With just three games to go in the season, Cal Poly women’s soccer team is currently in sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference thanks to standout seasons from sophomore forward Nikki Trucco and sophomore midfielder Camille Lafaix.

“I think we are both so competitive that we just want to win,” Trucco said. “We do not care who scores.”

Before a canceled 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Mustangs finished fifth in the conference in their 2019 campaign. The team scored just 21 goals that year, which the Mustangs have already surpassed in 2021 with 31 total goals so far. 

Trucco has recorded a team-high nine goals while Camille has a career-best of seven goals, which has helped the Mustangs to an overall record of 8-3 and a 6-1 conference record with three games remaining. 

Those goal totals place them in elite company in the conference, as Trucco currently holds the second place spot for most goals while Lafaix is in fourth. 

Both Trucco and Lafaix showed flashes of talent in their freshman 2019 campaign, as Trucco made the All-Conference Freshman Team and Lafaix was selected for the All-West Region Third Team. 

“We always saw it in them,” head coach Alex Crozier said. “It was not until this year where it started to click.”

This season “clicked” for the two sophomores thanks to huge improvements in their finishing ability, according to Crozier. 

“They were scoring some goals, creating chances, but not really finishing,” Crozier said. “Now they are doing a better job of finishing and it is huge because we are scoring goals and that is how you win games.” 

Their improvement has led to recognition from the Big West, as Lafaix has been named Big West Player of the Week twice while Trucco has been selected once. 

“It is kind of an unspoken thing that we are super competitive with each other, but I think we are just pushing each other to become our best,” Lafaix said. 

Outside of their accolades and success on the pitch, the two Mustangs have built chemistry with one another off the field to achieve their individual success. 

“Over time it is clear to see the relationship that we have built on the field is a result of how good our friendship is off the field,” Lafaix said. 

This relationship and its impact on the field has caught the eye of Crozier, as well.

“They play well off each other,” Crozier said. “They can find each other and they know where each other are going to be.”

Cal Poly women’s soccer has amassed 18 points this conference season, holding a two-point cushion over second-place UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.

The final stretch of games will play a key role in determining the final outcome, as the Mustangs face off against both UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State in their final three matchups. 

If Trucco, Lafaix and the rest of the Mustangs are able to maintain their position in the standings and win the postseason tournament, Cal Poly will have its first conference championship in women’s soccer since 2013. 

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