For the second time in three years, the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors captured the conference title as they defeated Sonoma State, 2-0, Sunday late afternoon at Warrior Stadium.
Katelyn Nebesnick, the tournament's most valuable offensive player, knocked in the penalty kick in the 66th minute to break the scoreless tie. Kirsten Coleman then hammer-down the nail in the final seconds as the Warriors won the 2013 California Collegiate Athletic Association championship.
"I told the team today that it was time to put another banner on the wall and another ring on their finger. They met the challenge head on," head coach Gabriel Bolton said. "I'm very proud. We gave a great effort."
The fifth ranked Warriors improved to 18-0-2 overall and will likely be hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships next week as the top seed in the West Region. Official tournament seedings, locations and times will be announced by the NCAA Monday afternoon.
The is the University's third consecutive soccer championship. Cal State Stanislaus also won the 2011 women's soccer championship. The men won the 2012 title in Carson.
"To win two championships in three years is a testament to these women, our alumni and the support we receive from our great university," said Bolton.
In Sunday's match, the Warriors and the 17th ranked Seawolves were matched-up evenly for the entire contest. Like Friday night's match against Cal State L.A., SSU defenders actually managed to contain Karenee Demery, the three-time CCAA most valuable offensive player and soon-to-be four-time All-American.
However, with most of the attention on Demery, the Warriors' depth prevailed during the tournament. Still, Demery was the one that drew the foul inside the goal-box to set-up Nebesnick's penalty kick attempt.
Demery got an one-on-one chance with Sonoma goalkeeper Allison Hadidian when she received a long pass over the top. But just as Demery was trying to juke around Hadidian, she was pulled down with the goalier receiving a yellow card — allowing a penalty kick at 65:48.
With her strong kick, Nebesnick converted the try to the lower-right corner past a diving Hadidian. It was Nebesnick's ninth goal of the year and her second penalty kick score.
"(The goal) felt great. I don't know what to say, it felt like our whole team scored, really, everyone on the sidelines, the bench…it's a team effort, not just me," said Nebesnick, who scored the game-tying goal in Friday's 3-2 overtime win against Cal State L.A.
In the final minute, with 37 seconds left to play, Coleman helped the crowd exhale to start the celebration with a goal that was assisted by Demery.
"We showed an incredible will to win today. We faced a lot of adversity this weekend and we refused to back down," added Bolton.
To add more amazing statistics to the magical season, the Warriors has now recorded 11 shutouts on the year and improved to 13-0 on home pitch this season. They gave up just two shots on goals in the title match and the defense has now held opponents 13 times.
Despite being out-shot and held scoreless in the first half (for the second straight game), the Warriors' never had a doubt they would come out ontop, according to Nebesnick.
"We were confident, we knew what we had to work on (in the second half," Nebesnick added. "We talked about it the locker room."
Chelsea Lewandowski directed the defense well for the week, allowed just one goal and recorded the shutout on Sunday to earn the tournament's most valuable defensive player.
Sabrina Williamson, Maryssa McDuffy and Demery also earned All-Tournament team honors. Williamson won the game for the Warriors on Friday in overtime.
CCAA All-Tournament Team
Most Valuable Offensive Player: Katelyn Nebesnick, F., Jr., Cal State Stanislaus
Most Valuable Defensive Player: Chelsea Lewandowski, D, Fr., Cal State Stanislaus
Carissa Kutkowski, Cal State San Bernardino, MF, Sr.
Andrea Lammers, Cal State L.A., MF, Jr.
Margi Osmundson, Sonoma State, F, So.
Gabby Squarcia, Sonoma State, MF, So.
Shayla Mellenthin, Sonoma State, D, Sr.
Allison Hadidian, Sonoma State, GK, Fr.
Sabrina Williamson, Cal State Stanislaus, F, So.
Maryssa McDuffy, Cal State Stanislaus, D, Fr.
Karenee Demery, Cal State Stanislaus, F, Sr.