The SF State women’s soccer team narrowly defeated the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros 1-0 on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Sophomore goalie Nicki Rucki (00) saved seven shots on goal and was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association women’s soccer player of the week for Sept. 17-23. This is Rucki’s fourth shutout in six games.
“Nicki has been phenomenal in all of our games,” Hamm said, “she’s starting to gain a lot of confidence and the team feels they can trust her back there. She has come up with enormous saves for us that have kept us in the game.”
Rucki correlated her recent success to the support she has been getting from her teammates.
“I can feel the love, I can feel the energy and it just really makes me want to keep going and keep doing what I’m doing,” said Rucki.
Marriah Perez scored the lone goal of the game off a penalty kick in the 23rd minute after Theresa Butcher committed a foul that lead the referee to give the senior a yellow card.
SF State controlled possession throughout the beginning of the first half, but at the end of the half and for most of the second half, CSUDH was able to turn things around and put pressure on the Gators.
“I think we lost our composure a little bit in the second half,” said Hamm, “we didn’t really stick to the game plan.”
The Toros’ best scoring opportunity came in the 60th minute when Gators defender Kylie Schneider was booked for a yellow card and gave the Toros a penalty kick. Jenn Garfias took the shot for the Toros but Rucki dove to her right to make the save.
“My main tactic is to get in the player’s head, let her know I’m there,” said Rucki, “I think she was about to change which direction she was going so I had to make a reaction save and push it out of bounds.”
The Toros continued to put pressure on the Gators defense by finishing the match with one last flurry of offense that lead Rucki to make a last minute save and hold onto the ball to bleed out the clock.
“We just need to make sure that we finish out a game and make it less interesting,” explained Hamm.
The Gators return to Cox Stadium on Friday, Oct. 5 to play Cal State San Marcos in a conference matchup between two teams who are separated by only one point in the standings.
“We definitely have to play direct, play smart, keep the energy going and stay hyphy,” Rucki said about the team’s strategy heading into Friday.
The game was broadcasted on Eleven Sports and the Gators’ game on Sunday, Oct. 7 against UC San Diego will also be televised on the network. UC San Diego is currently undefeated and ranked number one in the country.