SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State played Big Sky regular season champion Portland State close and had some near misses in the second half, but the Vikings were able to get the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute en route to a 1-0 win.
Portland State, which had already clinched the regular season conference title, finished a perfect Big Sky season with an 8-0-1 mark while improving to 11-4-2 overall. Sacramento State saw its season come to close, ending the year at 7-9-2 overall and 3-5-1 in Big Sky play.
"We wish the season could have gone a little bit better but to be able to play one of our better games at the end of the season was nice," Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini said. "It felt like we pretty much ran the game but we didn't finish our opportunities and they finished theirs, and that's soccer. We saw a tremendous amount of growth this year and our girls are leaving on a pretty good note feeling good about what we have coming back and what we have coming in."
The Hornets did say goodbye to their five seniors, Melissa Gomez, Raylene Larot, Jordyn Rolling, Jami Shimada, and Gabriela Trenton, as they played their final collegiate match on Friday. They leave the program in good hands with a large returning class looking to build on the improvements the squad made this season.
"We're obviously not happy with how the season ended overall, but compared to last season we've seen a tremendous amount of growth and improvement from our young group," Dedini said. "The majority of our team is freshmen and sophomores, and with a good class coming in we're feeling good about the next few years, but it's always sad to see the seniors go. The future is bright, but we're obviously disappointed that this season ended so soon."
Sacramento State did enter the match with an outside shot at qualifying for the Big Sky tournament but needed a win and a lot of other conference matches to go their way to have a shot. Portland State had most of the early pressure, but Sacramento State junior goalkeeper Kimberly Mata made three early saves to keep the match scoreless.
Portland State would find its goal in the 33rd minute off a lose ball on the Hornet end. Viking freshman Abbey Bergquist sent a cross in front of the goal that got through the Sacramento State defense and found sophomore Cori Bianchini for an open finish to the far post.
After tallying just one shot on goal in the first half the Hornets placed three tries on frame in the second half and had several good opportunities to find an equalizer. The team had four corner kicks within the first six minutes of the second half, but could only put one shot on net that was easily denied by Portland State goalkeeper Caitlin Plese.
In the 79th minute Hornet junior Kristen Bridges beat Plese to a loose ball atop the Viking box and chipped the ball past the keeper towards the vacated net, but the shot missed just wide of the far post. Three minutes later sophomore Jennifer Lum had a shot appear destined to find the net denied by Plese as she just managed to grab the ball before it found the upper 90.
Plese finished with four saves to record the Vikings' 10th shutout of the season while Mata had five stops for the Hornets. The Hornets had an 11-10 shot advantage overall, including a 6-4 edge in the second half, and totaled a 5-3 count in corner kicks.
Sacramento State ends the 2013 season with its most wins since 2010. The Hornets will return eight of 11 starters next season with 21 total roster members back for the 2014 campaign.