SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In her final home game, Hornet senior Adaurie Dayak scored the only goal of the game in the 84th minute to lead Sacramento State to its fourth straight victory, beating Weber State 1-0.
With the win and other league results on Friday, Sacramento State (7-6-4, 5-2-2 Big Sky) moved into a tie with Idaho atop the conference standings with 17 points. The Hornets and Vandals have a three-point lead over Eastern Washington and Montana. The win also clinched a Big Sky Tournament berth for the Hornets, as the team will play in the postseason for the second consecutive year.
"Anytime you can get a win in conference its hard-fought," Sacramento State head coach Randy Dedini. "We were really happy with how we played. They made it hard for us but I thought we did a good job sticking to the game plan. They did a little bit better adjusting to the pressure we were applying in the second half but we still created a couple nice chances and Adaurie scored the game winner, so I was really excited for her and the rest of the seniors."
As it stands now, Sacramento State and Idaho, as the top two seeds, would receive byes in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament. The Hornets could still win the regular season title and host the league tournament, but Sacramento State (as well as Weber State) has just one game remaining while the other nine teams in the league have two.
The other 10 teams in the Big Sky will play on Sunday while the Hornets are off. Idaho can clinch a share of the regular season title and hosting rights with a win on Sunday hosting 10th-place Southern Utah, but with a loss or tie it could come down to the regular season finale next Friday.
Against Weber State (5-9-2, 3-5-1 Big Sky) on Friday, the Hornets dominated possession in the first half, outshooting the Wildcats 9-1, but were unable to get a goal. Sacramento State nearly took the lead in the final 10 seconds of the half as junior Amanda Mielke had a shot in close off a corner kick that beat the goalkeeper but was cleared off the line by a Weber State defender.
Early in the second half in the 50th minute, Weber State was called for a foul in the box resulting in a Hornet penalty kick. Senior Regan Smithers took the PK but missed just wide on a low shot to the left post.
Weber State was able to create some offensive pressure in the second half and had a good chance on a free kick on top of the Hornet box in the 62nd minute but freshman goalkeeper Kaylyn Evans, who was making her first career start, made a diving save.
Junior Chelsea Arnold set up the game-winning goal in the 84th minute as she played a ball into the top left corner of the Weber State box. Wildcat goalkeeper Sydnie Brough came out to challenge senior Jennifer Lum, and on the deflection the ball came to Dayak and she was able to finish into the vacated net.
That goal would be the Hornets only shot on goal in the second half while Evans made two second-half saves and has now been a part of consecutive shutouts in her first two collegiate games. Sacramento State had a 14-7 overall shot advantage and was 7-1 in corner kicks.
Sacramento State's four-game winning streak is just one win shy of the program record of five, set in 1994. The Hornets have won four straight games for the first time since 2007, the season in which the team won its first ever Big Sky Tournament title.
After the rest of the league plays on Sunday, the Hornets will return to action in their regular-season finale next Friday at 1 p.m. at Portland State.