SACRAMENTO, Calif. – After starting Big Sky Conference play with a win and tie on Hornet Field last weekend, the Sacramento State women's soccer team (5-4-2, 1-0-1 BSC) hits the road this week with matches at Montana (3-4-4, 0-1-1) at 2 p.m. Friday and Eastern Washington (2-9-0, 0-2-0 BSC) at noon Sunday.
"We have to go on the road and get two tough victories at Montana and Eastern Washington," Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini said. "Both are teams we feel like we can beat but its always difficult going on the road. We have to show some maturity and go on the road to get a couple of wins."
The Hornets have rounded into form to open the conference season, as the squad is undefeated in its last four matches and is 4-1-2 over its last seven contests. Sacramento State has allowed just six goals over that stretch with four shutouts, while offensively the squad has struck for nine goals.
Junior goalkeeper Kimberly Mata recorded consecutive shutouts last week in her return from injury and was subsequently named Co-Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week. Mata leads the Big Sky with a .842 save percentage this season and is second in the conference in goals against average (1.02) and shutouts (4). The team has shutouts in four of its last seven contests.
Sacramento State does have two road wins already this season, having picked up victories at CSU Bakersfield and at Pacific. Sophomore Alyssa Anderson, who is tied for the Big Sky lead with six goals this season, has scored five of her six goals on the road while the rest of the team has totaled two road goals. The seven road goals have come in the team's last-three road matches after being shut out in the first two.
Montana is traditionally a tough team to face in Missoula across all sports, and though the Griz hold a 10-6-4 all-time record against Sacramento State the Hornets have won the last three meetings by shutouts with an aggregate score of 6-0. In fact, the Hornets have not lost in Missoula since 2003 with a win and two ties since that meeting.
The Griz are 3-0-2 at home this season but are 0-4-2 on the road. The squad opened conference play with a loss at Weber State and a tie at Idaho State last weekend. Montana leads the Big Sky with 163 shots this season but is just sixth in the league in scoring with 1.18 goals per game. Mackenzie Atkins leads the Big Sky with 38 shots on the season and leads the team with eight points (two goals, four assists).
Eastern Washington has been outscored 19-8 this season en route to a 2-9-0 record. The Eagles have played just three home matches but are 0-3 on their home field with two shutout loses. Last week the Eagles took a 1-0 loss at Idaho State and a 3-0 setback at Weber State. Eastern Washington ranks last in the Big Sky in goals and points and is 4-9-2 all-time against the Hornets with Sacramento State going 5-1-2 over the last eight meetings.