CSU Stanislaus women's soccer team remains unbeaten with overtime victory

bvanderbeek@modbee.comSeptember 29, 2013 

— Gabe Bolton had two chances to celebrate on Sunday.

The second was more meaningful, coming after Sabrina Williamson's second-overtime golden goal gave Cal State Stanislaus a 2-1 victory over CSU Monterey Bay.

The first celebration was something Bolton will be feeling much longer.

The Warriors' women's soccer coach jumped straight up after Karenee Demery's second-half goal forged a 1-1 tie, and by the time he landed Bolton knew something was wrong.

"I landed and I thought somebody kicked me," Bolton said, limping around with a calf strain.

Sailing along with a 7-0-1 record — the program's fastest eight-game start — and a No. 11 national ranking, Stanislaus (5-0-1 in California Collegiate Athletic Association action) plays every game with a target on its back. Every team wants to knock off the lead dog, and teams visiting Warrior Stadium gladly would settle for a tie.

The Otters (3-4-1, 2-3-1) were in position to come away with the point, matching the Warriors bump-for-bump and push-for-push through the first 10-minute overtime.

"A lot of teams want to come in here and disrupt our tempo, and Monterey Bay not only tried to do that, but they did a great job of just playing good soccer," Bolton said. "They're a very good team, and we had to fight hard to get the win."

With just 184 seconds remaining before the game would have ended in a tie, Demery won possession about 40 yards out, turned and fired a ball ahead to Williamson, streaking up the right side.

The sophomore from Elk Grove took a dribble to her right to set the angle, then easily beat Otters' keeper Lily Garza for the game-winner, prompting a mass-celebration as the Warrior players streamed from the bench area.

"I was waiting for the pass," Williamson said. "It's pretty tough to be patient because I'm a speed player and I like to go. I couldn't be offside. I waited for the right time to break on the pass through and just had to lay it off.

"It is a lot of relief getting the win. We want to win all our games and we know all of these teams are going to come hard at us and be happy getting a tie. We don't want to give them that pleasure."

Bolton waited until the players got back to the bench to join in.

"It helps to have a culture of winning," Bolton said. "It can hurt you if you start assuming that you're going to win every game, but there's a plus to having that mentality. We use it in a positive way in that we knew we would get that first goal back."

Monterey Bay broke a scoreless tie in the 58th minute when Jami Murray blasted home a shot from the top of the box following a flick off a free kick. It was one of only two shots put on goal the entire game by the Otters, who were outshot 21-6 overall.

Stanislaus needed only 14 seconds to counter, with Demery getting her eighth goal of the season off a quick rush and a centering pass by Williamson to point-blank range, setting off Bolton's muscle-pulling effort to get airborne.

"Apparently, I'm not in shape," Bolton said. "But that's what I get for a two-hour workout before the game to get my nerves down."

STANISLAUS MEN 3, MONTEREY BAY 1 — The Warriors, historically a very good team at home, got first-half goals from Brady Taylor (Pitman High), Carlos Gavino and Gerardo Cazares (Central Valley High) before cruising to their first home victory of the season.

The victory was a step forward for the young Warriors, whose 26-man roster includes 14 freshmen and sophomores and only two seniors. But head coach Dana Taylor doesn't want to accept youth as a reason for under performing, especially as Stanislaus (3-4-1, 2-4) approaches the mid-point of the season.

"You can only say you're young for so long," Taylor said. "We've had success here for four years and there's a standard that we expect to achieve. But we're slowly turning around to see what we need to bring to every match and the CCAA is tough to begin with.

"We may be young, but we can't be naive. We have a lot of great skill but we need to learn how to finish a game, how to bring what we need to a game for 90 minutes. We've had two games where we've brought it for 90 minutes, and in those games we fared well."

The Stanislaus men (3-4-1, 2-4) had gone 28-6-3 at home since the opening of Warrior Stadium in 2009, but were 0-3 this season and had been outscored 6-1 before Sunday's game against the Otters (4-3-1, 2-3-1.)

"Yes, we're very young," Taylor said, "so this was a good step — a very good step."

WARRIORS NOTES — Following the game, fifth-year women's assistant coach Jenni Rosenberg informed the team that she was leaving to become the head coach at Southern Oregon University, the NAIA school in her hometown of Ashland. … Tia Sidtikun, a freshman from Ripon High, saw 12 minutes of action in the midfield for the Otters. … Stanislaus stays home for another weekend of CCAA play, with UC San Diego visiting on Friday and Cal Poly Pomona on Sunday. … Warrior Stadium will host its first high school soccer game on Oct. 12 when Turlock and Pitman renew their crosstown and Central California Conference rivalry with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150. Follow him, @modestobeek.

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