Posted by Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Sonoma State heads into conference women’s soccer play nationally ranked for the first time in four seasons.

Coming off a pair of convincing wins to open the 2012 campaign, Sonoma State is ranked 17th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll.

A trio of conference rivals also made the rankings: No. 3 Chico State; No. 13 Cal State Stanislaus; and No. 25 UC San Diego.

Not since 2008 had Sonoma State appeared in the national poll. The Seawolves last reached the California Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs the same season.

Entering the current campaign with great promise, Sonoma State was picked to finish second in the CCAA North and a spot in the league tournament.

So far, so good for Sonoma State following two wins at the Dixie State tournament in Utah.

Leading the scoring were All-West Region selection Sara Studer, from Oceanside, and Cara Curtin, the junior college Division III National Player of the Year at Santa Rosa Junior College and out of Maria Carrillo high.

Anchoring the defense are backs J.J. McFarlin from Santa Rosa High, and Gretel Amman out of Montgomery High. Defender Megan Foy of Sacramento is back to bolster the back line. Also returning as a starter is goalkeeper Alexis Sciacqua, another former Montgomery standout.

Sonoma State opens conference play Friday at Cal State Monterey Bay and follows Sunday at Cal State East Bay. The Seawolves home opener is Sept. 14 against San Francisco State.