Men’s soccer continues playoff hunt, beats UC Davis in OT

Jordan Santos

Sacramento State men’s soccer (6-9-3, 4-4-1 Big West) knocked off division leader UC Davis (6-3-9, 4-3-2 Big West) on the road 3-2 in overtime Saturday afternoon.

The Hornet’s’ second consecutive road win put themselves in third place with 13 points in the North Division and only one point behind UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis for first place.

“It was one of the craziest games I have ever been a part of,” said Hornets coach Michael Linenberger. “The three points puts us directly in the mix for a playoff spot.”

The game was one of the most physical of the season and resulted in a combined three red cards, seven yellow cards and 22 fouls.

UC Davis earned two red cards in the first half alone, with the first one resulting in the third minute of the game when UC Davis midfielder Eddie Manella committed a hard foul. The red cards left UC Davis short-handed for the entire game and allowed the Hornets to take advantage early.

Hornets sophomore defender Andrew Gosselin scored his first goal of the season and the first goal of the game off a cross from sophomore Bert Corona in the 29th minute.

UC Davis tied the game in the 54th minute after senior forward Matt Sheldon drilled a shot in from only three yards out.

The Hornets responded in the 69th minute after freshman midfielder Paul Geyer scored on a shot to the far post from the left side of the box to take the lead 2-1.

However, UC Davis would not give up despite playing 9-on-11 for the majority of the match.

UC Davis tied the game 2-2 at the 75th minute after Ramon Martin Del Campo scored his second goal of the season off of a penalty kick.

Neither team scored for the remaining 16 minutes and the game went into overtime with the Hornets losing Chimdum Mez in the 90th minute due to a red card. The ejection changed the game to a 9-on-10 contest with UC Davis still being down one man.

Mez will miss the final game of the season because of the red card.

The Hornets Gosselin scored the game-winning goal in the 98th minute after Andres Garcia crossed the ball into the box off a free kick and Gosselin finished it with a header.

Gosselin was congratulated by Mez and the rest of his teammates after the game, as his effort was essential for the win.

“I’m glad we kept on fighting and I’m really proud of Andrew for his two goals today,” Mez said. “Now we got to take care of business on Wednesday so we qualify for the tournament and I have plenty of confidence that our team will do so.”

Linenberger knows that this victory was the biggest of the season for the Hornets because it keeps them alive in the hunt for the playoffs.

Hornets goalkeeper Philip Bru was happy for the win, but realizes that the Hornets could have executed play better with UC Davis being outmanned nearly the whole game.

“We didn’t play nearly as good as we needed to and we made it very difficult on ourselves,” Bru said. “But at the end of the day, the win puts us in a great position to get into the playoffs.”

The top six teams from both the North and South Division of the Big West Conference play in the conference tournament. The playoff picture will be more clear after this weekend’s games with only one game remaining in the Big West season on Wednesday.

Cal Poly against UC Santa Barbara game this Sunday will determine the standings in the North Division before each team’s final game.

UC Santa Barbara goes on the road to play Cal Poly on Sunday at 5 p.m. If Cal Poly loses, the Hornets will remain in third place in the division. If Caly Poly wins, then there will be a three-way tie for the North Division lead between UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly with each team having 14 points.

If the Hornets win on Wednesday against UC Santa Barbara they are guaranteed a spot in the Big West postseason.

The Hornets have their final game of the season at home 2 p.m. Wednesday against UC Santa Barbara.