Injuries Hamper Team

Jordan Santos

Sacramento State men’s soccer team has had a bizarre amount of injuries to key veterans and newcomers to the team currently.

Heading into the Hornets’ final non-conference game against CSU Bakersfield, the team had only 15 healthy position players on their 25-man roster.

“I mean every team goes through it right? The last week or so was unusual when we have 13 healthy players,” said the men’s soccer coach Michael Linenberger. “But, we are back to about normal now. We have to deal with it.”

Sac State did return several key contributors just in time for its Big West Conference opener against UC Riverside. Captain Mason McCann and sophomore defender Andrew Gosselin returned to play on Thursday. Both were extremely effective and appeared to be healthy.

Phillip Bru, Brad Bumgarner, Mathew Fisher, Trevor Jackson and Devante Raynor all missed the first conference game at home against UC Riverside. The Hornets lost 0-4 in the game and it was apparent that they needed all the bodies they could get.

Bru is expected to return to this weekend’s game despite nursing a quad and hamstring injury. He was the starting goalie for the Hornets at the beginning of the season until the quad injury sidelined him for the last four games. 

In his give-game stretch as the starter, the redshirt sophomore won two games against San Jose State and Cleveland State for an overall record of 2-2-1. He also had a combined 20 saves during those five games with an overall saving percentage of 74. 

Bru realized that injuries are inevitable in sports and that the best thing to do is to just focus on things that you can control. “Well injuries are always expected at this point in the season,” Bru said. “But we can’t control who gets injured. We can only control how we respond to them.”

The specifics of Bumgarner’s and Jackson’s injuries are undisclosed and there is no timetable for their return.

Bumgarner is a true freshman forward who started four years at Mountain View High School where he totaled 54 goals and 30 assists in 68 games. Jackson is a sophomore midfielder who played in all 18 games last season and started two of those games as he progressed into a crucial player for the Hornets. This season Jackson only played in the opening game against Temple in Philadelphia.

“Trevor Jackson, a projected starter at the beginning of the season, he hasn’t played since the first game of the year,” Linenberger said. “And then one of our top recruits, Brad Bumgarner, who hasn’t played and may not play for the rest of the year.”

Freshman forward Raynor hurt his hamstring in early October and might miss the entire season due to the injury. Raynor has been taken off the active roster list and was one of the young stars who helped spark the Hornets’ offense.

“We may have lost Devante to a hamstring injury. We don’t know how long he will be out,” Linenberger said.

Fellow freshman Fisher has been sidelined due to an undisclosed injury and there is no timetable for his return. He is a redshirt freshman forward who played two years of varsity at Granite Bay High School. Fisher led Granite Bay to two Sierra Foothill League titles in 2011 and 2012. He was named all-conference in each of those championship seasons.

Sophomore defender Preston Davis has a theory as to why some of the younger players are more injury-prone than some of the veteran players.

“Playing college soccer is hard on the body and I think that a lot of the new guys are strug- gling to adjust to the stress that the body goes through during the season,” Davis said. “The injuries have made it hard to get established and have a con- sistent lineup. But, at the same time, it’s given some players an opportunity to get minutes on the field. Hopefully as we move into conference, we can get the whole team healthy and finish strong.”

Linenberger is looking forward to his team getting healthy and was particularly pleased that one of his star players returned just in time for conference play.

There are nine conference games remaining for the Hornets.

The team is hoping to return to full strength and compete in the Big West after coming off their 1-0 double overtime win against CSU Fullerton.

Sac State has its next confer- ence game on the road against Cal State Northridge on Thurs- day, Oct. 9.