Sac State men’s soccer shut out 2-0 against rival UC Davis


Joseph Daniels - The State Hornet

Sacramento State sophomore forward Christian Webb attempts a shot against UC Davis. Saturday, Oct. 14 at Hornet Field. Sac State attempted six shot attempts to UC Davis’ 14 during its 2-0 loss.

Thomas Frey

The Sacramento State men’s soccer team fell to Big West Conference rival UC Davis 2-0 Saturday at Hornet Field.

The Hornets (7-6-1, 3-2-1 Big West) entered the afternoon in a three-way tie for first place in the Big West North division with the Aggies (7-6-2, 4-1-1) and UC Santa Barbara.

Sac State had opportunities to score and build separation in the conference standings but couldn’t capitalize in the Causeway Classic. Senior defender Cylus Sandoval had one of these chances in the 33rd minute but booted the ball over the goalpost. Two minutes later, Sandoval crossed the ball in front of the net, but no teammates were there to punch it in.

The Aggies controlled the ball for most of the second half, and they nearly scored in the 58th minute after stealing the ball and passing to an open player downfield with nobody in front of him besides Sac State senior goalkeeper James Del Curto. However, the Hornets were spared from having to see the outcome of the play, after the referee called UC Davis offside.

Two minutes later, the Aggies struck the back of the net. The Hornets had a breakdown in front of its own net after UC Davis sophomore forward Adam Mickelson had the ball with only Del Curto to beat. With no defenders in the area, Del Curto was forced to move up and defend against Mickelson himself. That’s when Mickelson passed the ball to freshman defender Nabi Kibunguchy who tapped the ball into an empty net to take a 1-0 lead.

“That goal definitely made us lose some confidence,” Del Curto said. “We are college soccer players, we should have rebounded better, but we didn’t today.”

In the 67th minute, the Hornets had its best chance to score, after Sandoval took a corner kick and let the ball sail to junior midfielder Dominic Scotti, but they failed to punch the ball in.

“(Scotti) laid it off good, a little scramble in the box,” Sandoval said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a foot to it. It was a jumble in there, and they ended up clearing it out. We should have attacked that weakness of keeping it on the floor against them early. With them being big, they are going to want the ball in the air.

“They are big strong and fast guys. We tried to beat them at their own game, and they came out on top.”

In the 80th minute, UC Davis senior midfielder Noah Wilson put the final touches on the Aggies’ victory when he scored to bring Sac State’s deficit to 2-0.

Even with the loss, the Hornets are still in position to reach the playoffs. The top three seeds in the north and south division qualify for the postseason, and Sac State has a healthy seven-point lead over fourth place Cal Poly with four games remaining.

“We are still in the playoff hunt,” Del Curto said. “It’s only one game. If we rebound well, we should be fine.”

Sac State will continue Big West action against UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Hornet Field.