goals on 127 attempts. Senior forward Elece McBride leads the team with three goals while fellow senior forward  Jordan Carlberg has a team-best two assists. Sacramento State used two keepers this season in a rotating fashion. Both senior Shelby Tomasello and sophomore Kimberly Mata have started four games. Tomasello has the better numbers thus far, with a 1.53 goals against average, 28 saves and two shutouts compared to Mata's 1.75 GAA, 18 saves and one shutout. However, both of the Hornets' wins this season have come with Mata in net. 

North Dakota, which does not use a nickname since the NCAA deemed its Fighting Sioux moniker offensive in 2005, is in its first season competing in the Big Sky Conference and will make their league debut in women's soccer on Friday against the Hornets. North Dakota is coming off back-to-back losses to North Dakota State and Western Illinois, in which it allowed three goals in each game. Overall this season, UND has scored 12 times on 86 shots while giving up 19 goals on 108 attempts. Three players are tied for the team lead with two goals while Megan Anderson, who is one of those three players, has a team-best three assists. Keeper Kristi Hestdalen has played in all seven of UND's seven games but started just five. She has a 2.57 GAA this season with 44 saves. 

Northern Colorado is on a three-match winless streak following losses to Wyoming and Drake plus a 1-1 draw at Nebraska last weekend. The Bears won the Big Sky regular season title last year and hosted the conference tournament but lost in a shootout, 3-2, to eventual tournament champion Montana in the semifinals. This season the Bears have scored seven times on 93 shots while allowing 15 goals. Brittany Dunn leads the team with two goals while Ambree Bellin has a team-best two assists. Keeper Natalie D-Adamio has played every minute for the Bears in net this season, with a 1.42 GAA and 45 saves. 

Last year Sacramento State played Northern Colorado to a scoreless draw while the Hornets and North Dakota have never met.

Sacramento State has never lost to Northern Colorado in seven meetings (5-0-2).