Sac State men’s soccer team starts season 4-2

Hornets focused on winning Big West Conference Championship


Sacramento State Athletics

Sac State freshman defender Genaro Alfaro fights for positioning against Santa Clara on Sunday, Aug. 25 at Hornet Field. The Hornets and Broncos played a 1-1 draw.

Vince Castellana

The Sacramento State men’s soccer team has gotten the 2019 season off to a good start with a 4-2 record and some key wins against top opponents.

The Hornets scored big wins against #25 Air Force on Sept. 6 and against previously undefeated University of San Diego this past Sunday on the road.

One major highlight for Sac State this season has sophomore midfielder Oscar Govea, who scored a goal in each of the team’s first two wins of the season.

According to men’s soccer head coach Michael Linenberger, another bright spot this season has been the chemistry and character of the team. 

Linenberger, in his 31st season at Sac State, said he helped foster the bond by having a group conversation with the team where his players could speak openly without repercussions. 

However, the coach said there are still areas in which the team can improve. Linenberger pointed out that the team had been out-possessed in their first two games and that there have been too many turnovers on their side of the field.  

Another area that needs improvement is the team’s ability to create scoring opportunities, according to Linenberger.  

“We feel like we should have scored three or four goals a game,” he said. 

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Six matches into the season, Sac State has yet to score more than twice in a game.

The Hornets have high goals set for the 2019 season. Linenberger said he expects his team to make the Big West Conference Tournament, win the tournament championship and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. 

Anything less than that would be considered a failure in the coach’s eyes.

The team understands that in order to reach the expectations that have been set for them, they will need to address all of Linenberger’s concerns. 

“Well, in every team there are going to be negatives,” freshman defender Genaro Alfaro said. “But we just have to come together, bring the team in, talk about it and get on with it.”

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According to Linenberger, one player to look out for this season is sophomore forward Benji Kikanovic.  Kikanovic was named the Big West Freshman of the Year in 2018.

“If I’m a fan, I’d pay money to watch him play,” Linenberger said.

The Hornets have a tough schedule ahead, especially the upcoming two-game road trip. 

Sac State will travel to face the #5 team in the country, the Indiana University Bloomington Hoosiers, on Sept. 27, and then face  #14 Saint Mary’s College of California, on Sept. 29. 

Sac State’s next game is Thursday against the University of San Francisco at 4 p.m. at Hornet Field.