Stanislaus women's soccer team remains focused, clinches CCAA tourney's top seed

CSU Stanislaus women earn 1-0 victory, top seed in CCAA tourney

bvanderbeek@modbee.comOctober 27, 2013 

— All the regular-season goals have been reached.

By edging Sonoma State 1-0 on Sunday, the seventh-ranked Cal State Stanislaus women's soccer team clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, which will be held at Warrior Stadium on Nov. 8-10.

It also extended the Warriors' record to 13-0-2 overall and 11-0-2 in the CCAA and ensures they will take their top ranking in the Division II West Region rankings into the final week of the regular season.

But the reality is that this remains a team that believe its record only puts it position to achieve something really great.

"The way the region is set up, you have to keep producing," said coach Gabe Bolton. "We'd like to stay the No. 1 seed in the region because then, in theory, you could have home field advantage all the way to the Final Four."

The majority of the players on the veteran roster don't have to be reminded what is at stake in the final weekend of the regular season.

Last season, at this exact moment, Stanislaus sat atop the West Region and was ranked No. 6 in the nation. That was before it dropped its regular season finale, then was tripped-up in the first round of the CCAA Tournament.

In a flash, the team went from being on top of the world to left out of the NCAA field.

Karenee Demery, already firmly entrenched as the best ever to play for the Warrior women, insists her senior season won't end the same way as did her junior campaign.

"We're a pretty mature team and we've been able to stay focused on each game, no matter who we're playing," Demery said. "Every opponent is coming at us with their best and they're all great teams. We haven't had a problem staying focused and I don't think it will become a problem. I'm confident that we can keep it going."

Demery scored the game's lone goal in the 12th minute, running down a pass from Katelyn Nebesnick at the top left edge of the box before beating two defenders just short of the right edge, planting and drilling a shot back across the face into the lower left side.

It was her 19th goal of the season, marking the third time in her four years she's found the net 19 times. Her 73 career goals are 45 more than the second-most prolific scorer in school history.

And it stood up because the Stanislaus defense allowed only three total shots, none of which were on goal.

"This team gets it," Bolton said. "I love the fact that the defense is getting better every week and the team is getting smarter."

Sonoma, at 8-3-3 in the CCAA and 10-3-3 overall, entered as the No. 20 team in the nation and already has clinched a return trip to Turlock for the CCAA event. Having handed the Warriors one of their two draws in addition to Sunday's one-goal decision, a rematch between the league's top two teams could be in the cards.

"They are a great team and we know each other really well," Demery said. "They're going to take away things from us and we're going to take things away from them, so it's whoever can come up with the one or two goals.

"They make things difficult, but we got the 1-0 win and couldn't be happier. There's a good chance we could see them again and we look forward to that challenge."

Men's game

SONOMA 2, STANISLAUS 1 — The Seawolves converted a penalty kick and got a fortunate bounce on a shot off the crossbar to score twice in the second half and eliminate the Warriors from CCAA playoff contention.

Stanislaus, the defending league champion, fell to 7-8-1 overall and 6-8 in the CCAA, despite taking a 1-0 lead in the first half when Carlos Gavino netted a corner kick.

But Sonoma (8-4-4, 7-4-3) outshot the Warriors 15-6, including an 11-0 advantage in the second half, to move into first place in the North Division.

"We don't keep the ball well enough yet," said Stanislaus coach Dana Taylor. "We work hard at defending, but we're not good enough with the ball and we have to work on that.

"Today it was a P.K. and a rebound, but it doesn't matter. That's the game. It's good to you some days and not good to you on others."

The Warriors had won three straight matches to move into position to claim a playoff berth, but the slow start to the season was eventually too much to overcome. They'll still have a chance to post a winning record with home victories against Humboldt State on Friday and Cal State East Bay on Sunday.

"At one point we were three and a half games below .500 and now we're one game below and have two games against teams that we've played and beaten," Taylor said. "So our goal right now becomes to just get better for next year."

Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150 or follow him on Twitter, @modestobeek

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