Sac State men’s soccer beats UC Irvine for first home win of the season

Hornets win during alumni anniversary celebration


Dylan McNeill

Sacramento State’s men’s soccer team celebrates the final goal of the game scored by sophomore forward Christo Cervantes at Hornet Field on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Sac State secured a 3-2 victory against UC Irvine for the first home win of the season during the Sac State men’s soccer program’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Alec Ramey

The Sacramento State men’s soccer team defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters 3-2 on Saturday to pick up the squad’s first home win of the season in the second game of Big West conference play.

Hornet Field had more in the crowd than a normal home soccer game due to Saturday’s game being the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sac State men’s soccer. 

Over 20 minutes had passed before either team made a mark on the scoreboard despite both teams attempting two shots each. 

Sophomore forward Francisco Magana put the Hornets on the board first in the 23rd minute off an assist by freshman forward Jhared Willcot.

UC Irvine failed to answer back before the end of the half. 

Early on in the second half, they cashed in on the opportunity to do so in the 48th minute on a penalty kick by junior midfielder Beto Alvarenga after a foul call on senior defender Tyler Moss to tie it up at 1-1.

The Hornets had three chances to take the lead back in the 49th minute but failed after shots from sophomore midfielder Alex Petty and freshman defender Alejandro Padilla were blocked and a shot from sophomore forward Titus Washington was off target.

The score remained tied until the 75th minute when the Hornets took their lead back at 2-1 on a penalty kick granted to freshman midfielder Axel Ramirez on a foul call toward UC Irvine freshman goalkeeper Luke Pruter.

The new lead didn’t last long as the celebration was spoiled when UC Irvine tied it at 2-2 in the 76th minute on a goal from Anteaters’ freshman midfielder Roman Warren assisted by redshirt junior forward Axel Adler.

The clock winded down, and it felt almost as if the Hornets were going to head into overtime for the third consecutive game. 

That would change when they took the lead back yet again at 3-2 in the 86th minute on a goal by sophomore forward Christo Cervantes assisted by Washington.

Ramirez said the goal sweetened the anniversary celebration. 

“It made it extra special, and it made us work extra hard,” Ramirez said. “We couldn’t let the party be ruined, and now we won and we go celebrate. Especially with all the alums, we can make them proud of us and let them know the program is in good hands.”

Cervantes said playing at home and scoring the winning goal also sugarcoated the victory. 

“It’s more important that this our first home win, and since we’ve been struggling, that we turn up here in the conference,” Cervantes said. “It’s extra special that we did it in front of our fans on the 50th anniversary with a lot of alumni watching. To score the winning goal, you can’t compare anything to that, especially what it means to win a game in the conference with the time there was left.”

The foul count at the end of the game was at 15 for Sac State and 10 for UC Irvine, which is considerably lower than usual. Head coach Michael Linenberger said the game was not one where they had to play aggressively.

“I didn’t think it was an overly physical or dirty nasty game,” Linenberger said. “[UC Irvine] had a lot of the ball today [Saturday], and we knew they would. We had to be compact and organized defensively to try and make it difficult for them. 

Linenberger said a lack of patience factored into the team’s performance in earlier games.

We wanted to hit them on the counter which I thought we had some success with,” Linenberger said. “We also have to be patient defensively, and sometimes in earlier games we’ve lacked patience and thought we’d have to win the ball right away.”

The Hornets improved to 3-6-2 for the season and 1-0-1 in conference while the Anteaters now sit at 3-7-1 on the season and 1-1-0 in conference. 

The Hornets are set to take the field again on the road Wednesday night at CSU Northridge at 7p.m.