Men’s soccer set to start difficult Big West Conference play

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Clifton Jones

Sacramento State men’s soccer will look to rebound after a dismal start to the season when Big West conference play begins Friday.

Sac State finished the non-conference season with a record of 2-3-3, the lone win coming against San Jose State.

Hornets senior midfielder Gabe Silveira isn’t deterred by his team’s slow start.

“We all know once conference starts, it will be a fresh start even with us winning one game so far,” Silveira said.

Sac State is a member of the Big West Conference. The Hornets finished the first season in Big West last year with a 5-4-1, including two losses against Causeway rival, UC Davis.   

The Hornets are currently tied in last place with four total goals scored this season. However, with the lack of scoring, Sac State men’s soccer head coach Mike Linenberger said he is confident that his team will be prepared with the experience they have gained this season.

“The tough non-conference season for us has prepared the team well heading into conference season with one Southern California road trip under our belt,” Linenberger said.

According to the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, the Big West is well represented with Northridge in the top 25 nationally, at 6th overall. Four other teams received votes to join the top-25: UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“Opening weekend is going to (be) really tough for us this year with CSU Northridge, they were good last year,” Linenberger said. “UC Irvine had a great year last year as well, so we need to score more often than we have done before.”

Six freshmen will need to make an impact for the Hornets this season. Freshman defender Javier Munoz said the prestige of the Big West is enough to know what he will be getting into.

“Its one of the big conferences around, so it sort of speaks for itself,” Munoz said. “We have to be ready for it.”

Munoz is one of two freshmen that start on the back line, the other being Preston Davis.

“Communication is going to be key for us because the forwards and midfielders on the other teams are going to be faster and more talented than those we have faced before,” Munoz said. “Everyone is going to be on top of their game going into most of the conference season.”

The Hornets have not been able to play as disciplined as they would like t this season. Evidence being, the two red cards they have picked up in the last three games.

“We need to stay positive during games and energized,” Silveira said. “I am to blame for some of that.”

Sac State will open the conference season at home Friday against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.