Sac State men’s soccer hold on to defeat Titans, 1-0


Joesph Daniels

Sacramento State defender John Quintanilla chases after the ball against Cal State Fullerton. Sac State won 1-0 at Hornet Field on Oct. 6, 2016.

Kameron Schmid

The Sacramento State men’s soccer team is now 2-1 in conference-play after beating Big West opponent Cal State Fullerton at home on Thursday due to a heads up score in the second half by senior forward Nate Nugen.

Nugen, who now co-leads the Hornets (6-4-1) with four goals so far in the season, scored a header after a crossing assist by senior defender Argenis Ramos in the 73rd minute to put Sac State up 1-0.

However, senior midfielder Ivan Ramirez another co-leader in goals scored received a red card three minutes later, leaving the Hornets one player short to protect their lead. Sac State sank back on defense, controlled the ball during possessions and held on to defeat the Titans (5-7-0) 1-0.

The red card on Ramirez was Sac State’s only carded penalty during the match, while Fullerton received five yellow cards, one against their coach for excessive complaining. Fullerton also was called for 12 non-card penalties, while Sac State was called for six.

Head coach Michael Linenberger said when conference games like this start, things get more physical and more chippy between players.

“I just think conference games are intense,” Linenberger said. “You’re playing for points, you’re playing for your postseason life. Things get a little bit heated at times, a little bit intense, but I didn’t think it was nasty today.”

Ramirez, who will now miss the next game after receiving the red card, was carded for going cleats-up at another player. But from his perspective, it was a 50-50 ball that didn’t warrant a red card during a tense part of the game.

“Maybe the ref was just trying to send a message, like, ‘stop it,” Ramirez said. “But I feel like a yellow card would have done just that. In our conference, if you rack up enough yellow-cards, you’re still gonna be out a game.”

Ramirez said he was ultimately happy to have won the game, but that it was “bittersweet.”

Of Nugen’s four goals scored this season, it was Nugen’s first scoring header, something he had noticed and been thinking about before the game.

“I’m considered one of the more aerial guys on our team, and I hadn’t scored a header goal yet,” Nugen said. “I saw Arnie running down the line, he did fantastic with it. Saw him look up, he picked me out and I just cut across the defender and got my head on it and the ball did the rest.”

His goal was one of only three official shots on goal from the Hornets, as during most attacking opportunities, they seemed to make the extra pass often and end up losing possession before taking a shot. Linenberger said aggressiveness is still something they’re working on as a unit.

Nugen said the team is feeling strong together as a unit, and ready to try and continue their Big West success.

“Spirits are soaring right now,” Nugen said. “6-4-1 is a phenomenal record to have, 2-1 in conference, securing six points here and now early in the conference run.”

Sac State next plays at home against UC Riverside at 3 p.m. this Saturday. Riverside is 7-4-1, coming off of two straight wins over UC Davis and Cal Poly.