Gators hand Chico State first loss, clinch postseason berth
Women’s soccer scored a last-minute goal to hand Chico State their first loss of the season and clinch a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2010.
SF State defeated the Chico State Wildcats 2-1 on Sunday, Oct. 21 on the last regular season game at Cox Stadium. The Gators overcame an early Wildcats goal and scored two goals in the second half, including a goal by Junior defender Niko Baila with 43 seconds remaining in the game.
After a Wildcats foul, Sophomore defender Janessa Staab kicked the ball from midfield into the box. After numerous clearance attempts by the Wildcats, Baila kicked the ball over the goalkeeper for the game-winning goal.
“I didn’t think it was a goal,” Baila said. “It went right underneath the crossbar.”
After the referee signaled a goal, Chico State head coach Kim Sutton went onto the field to argue, but referee George Efthymiou did not overturn the call.
As the whistle sounded for the end of the game, the entire SF State bench rushed onto the field and celebrated their victory.
Before the game, SF State honored their five seniors on the team: Madison Messier, Marriah Perez, Spenser Jaye, Ally King and Domenique Banta. They were accompanied by loved ones and given flowers.
“I couldn’t even imagine a better way to go out,” King said. “Emotions were pretty high, we were pretty frantic in the first half but we obviously stepped it up in the second half and played more of our game and just went at them.”
The Wildcats controlled possession during the first half and had nine shots, including Susanna Garcia’s goal to give the Wildcats the early lead.
The Gators struggled to find offensive momentum in the first half, but in the second half they put pressure on the Wildcats defense and after Sophomore forward Tami Kwong’s goal in the 74th minute, all the momentum was with the Gators.
“In the second half, we kept the ball on the ground and we did what we needed to do,” Perez said. “I have a lot of confidence in this team, I have since the beginning of the season. We’ve come a very long way since the beginning and every game I just get more confident in this team and I know we can really pull it off.”
With this win, the Gators clinched their spot in the CCAA playoffs for the first time since 2010. They are now in third place with 23 points. The Gators have completed their conference schedule but many teams in the conference still have two conference games remaining.
The first round of the CCAA playoffs will be on Tuesday, Oct. 30, and if the Gators are a third or fourth seed, the game will be held at Cox Stadium.
The women’s final game of the regular season is on Saturday, Oct. 27, when the Gators travel to UC Merced to take on the Bobcats.