With four straight wins to start the 2012 season, the Sonoma State women's soccer team has jumped 11 spots in one week to be listed as the No. 6 team in the nation, according to this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll. It is the highest national ranking for the women's soccer program since Oct. 16, 2000 when Sonoma State was ranked at No. 5.
Ranked 17th in the nation last weekend, the Seawolves cruised to two convincing wins over California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) North Division members Cal State Monterey Bay (4-0) and Cal State East Bay (3-1) to extend their season-opening win streak to four.
In its history, Sonoma State has twice opened up a season with at least four consecutive victories. In 1998, the program went undefeated (20-0-0) in the regular season and reached the NCAA Division II National Championship match, only to fall to Lynn University, 3-1, on Dec. 6 of that year and finish with a 22-2-1 mark. Then, in 2008, the Seawolves opened up with four wins en route to a 15-4-1 record in regular season play and a CCAA North Division title, but the team lost in the first round of the CCAA tournament, ending the season.
Two other CCAA teams are also featured in the NSCAA Top 25 poll -- Chico State at No. 14 and UC San Diego at No. 15. Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State San Bernardino are receiving votes.
Led by junior newcomer Cara Curtin, Sonoma State has outscored its opponents 13-3 this season, including a team-best five goals from Curtin, who was last year's NSCAA Junior College National Player of the Year at Santa Rosa JC. She is tied for the second-most goals in the conference with Cal State San Bernardino's Jani Carmona-Urbano, who scored all five of her goals this past weekend. Cal State Stanislaus' Karenee Demery leads the CCAA with six scores.
Senior Sara Studer (3), senior Elena Catania (2), freshman Margi Osmundson (2) and senior Ashley Martin (1) have accounted for the other eight goals scored by the Seawolves this season.
Sonoma State, which was picked in a preseason vote of the league's coaches to finish second in the CCAA North Division this season and to make an appearance in the conference tournament, just barely missed a spot in last year's CCAA tournament, finishing with an 8-7-3 overall record in Salzmann Dunn's first season at the helm of the program in 2011. It was a four-win improvement from the season prior and it was also the first winning season since 2008. In the last 18 matches that Salzmann Dunn has coached, the Seawolves are 12-4-2, dating back to Sept. 16, 2011.
The Seawolves will play in their regular season home opener on Friday, hosting San Francisco State at the Seawolf Soccer Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Cal Poly Pomona will then come to town on Sunday to face off with Sonoma State at 2:00 p.m., also at the Seawolf Soccer Field.
2012 NSCAA/CONTINENTAL TIRE NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN'S SOCCER TOP 25 POLL
1. Saint Rose (3-0-0)
2. Fort Lewis (3-0-0)
3. Grand Valley State (3-0-1)
4. Columbus State (4-0-0)
5. Slippery Rock (3-0-0)
6. SONOMA STATE (4-0-0)
7. West Florida (4-0-0)
8. Central Missouri (3-0-1)
9. Dallas Baptist (4-0-0)
10. Central Oklahoma (4-0-0)
11. North Georgia (5-0-0)
12. West Chester (4-0-0)
13. Bellarmine (3-0-0)
14. Chico State (3-1-0)
15. UC San Diego (3-0-0)
16. University of Tampa (4-1-0)
17. St. Edward's (4-0-0)
18. LIU Post (3-0-1)
19. Quincy (4-0-0)
20. Edinboro (4-0-0)
21. North Alabama (3-0-0)
22. Minnesota State-Mankato (3-1-0)
23. Massachusetts-Lowell (1-1-0)
24. Armstrong Atlantic State (2-1-1)
25. Lenoir-Rhyne (3-1-0)
Receiving Votes: Florida Tech, Cal State Stanislaus, Cal State San Bernardino, Truman State, Gannon, Rockhurst, University of New Haven.