San Diego SeaLions Open Playoffs Versus California Storm
The San Diego SeaLions open the 2016 WPSL Western Regional Playoffs versus rival club California Storm at Sacramento’s Bonney Field on Saturday. The SeaLions qualify for the playoffs for the fifth time in the past six seasons as they prepare to take on a Storm side led by Ghana Women’s National Team standout Sherifatu Sumaila.
“There’s no predicting the outcome of a SeaLions-Storm soccer game,” says San Diego head coach Jen Lalor. “These teams have a rivalry that extends even back before the founding of the WPSL.”
Indeed, stats go out the window in the WPSL Western Regional Playoffs, often acknowledged as the toughest women’s soccer region in the world. Because while the SeaLions (8-0-1) have outscored their opponents 25-4 so far this season, with 13 different players finding the net, the Storm (8-1-1) have done so at a 35-8 clip, led by Ghana Women’s National Team standout Sherifatu Sumaila’s 9 goals and 13 assists. Fiona O’Sullivan (Notts Co.) and Teresa Noyola (Stanford) have tallied 6 each, with Caree Curtis (Sonoma State) getting four.
San Diego’s scoring this season has been more widely-distributed, with 13 players having found the back of the net. Angelina Hix (Mira Costa College) led the team with eight goals, followed by Elise Britt (UCLA) with four and Rosie Tantillo-Colon (USC /FC Gold Pride) with three.
“I think that’s a key to our success,” adds Lu Snyder, San Diego assistant coach. “All of our players believe they can and will score in any game, anywhere. That attitude is difficult to defend.”
San Diego’s stifling defense has been the real story this season. Led by Goalkeeper Kaycee Gunion (CSU-San Marcos) and the SeaLion back line of Grace Shevlin (SDSU), Leigh Ann Brown (USD), Caroline Shevlin (St. Mary’s), and Karina Cisneros (Chapman), they’ve yielded the fewest goals (4) and most shutouts (6) per season in club history and the league’s sixth-best goals-against average (0.444).
The SeaLions and Storm, who face off at 10:30 a.m. at Sacramento’s Bonney Field, are joined in the playoffs by two other undefeated clubs — Seattle Sounders Women (8-0) and L.A. Beach FC (6-0-2) – who play each other at 1:30 on Saturday.
Track the SeaLions’ 2016 playoff run in real-time live on the ScoreStream mobile app here.
Source/Photo Credit: San Diego SeaLions