UC Santa Barbara dominates men’s soccer in second divisional game

Jordan Santos

Sacramento State men’s soccer lost 4-1 at UC Santa Barbara Wednesday night in the team’s second North Division game of the season.

The road loss puts the Hornets at 2-4-0 in the Big West Conference. The Hornets have lost each of their two divisional games thus far.

UC Santa Barbara was able to dominate the game by doubling the Hornets shots attempted, 15-7. UC Santa Barbara made their shots count as well, netting seven shots on goal compared to only one for the Hornets.

Coach Michael Linenberger knows how difficult it is to win in the Big West Conference, especially when you give up as many shots as the Hornets did Wednesday night.

“We gave them too many goals tonight and it is very difficult to come back from 0-4 on the road in the Big West Conference,” Linenberger said.

The first goal of the game was scored by UC Santa Barbara in the 17th minute when sophomore midfielder Andy Perez toe-poked a shot that was deflected into the net by Hornets goalkeeper James Del Curto. The goal was the first of the season for Perez.

The second goal of the match occurred in the 25th minute when UC Santa Barbara freshman midfielder Axel Mendez collected a cross inside the box from teammate Ludwig Ahl and fired a shot from ten yards out that went straight over Del Curto’s grasp.

Mendez’s goal gave the Hornets a two goal deficit heading into halftime.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, freshman Mendez wasn’t done yet.

In the 46th minute, Mendez scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway in which he beat Del Curto to the left and finished the shot to make the score 0-3. Mendez was assisted again by teammate Ludwig Ahl.

UC Santa Barbara scored their fourth and final goal of the game in the 50th minute when Duncan Backus scored off a free kick from just outside 18 yards to the right post. The shot was touched by Del Curto, but still managed to find its way to the back of the net.

Despite the four goal deficit, the Hornets kept fighting and showed their ability to handle adversity.

The Hornet’s perseverance would pay off in the 56th minute, when Chimdum Mez scored his seventh goal of the season on a breakaway where he beat the keeper to the left.

Mez has scored seven of the Hornets’ 12 goals this season and has tied the ninth-highest single season goals total in Sac State program history. 

“It was a tough loss, but we didn’t give up,” Mez said. “We kept on playing hard and got one back, but now we got to move on and get ready for the big game against Davis on Saturday night.”

Even though it was a tough loss, there are a lot of positive things to take away from the game.

Hornets goalkeeper Philip Bru made his first appearance since his hamstring injury and didn’t allow a goal in over 34 minutes of play.

“We just never found the game,” Bru says. “Plus mistakes in the back just cost us the game today. It’s hard to give goals away to a team that good and expect to compete. It just wasn’t our day.”

The Hornets focus their attention on the Collegiate Causeway Classico Saturday 7 p.m. against  UC Davis. The home game will be the first night game of the season for the Hornets at Bonney Field.