By Paul Muyskens
Following a 2018 season that saw the Delta College women's soccer team make their first Final Four in program history, this year's team has continued to rewrite the program's record book. They will look to continue making history this weekend at De Anza College in Cupertino as they attempt to capture their first state championship.
"It was really amazing to watch them have that opportunity that they have really wanted so badly for a year," said Head Coach Adrienne Sorenson after a 1-0 win over Fresno City earned the Mustangs a trip to the Final Four for the second year in a row.
"I haven't seen them execute so well and in such detail the whole year. They were laser-focused on their goal and it wasn't easy with the wind, the rain, and the conditions were obviously not ideal but I think that we felt all year that we are not losing here."
During the season, the team went a perfect 14-0 at home and allowed just one goal on their home turf. Going 10-0-3 at home last season, the Mustangs have not lost a home game in over two years with their last home loss back on Nov. 10, 2017.
Returning to the Final Four the Mustangs will have a chance to get some revenge on Friday afternoon against a Santiago Canyon team that defeated them in the Final Four last season and is the defending state champions.
"I think it's more exciting that we go back against the same team that we played against last year," said sophomore Jaylin Meza, who has led the team with 18 goals this season and also scored their lone goal in last year's 2-1 season-ending loss to Santiago Canyon.
"Last year it was just an experience but now we know what we are going for," said Meza.
This season, the Mustangs have allowed a program-record low six goals, the majority coming on set pieces, on the season with goalkeepers Marcella Salyer and Callie Crain often each playing half of the game in goal.
"I'm very proud of both our goalkeepers, " said Sorenson. "It didn't come right away to her (Marcella Salyer). She wasn't handed anything and she has had to earn everything. It has been really cool to watch her grow as a goalkeeper, player, person, and leader. Callie plays in a lot of big moments and she has kind of stepped in like it is no big deal. Both of them have been outstanding. The whole backline throughout the year has done a great job."
While the defense has given up a record low for goals this season the offense has scored goals at a record pace led by Meza while freshmen Dayana Hernandez has scored 15 goals and Kylie Zentner has scored ten goals. So far this season 18 different players have scored at least a goal for the Mustangs while 11 players have scored four goals or more.
"I think this team more than any other team I have coached has a lot of different pieces," said Sorenson. "We have a lot of different looks. I think we are very unpredictable on how we can hit you. Our depth with the players that we have coming off the bench has been really impactful all season. I'm really proud of the buy-in by the whole group."
As a group, they have currently won 18 straight games and they won their first-ever Big 8 Conference championship earlier this season as they went 15-0-1 in conference play. For the season they are currently 23-0-2.
"We have always kind of been the underdog or the overachiever so this year kind of coming in with a target was different," said Sorenson as the team came into this season as one of the teams to beat with 18 players returning from last year. "I think the players handled it really well. They are never nervous and very confident in a good way. They love the big game."
Potentially two big games remain as they will take on Santiago Canyon on Friday at 1:15 p.m. With a win, the Mustangs would play in the state finals on Sunday at 10 a.m. against Lake Tahoe or San Diego Mesa.