The conference playoffs for soccer are underway and both the men and women soccer teams have their first-round matchups today.
Women’s soccer hosts Cal State San Marcos at 3 p.m. and men’s soccer travels to Cal State San Bernardino at 2 p.m.
Both teams finished the regular season strong. The women ended with a four-game winning streak and placed as the fourth seed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The men placed in the fifth seed of the CCAA and with a three-game winning streak. . SF State is also ranked in the NCAA Division II west region poll. Men’s soccer is ranked seventh and women’s is ranked ninth.
Women’s soccer has a pair of CCAA player of the week award winners, Sophomores Nicki Rucki and Tami Kwong. Rucki was named player of the week for Sept. 17-23 for her three shutouts. Rucki has started in goal for 16 games for the Gators and has a save percentage of 87 percent, including multiple penalty kick saves. Kwong is the Gators’ leading scorer with five goals and her last two key goals against Stanislaus State and Chico State earned her the player of the week honors for Oct. 15-21, as well as clinching the Gators’ spot in the playoffs.
The Gators hosted CSUSM on Oct. 5 and defeated the Cougars 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Kwong. The Cougars committed 10 fouls against the Gators, and the only two SF State fouls by Alyssa Pigoni and Emily Kaleal were given yellow cards in the last five minutes of the match.
This is the first time women’s soccer has been in the playoffs since 2010, when the Gators won the CCAA championship and played in the NCAA Division II national tournament.
The men’s offense has been clicking recently. Over the last seven games, the Gators have outscored their opponents 13-2. Senior forward Carlos Trujeque Leal is leading the team in goals, with five this season. Sophomore forward Clayton Sato and Senior midfielder/defender Aydan Bowers have four goals each.
Sophomore Peter Swinkels has started all 16 games in goal for the Gators and is one of the top goalkeepers in the conference. Swinkles leads the conference in save percentage at 89 percent and is top three in shutouts per game, saves per game and goals against average.
Men’s soccer lost 1-0 at Cal State San Bernardino earlier this season on Sept. 21, a game in which the Gators only managed to have one shot on goal.
This is the second year in a row the men’s soccer team has made the conference playoffs, after breaking a drought that dated back to 1978. The Gators advanced to the semifinals last year when they upset UC San Diego in the first round.