Hornets prepare for tough test at home

Christopher Bullock

The Sacramento State men’s soccer team has been fairly successful at home, but on Wednesday they will face their biggest test of the season.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the Hornets will go toe-to-toe with No. 13 ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (9-3-1, 4-0 in the Big West Conference), a team the Hornets haven’t beaten since 1997.

Going into Wednesday’s match, the Hornets are 1-1-0 during their three-game home stand, with four goals scored during that stretch. The team started off the home stand with a dramatic 3-2 overtime win against UC Irvine on Thursday, Oct. 8. Three goals by three different Hornets (Isaac Flores, Jessie Gonzalez and John Quintanilla) netted them to their first conference win of the season.

The following game against CSU Northridge was not as successful. With the Matadors only allowing 14 goals all season going into the match, the Hornets needed to capitalize quickly. A first-half goal by redshirt freshman Brad Bumgarner gave them an early 1-0 lead. However, the Matadors scored two goals of their own in the second half, giving Sac State its first home loss of the season.

Sac State has a lot of catching up to do if they want to stay afloat in the Big West North division. Currently, the team is four points behind third place UC Davis, whom they play on Saturday. The other teams in the North (UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly) are a combined 6-0-2 in league play.

Two players that Sac State will be leaning on heavily for Wednesday’s match are Bumgarner and sophomore goalkeeper James Del Curto. Bumgarner leads the team with four goals on the season, tied for sixth in the conference. Del Curto has 36 saves on the season (tied for fourth in Big West), including a career-high 14 saves in the Hornets’ win against UC Irvine. The 14 saves were the most that any NCAA Division I goalkeeper has had in a game this season.

UC Santa Barbara has been dominating on the soccer field this season, winning its last five matches in a row. In those games, the team has outscored the opposition 13-2. UC Santa Barbara has also been fairly successful on defense this season, recording four shutouts.

Leading the charge for UC Santa Barbara will be junior forward Nick DePuy. DePuy has been the linchpin for his team, scoring a conference-best 12 goals this season, with seven game-winning goals (first in the NCAA). On Monday, Oct. 12, DePuy was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week for the third consecutive time in a row, a first for the conference.

UC Santa Barbara will also be leaning on freshman Geoffrey Acheampong. The Gauchos’ midfielder has five assists on the season, which leads the team. Acheampong also has three goals on the season.

The game will be held at Hornet Field at 4 p.m.