Sac State men’s soccer season over, fell 2-1 to UC Davis

Aggies leap over Hornets into Big West playoff standings


Dylan McNeill

Freshman forward Jhared Willcot attempts to fake out a UC Davis defender on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Willcot finishes the year with a goal and two assists.

Dylan McNeill

On the road in front of a passionate Aggie home crowd, the Sacramento State men’s soccer team lost their rivalry matchup against UC Davis 2-1, knocking the Hornets out of playoff contention and ending Sac State’s season Saturday.

All the Hornets had to do Saturday was tie and they were headed to the Big West tournament. Unfortunately for Sac State, the Aggies were too much, leaping the Hornets in standings and clinching their playoff berth.

“At the end of the day you have to congratulate Davis,” said head coach Michael Linenberger. “I thought over the course of 90 minutes they were the better team today and deserved to win.”

The Hornets end their season at 5-10-3 and 3-4-2 in the Big West after losing to their causeway rival.

“When we play them, it’s not always a pretty soccer game,” Linenberger said. “We both needed a result in order to get in the tournament. It’s a rivalry, it’s a full stadium, the field is bumpy. It makes it hard to play beautiful soccer.”

The Hornets scored first Saturday when sophomore forward Titus Washington’s shot was blocked by the Aggies’ redshirt freshman goalkeeper Charles Janssen, but sophomore forward Christo Cervantes gathered the rebound and deposited a shot into the goal to make the score 1-0 in the 38th minute.

“Titus took a good shot and I knew if he shot that the goalie wasn’t going to hang on to it, so I knew to be there and as soon as I made contact with the ball I knew for sure it was going in,”  Cervantes said.

The lead was short-lived as the Aggies scored just five minutes later. UC Davis’ senior defender Kaleb Schirmacher got his shot past Hornet junior goalkeeper Ryan Curtis to even it at 1-1. 

The Aggies kept the momentum going early in the second half as they found the back of the net again when senior forward Robert Mejia scored the game-deciding goal in the 54th minute. 

Mejia’s goal proved to be the difference in Saturday’s game as his collegiate career lives to see the Big West tournament.

“It’s an emotional one, coming into the game knowing it could be my last,” Curtis said. “I tried to think of it the other way, come up with a win. We played a good team and didn’t play the best.”

Curtis finished the match with four saves on Saturday and the two goals allowed.

“I wouldn’t be who I am, where I am without them,” Curtis said. “The coaching staff is amazing, the school is amazing and my teammates that are here currently and ones I’ve played with in the past, they’re my best friends.”

The Hornets did not go down without a fight as they applied pressure onto the goal throughout the second half. The Hornets last chance of the season, a header by sophomore forward Michael Gonzalez was blocked by Janssen, his sixth and final save of the match. 

“Obviously it didn’t end how we wanted,” Cervantes said. “We’re out of the playoffs, our season’s over but it is what it is. We’ll get them next year, hopefully.”

The Hornets have now had a losing record in conference play every year dating back to 2017.