SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Sacramento State (6-6-4, 4-2-2 Big Sky) plays its final home game of the year on Friday hosting Weber State (5-8-2, 3-4-1 Big Sky) at 3:30 p.m.
Big Sky Breakdown
Sacramento State enters the week tied with Eastern Washington for second place in the Big Sky with 14 points. The Hornets could potentially clinch a berth in the Big Sky Tournament this week and are just two points back of league-leading Idaho. However, Sacramento State has just two games remaining while every other Big Sky team other than Portland State and Weber State has three games to play. The top six teams in the final conference standings qualify for the Big Sky Tournament with the regular season champion hosting and the top two seeds earning byes into the semifinals.
Scouting Weber State (5-8-2, 3-4-1 Big Sky)
Weber State is one point behind Montana and Northern Arizona for the last qualifying spots for the Big Sky Tournament. The Wildcats, who were tied with the Hornets for 6th place in the preseason Big Sky Coaches' Poll, began conference play with a 3-1-0 record but are 0-3-1 in their last four games. Weber State did draw with league-leading Idaho last week but has scored just one goal in its last four games. Weber ranks second to last in the Big Sky with just 14 goals scored in 15 games and have been shut out seven times while allowing 25 goals. Morgan Quarnberg has three goals and three assists this year and Paige Stevens has scored four goals. Sacramento State is 9-12-2 all-time against Weber State but 6-2-2 against the Wildcats at home.
On a Roll
Sacramento State's three-game winning streak vaulted the Hornets into the top three in the Big Sky standings. The Hornets have outscored the opposition 5-2 over the last three contests with 30 shots on goal while allowing only 14. Senior Jennifer Lum has spearheaded the charge with four goals during the streak, including all three scores last week in the road wins over North Dakota and Northern Colorado.
The Hornets are undefeated (3-0-1) in road Big Sky games, having allowed only two total goals in those four games. If Sacramento State wins or ties its final road game at Portland State next Friday it would mark just the second time in program history that the team went unbeaten in conference road games. The only previous occurrence was in 2007, when the Hornets won the Big Sky title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Pressed into Action
When Hornet sophomore goalkeeper Destiny Butcher was issued a red card in the 59th minute at Northern Colorado, freshman Kaylyn Evans made her collegiate debut trying to protect a 1-0 lead on the road. She responded, making four big saves over the last 31 minutes of the second half to complete a 1-0 Hornet win. Evans will be in goal again on Friday with Butcher having to miss the contest.
The Defense Doesn't Rest
Sacramento State ranks second in the Big Sky this season in goals against average (1.04) and save percentage (.827). The Hornets have allowed just 18 goals in 16 games, with just 16 goals allowed in regulation time. The Hornets have played at least 90 minutes without allowing a goal in six contests and, taking away the 5-1 loss to Idaho, have allowed only 13 goals in their other 15 games.
Overtime, Over and Over
Sacramento State has played in eight overtime games this season. The team was in a Big Sky-record four consecutive overtime games and has played in 14 total overtime periods. The Hornets have played approximately 120 minutes of overtime soccer and are averaging 97.5 minutes played per game this year. The program record for overtime games in a season is nine, set in 2006.
Wall of Destiny
Sophomore goalkeeper Destiny Butcher is second in the Big Sky with a 1.06 goals against average and .820 save percentage and ranks third in the Big Sky with 5.13 saves per game. She made a career-high 14 saves against Hawaii, which tied for the second most saves in a game in program history.
Keep it Low
The Hornets have not scored or allowed more than two goals in all but one game this season. The final scoring margin has been below two in all but four of the team's 16 games this year. The 2012 Hornets also did not score or allow more than two goals through the first 14 games of the season.
The Hornets have four ties this season after they went 50 consecutive games, spanning parts of four seasons, without a tie before their first draw of 2016 on Sept. 2 against UC Davis. The stalemate on Sept. 25 was the first Sacramento State road game to end in a tie in nearly four years, since October 7, 2012, which coincidentally also came at Northern Arizona. The program record for ties in a season is five.
The Hornets put together a pair of impressive shutout streaks this season. The team opened the season without allowing a goal through its first 194 minutes played, and prior to a score by Nevada on Sept. 9 the Hornets had a 243-minute scoreless streak while recording consecutive shutouts.
Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week
Senior defender Rachel Leonard earned Sacramento State's first Big Sky Player of the Week honor of the 2016 season when she was named Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 6. Leonard helped the Hornets limit UC Davis to just five shots on goal in a 0-0 draw in double overtime between the Causeway rivals. She played all 110 minutes anchoring the Hornet back line, which allowed only three shots on goal in regulation time. She was also one of just four nominees for #NCAASoccer Women's Player of the Week.
Upon the conclusion of the Outrigger Soccer Classic Series in Honolulu defender Rachel Leonard, midfielder Jennifer Lum, and forward Kayla Collins were named to the all-tournament team. Leonard and Lum helped the Hornets allow just two goals in two games, including a shutout of BYU-Hawaii, while Lum also contributed team highs of 12 shots and five shots on goal. Collins scored the game-winning goal against BYU-Hawaii.
Respect Your Elders
The Sacramento State roster 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 returned 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.
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 in their fifth season with the program. Bowman and Lum redshirted as true freshmen while the other four had medical redshirt seasons.
Decade of Dedini
Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini is in 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.