Men’s soccer holds first place in Northern Division with an undefeated conference record

James Heck

The Sacramento State men’s soccer team continued its four-game winning streak by defeating Big West Conference opponent CSU Fullerton 2-1 Friday at Hornet Field.

The Hornets (6-4-1, 3-0 Big West) remain undefeated in its first year in the Big West Conference and are first place in the North Division. The Titans (4-8-1, 0-2-1 Big West) were on a three-game winning streak against non-conference opponents heading into conference play, but remain winless against Big West opponents.

Hornet forward Nate Nugen kicked off the game by scoring only 42 seconds into the match, giving the Hornets a 1-0 lead. Forward Isaac Ikyurav, the Big West Conference offensive player of the week and Soccer America Men’s National team of the week member, crossed the ball to Nugen, who shot the ball past Titans’ goalkeeper Robbie Hannon.

The Hornets continued the pressure in the 21st minute when midfielder Chris Sandoval received a cross near the top of the Titans’ box and struck the ball into the lower left corner of the goal. The goal marked Sandoval’s fourth of the year and sent the game to 2-0.

Sandoval is tied with midfielder Gabe Silveira, leading the Hornets with 4 goals each. Sandoval is also tied with Ikyurav with a team-high 10 points on the season.

As the game went on, CSU Fullerton started to make adjustments and the game became more evenly matched – and rowdy.

Twice, players had to be separated from scuffles. In the second half, each team committed 12 fouls and seven yellow cards were issued to players on both sides.

With a late push, Titan Gerzon Blanco crossed a ball to Andrew Afia, who then scored and sent the game to 2-1. Afia’s goal was his first of the year.

With only eight minutes remaining, the Hornets held off the Titans’ last efforts and seized the victory.

The Hornets outshot the Titans 15-12 and had five corner kicks to the Titans’ four.

Both goal keepers were credited with six saves throughout the night.

The Hornets’ next game is 1 p.m. Sunday against Big West Conference No. 24 UC Riverside at Hornet Field.

James Heck can be reached at [email protected]