SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's soccer team officially kicks off the 2016 season hosting CSU Bakersfield at 4 p.m. Friday at Hornet Field. The Hornets will then go on the road to face San José State at noon on Sunday.
Scouting CSU Bakersfield
Sacramento State will be facing CSU Bakersfield for the fourth consecutive season, having won each of the last three meetings with a 3-2 road win last year. The Hornets are 5-1-0 all-time against the Roadrunners with a 3-0-0 record at home. Bakersfield went 6-12-3 last season and finished fifth in the WAC with a 3-5-2 conference record. The Roadrunners do return eight starters but also have 11 newcomers in 2016. Sophomore forward Aminah Settles was the 2015 WAC Freshman of the Year and was named all-conference first team after leading the Runners with 11 goals and 23 points. CSUB was picked fourth of eight teams in the WAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Scouting San José State
The Spartans are the reigning Mountain West champions, winning the postseason tournament and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000. San José State finished 10-8-4 overall and 8-3-0 in the Mountain West in 2015 and returns seven starters and 16 letter winners, including top scorers Darriell Franklin and Dorthe Hoppius who combined for 17 goals last year. The Spartans were picked to finish second in the Mountain West Preseason Coaches' Poll as, like the Hornets, the Spartans have a veteran team with nine seniors and 15 total upperclassmen. San José State and Sacramento State have played every season since 1995 with the Hornets holding a 10-8-3 all-time advantage. The Spartans open their season hosting UC Riverside on Friday.
Respect Your Elders
A year after qualifying for the Big Sky Tournament for the first time since 2010 - and winning a quarterfinal game - the Sacramento State roster is nearly unchanged in 2016. The team features a record 13 seniors and has seven juniors with 43 combined years of experience playing at Sacramento State among those 20 veterans. The Hornets return all 11 of their primary starters from last season, having lost just one senior to graduation, and the returners scored 28 of the team's 29 total goals last season and recorded 23 of its 24 assists.
Collins Leading the Way
In her first season with the Hornets in 2015, junior Kayla Collins was an All-Big Sky second team selection, was named to the All-Big Sky Tournament team, and was Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week twice. She led the team with 7 goals and 6 assists for 20 points, ranking sixth in the Big Sky in goals, assists, and points, and was tied for third in the league with three game-winning goals.
Among the 13 Hornet seniors are six players that have been five-year Hornets. Forwards Alyssa Anderson, Josie Jogwe, and Kassidy Kellogg, midfielders Lydia Bowman and Jennifer Lum, and defender McKenna Swanson are all entering their fifth season with the program. Bowman and Lum redshirted as true freshmen while the other four had medical redshirt seasons.
All-Big Sky Honors
Three Hornets earned all-Big Sky honors last season, led by a second team selection for forward Kayla Collins, who led the team with 20 points on seven goals and six assists on the season. Midfielder Jennifer Lum was named honorable mention to earn her second career all-Big Sky honor and defender Regan Smithers was also all-Big Sky honorable mention for the second consecutive year.
No Tie Zone
Dating back to the 2013 season Sacramento State has played 46 consecutive games without a tie. The last stalemate the team played was a 0-0 draw with Northern Colorado on Sept. 29, 2013. In the last 46 tieless games just six have even gone to overtime, with three games going extra time last year. The streak nearly came to an end last Oct. 16 vs. Northern Colorado but the Bears won the game with less than a minute remaining in the second overtime.
Decade of Dedini
Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini enters his 10th season leading the Hornets. He is the longest tenured and winningest coach in program history in terms of both total wins and winning percentage. He has won two Big Sky titles - the only two in program history - and was named Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2010. Just four active Big Sky coaches have been with their programs longer than Dedini.
Big Sky Tournament Rewind
Last season the Hornets qualified for the Big Sky Tournament for the first time since 2010 and beat Eastern Washington, 3-1, in the quarterfinals before falling to Northern Colorado in the semifinals. The win over the Eagles was Sacramento State's fifth straight win in Big Sky Tournament play.
Most Big Sky Wins
Sacramento State's five Big Sky regular season wins in 2015 was a program record. The team had never won more than four Big Sky games in a year, though before the league expanded there were as few as only six Big Sky games played per year compared to the 10 that are played now. The Hornets added a sixth win over a Big Sky team with the victory over Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Tournament.
The Hornets have four goalies on the 2016 roster, including all three that saw action last season as well as freshman Kaylyn Evans. Sophomore Destiny Butcher started the first 14 games of the 2015 season before an injury and senior Molly McConnell started the last six. In both of Sacramento State's two exhibition games last week McConnell played the first half and Butcher played the second half, combining to allow only one total goal in the two games.
Scoring Spread Out
Twelve different Hornets scored a goal last year and 13 had at least one assist. Eight players recorded both goals and assists, with Kayla Collins and Adaurie Dayak leading the way with seven goals and Collins leading with six assists.
Scoring Big in Wins
Sacramento State scored multiple goals in seven of its eight wins last year. The team totaled 21 goals in its eight wins but just eight scores in its 12 other games. The Hornets were also stronger defensively in their eight wins, allowing just eight goals compared to 24 goals allowed in 12 losses.