Men’s soccer draws with Saint Mary’s in physical game

State Hornet Staff

In the seventh and final game of its program-record homestand, the Sacramento State men’s soccer team tied with the Saint Mary’s Gaels 1-1 on Friday afternoon.

This game marks the fifth straight draw between the two programs.

Sacramento State’s record is now 2-4-2 heading into their final pre-conference game against CSU Bakersfield on Sunday afternoon.

Saint Mary’s extended their unbeaten streak to six straight games, partly due to their physical style of play that tends to slow the game down.

The game was an absolute battle from beginning to end. There were nine yellow card cautions, one red card and 37 total fouls.

Senior Chimdum Mez scored the first goal of the game in the 39th minute after he finished a header off a lobby from freshman Devante Raynor. The goal was Mez’s fourth of the season.

The Hornets went into halftime leading 1-0.

The momentum shifted in the 76th minute when freshman Devante Raynor earned his second yellow card of the game and was issued a red card. Raynor was disqualified from the game and had to leave the field for the remainder of play.

The red card left Sac State outnumbered with only 10 men on the field for the remaining 14 minutes of play. The Gaels were able to capitalize on their 11-on-10 advantage.

Mez talked after the game about how his team responded to the adversity of only having ten men on the field.

“We faced a lot of adversity in this game for the fact of going down to 10 men with a limited amount of time left,” Mez said. “I thought the boys worked hard and battled and I felt we were still going for the win.”

The Gaels tied the game in the 84th minute when midfielder Cory Schmidt delivered a free kick into the box and forward Michael Semenza sent a deflected header into the far corner of the post.

After the late goal, both teams took turns making runs, but neither team was able to pull ahead for the victory.

The Gaels outshot Sacramento State 20-11, including a 6-2 advantage in the 20 minutes of overtime.

Head coach Michael Linenberger said he was pleased with his team and the way they kept fighting back the entire game.

“I was pleased with our team’s performance in the first half,” Linenberger said. “I thought we had moments of good soccer. I thought our goal was fantastic. I thought it was the best, prettiest goal we’ve scored this year. Things that we’ve actually been working on in training came to fruition and I was happy with that.”

Linenberger also discussed the referee’s impact on the game.

“I question some of his decisions,” stated Linenberger. “I thought some of the yellows were not warranted, especially early in the game. He [the referee] could have just blown a strong whistle and had a chat with the player. I thought he started showing yellows early and then he was kind of stuck for the game.”

Sac State goalkeeper Teddy Sampson talked after the game about how injuries and adversity have brought this team closer.

“We had a lot of injuries,” Sampson said. “Then with the red card in the middle of the second half, it just put all the pressure on us. I felt like we really came together as a team.”

Sac State had only 15 players in uniform from their 25-man roster.

Sac State will travel to Bakersfield on Sunday to take on the Roadrunners at 1 p.m. in what will be the last game before Big West Conference play. Bakersfield ranks 15th in the NCAA with 2.29 goals per game and have outscored their opponents 16-5 this season.