Hornets lose 2-1, but postseason hopes alive

Christopher Bullock

With a possible postseason berth on the line, the Sacramento State men’s soccer team needed a win in the worst way.

Unfortunately, UC Santa Barbara, ranked No. 17 nationally, was not about to let that happen.

In an intense rematch, the Gauchos (11-5-2 overall, 6-2-1 in the Big West Conference) beat Sac State (6-9-2 overall, 3-5-1 in the Big West) 2-1 in Santa Barbara on Wednesday to ensure themselves no worse than second place in the North division with one game left in the season.

Sac State coach Michael Linenberger was not happy about the loss but commended his players on their toughness.

“We kept fighting, and we came close to tying the game on a couple of occasions,” Linenberger said. “In all the games we’ve played in Santa Barbara, this was the most competitive we’ve played.”

The loss sent Sac State home with a slim chance at making the Big West postseason tournament. After Cal Poly (4-1-4 in the Big West) and UC Davis (3-3-3 in the Big West) tied 0-0 in double overtime on Wednesday, the Big West North division is looking to be a little more clear.

With Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara clinching a spot in the Big West tournament, Sac State and UC Davis are both in danger of missing out. Sac State needs a win against Cal Poly on Saturday, Oct. 31, as well as either a UC Davis loss or tie against UCSB on the same day. With Sac State holding the tiebreaker over UC Davis after their Oct. 24 win, the Hornets would clinch third place and a berth in the Big West Tournament for the second consecutive season.

UCSB junior forward Nick DePuy wasted no time getting himself involved in Wednesday’s match, scoring his first goal of the game on a Duncan Backus assist two minutes in. Sac State was outshot by UCSB 5-2 overall in the first half, but held UCSB to only two shots on goal in the half.

In the 52nd minute, UCSB freshman Geoffrey Acheampong earned his 10th assist on the season when he sent a cross kick to DePuy at the far post. DePuy scored on a header try for his Big West-leading 16th goal on the season and his second of the game.

Sac State responded quickly on the ensuing possession. Junior Ivan Ramirez took possession of the ball and dribbled to the middle before passing to senior Isaac Flores, who scored his fourth goal of the season to put the Hornets on the scoreboard. The assist was Ramirez’s sixth of the season, tied for fifth-most by a Sac State men’s soccer player in a season.

The Hornets would continue to press, with five shots in the second half. However, they would not get another shot on goal. Freshman Christian Guzman sent a flip throw to junior John Quintanilla, who saw his header attempt sail over the goalpost.

The Hornets will lace up, for possibly the last time this season, this Saturday against Cal Poly at 3 p.m. at Hornet Field.