THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.– Cal Lutheran has reached the SCIAC Postseason Tournament every season since its inception in 2006, and the Regals hope to capture their third SCIAC Postseason Tournament Championship and return to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time.
The Violet and Gold come into the semifinal matchup with an overall record of 11-2-3 (8-2-2 SCIAC) and are currently on great form, winning nine of their last 10 matches and bring a three-game win streak to Thursday's contest.
CLU will host number-three seed Chapman at William Rolland Stadium, who are also playing some confident soccer. With an overall record of 11-3-3 (7-3-2 SCIAC), the Panthers have won back-to-back matches heading into the postseason tournament while winning three of their last four games.
The two teams met on Sept. 25 at Chapman and the sides would battle to a scoreless draw. The Regals were struggling to find the back of the net at that point of the season and the Panthers were in a rut themselves in late September.
Fantastic defense has been a strength for both sides ahead of Thursday's contest as Cal Lutheran have posted eight clean sheets this season while Chapman have 10 of their own.
Leading the Regals offensively, Alexandra Fagerberg has been in excellent goal-scoring form as of late. With eight goals in her last 12 matches, the junior forward leads the team in both goals (9) and points (22) with four assists to her name as well.
While Fagerberg has been the goal-scorer as of late, Mandy Crawford is featured as the team's focal point in the final third. The talented freshman forward has used her brilliant hold-up play and dynamic ability to create, notching six goals and six assists in her first season at Cal Lutheran.
Not to be overlooked is the defensive backline, as the quartet of Katie Weaver, Zandra Stewart, Trinity Martinez and Aly Legrand have been stellar. The center back pairing has truly anchored the middle of the defense while Martinez and Legrand have showed their class while defending out wide. Martinez has also provided some support going forward as well as set-piece ability on corners and free kicks.
Legrand has stepped into an important left back role after Danielle Vis was transitioned to a left-wing position about halfway through the season. Vis has used her pace and dribbling ability to create space in wide areas and has managed to be quite dynamic on the attack, contributing three goals and two assists on the year.
In midfield, Maddy Griess and Sonia Chan have had great seasons to this point. Griess has put her defensive ability on display and can be dangerous with her patented long throw-in abilities. Chan has been the midfield engine, constantly winning possession and facilitating in the middle of the pitch. The Foster City, Calif. native has shown her ability to play incisive passes going forward along with her free kick prowess.
In goal, Alexa Soto has also been in good form, allowing just six goals in 1,134 minutes of play. The sophomore has made 62 saves on the year, recording a 0.48 goals-against average. While Soto has earned the starting spot, Gabby Flores has stepped in at many crucial points during the season. In the Regals' last match, Flores stepped in for Soto in the 14thminute and managed to shutout Occidental and hold onto a 1-0 victory.
Head Coach Frank Marino earned his 150thwin after Cal Lutheran's 3-0 win over La Verne on Oct. 5. Marino needs just three wins to pass Dan Kuntz for the most wins in CLU women's soccer history. With five SCIAC Championships and NCAA Postseason appearances under his tenure, Marino will look to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.
Cal Lutheran will host number-three seed Chapman for the semifinal round of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. inside William Rolland Stadium.
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director