Hornets fall to UNLV 3-1, celebrate the late Arath Chavez

First half goal not enough as Hornets move to 1-4


Dylan McNeill

Sacramento State midfielder Oscar Govea (right) dribbles through University of Nevada, Las Vegas defense as midfielder Axel Ramirez (left) stumbles on a defender on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2021 at Hornet Stadium.The Hornets fell 1-3.

Dylan McNeill

Sacramento State’s men’s soccer team lost 3-1 to University of Nevada, Las Vegas at Hornet Stadium on Friday. 

The Hornets struck first, scoring late in the first half on a 43rd-minute goal by junior midfielder Oscar Govea for his second goal of the season. 

“I was actually dropped low to start  the play, and knowing [senior defender Tyler] Moss, he hits those long balls all the time and I just made the left midfielder run,”Govea said. “Luckily, Tyler hit a great ball, and I was able to create good contact with the ball.”

Unfortunately for the Hornets, UNLV took control after halftime when Lateef Omidiji Jr. scored a goal 49 seconds in, tying the game 1-1.

RELATED: Sac State men’s soccer picks up first win of season with 3-2 score 

In the 75th minute, the Rebels took the lead when Marco Gonzalez found the back of the net to give UNLV. The lead extended further with another goal in the 86th minute.

Head coach Michael Linenberger said after the match that the team’s performance was slow and lethargic.

“We had one fantastic action, two minutes to go [in the first half],” Linenberger said. “Our goal was a fantastic goal, but other than that I wasn’t happy with our performance. Our energy was poor. We weren’t sharp; passing wasn’t crisp.”

The loss brings the Hornets to 1-4 on the season. Sac State is averaging just 1.20 goals per match, while allowing 2.40 goals per game.

“What killed us was the first goal that we conceded thirty seconds into the half, that was devastating,” Govea said. “It killed the momentum for us.”

Story continues below the image.

Sacramento State forward Eloge Iradukunda (right) gathers the ball in the second-half of the match on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2021 against University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The Hornets lost 3-1, dropping their season record to 1-4. (Dylan McNeill)

In the second half, the physicality went up as all eight of the games’ yellow cards were assessed, six of them against the Hornets. Sac State had 16 fouls to UNLV’s eight.

The Hornets struggled to get looks on the net. Including Govea’s score, they managed just two shots on goal for the match.

In the goal box junior keeper Ryan Curtis had three saves while also allowing the three scores from UNLV.

RELATED: Tribute: Arath Chavez posthumously voted ‘Best Male Athlete’ in Best of Sac State poll 

Friday’s match was a somber one for the Hornets, as they had a pregame celebration of life for their late teammate Arath Chavez who lost his life in a motorcycle accident in January of this year. 

”I mean he became a brother instantly,” Govea said. “When I got the news about his death, it was very devastating. I still think about him everyday. I’m close with his family, so it meant a lot to have them out here and be able to see them again.” 

Govea  met Chavez when the two of them first started attending  Sac State as freshmen together in 2018. 

“His spirit still stays around us,” he said. “He was a high-energy guy. Everybody loved him, positive guy all the time. The guys still think about him; we talk about memories with him all the time. It’s a sad but happy conversation.”

The Hornets return to action Monday at 7 p.m. at Portland University.