One bad road trip does not a season make.
That's what Cal State Stanislaus women's soccer coach Gabe Bolton told the Warriors when they were "embarrassed" during a northern swing.
Stanislaus lost 7-1 each to Seattle and Seattle Pacific and 3-0 to Western Washington on a trip north Aug. 30-Sept. 3.
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"It was definitely a wake-up call," Bolton said. "There was some self-doubt there and questions about how good we are.
"To the players' credit, they said, 'We just need to buckle down and work a little harder.' They showed character."
The Warriors have gone 2-1-1 since returning from that trip and head into today's game at Cal Poly Pomona second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association's North Division.
Stanislaus played two games before its Pacific Northwest swing, both victories at home. The team's limited time together showed against No. 12 Seattle and No. 10 Seattle Pacific.
Bolton said the Warriors have been able to find a comfort zone and make strides defensively. He said the coaching staff had a message for the team when it returned from Washington that the Warriors seem to have taken to heart.
"Every single one of our goals is still ahead of us," Bolton said. "None of our goals are out of reach. As long as we learn and improve, we're going to be OK."
Freshman Jade Adamson and junior Adrienne Sorenson lead Stanislaus in scoring with four and three goals. Sorenson is a transfer from Sierra College in Rocklin who Bolton said has made a "huge impact" on the offense.
Among the returners, senior forward Chérie Early has been consistently "outstanding" on the wing and junior Melissa Phillips and freshman Christine Rust are watchdogs in the backfield.
"Melissa is a rock in the center back for us," Bolton said.
This weekend will be a big test for the Warriors, completing a four-game string of road games against CCAA opponents. Pomona, second in the CCAA South Division, is 6-1. Cal State San Bernardino, Sunday's foe, is 3-3-2 and hungry for a win after two recent losses.
Bolton said it will be another opportunity for the Warriors to prove themselves. While it can be a challenge to win away games, Bolton doesn't expect Stanislaus to cave from fatigue.
"To come back from that environment (in Seattle), other chances to score on the road pale in comparison," Bolton said. "Every game is an opportunity for us to get better. We can play with anybody on any given day."
Bee staff writer Kelly Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.