Men’s soccer’s back-and-forth match with Sacramento State ends in draw 2-2

CSUN redshirt freshman Jamar Ricketts, 11, dribbles past the Sacramento State defense in Northridge, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.

Bryan Hernandez, Reporter

After opening the season with two straight losses, CSUN men’s soccer sought to shift gears in their third game in the Big West Conference against Sacramento State Wednesday night.

From the whistle to the end of two full halves of overtime, it was a hotly contested back-and-forth match filled with four thrilling goals and end-to-end action, finishing 2-2 after 110 minutes.

With possession favoring the Matadors, Giovanni Aguilar recovered the ball in the midfield shooting from outside the box, but saw his chance go wide.

In the 27th minute, midfielder Oscar Reveles received the ball in the attacking third, then proceeded to twist and turn inside the penalty box, but was unable to find his footing, forcing an easy save for the Hornets’ goalkeeper, Ryan Curtis.

The Hornets responded right away with a counter attack that found a Hornets forward inside the keeper’s box, shooting directly at goal. Time stopped, but not for CSUN men’s soccer goalkeeper David Preys, who then used his right foot to save the ball.

Near the end of the first half, CSUN forward Khalid Hunter won the ball from a Hornets defender in the midfield with an impressive slide tackle. Hunter paced forward as Sac State players pressed him. He entered the penalty box and he shot low, but saw his opportunity go wide.

CSUN’s lapse in focus in the opening 15 minutes of the second half gave way to Sac State to take the lead off a Preys save that deflected outside the box. The deflection found Sac State midfielder Zack Mason, who released a shot high towards Preys’ left side.

CSUN flipped the switch with a series of passes between CSUN midfielder Oscar Cardenas, defender Jordan Isibor, forward Marvin Arias and Jamar Ricketts. In the 59th minute, Arias swung a low cross inside the penalty box to Ricketts, who slipped the ball inside the net to tie it up for the Matadors.

“I felt like I had a curse because I couldn’t score,” Ricketts said. “I kept shooting, but glad I got my goal!”

Matadors goalkeeper Preys kept his team in the game with eight saves and four key saves against Sac State. But for a moment he went from hero to zero as he misplaced the ball, turning it over to the opposition as defender Genaro Alfaro capitalized on the keeper’s error and scored to give the away side a 2-1 advantage.

Within 30 seconds after the restart, Cardenas created a chance with a pass that found Aguilar. The CSUN captain then played a through ball towards Isibor to comfortably slot the ball into the net from 5 yards out to tie the game 2-2.

“I think one of my biggest attributes is playmaking. If I can get them the ball I’ll try to give them the ball and help my team score,” Cardenas said. “I connected my plays and luckily they ended up in goals.”

It was all tied after 90 minutes, but both teams were unable to break the tie as the match continued to overtime.

The Matadors were fortunate that a rapid defensive block from defender Dylan Gonzalez in the 94th minute saw the shot deflect off the post. In the dying seconds of the second half of overtime, Sac State forward Titus Washington wasted his chance and shot it over Preys’ net.

With the draw at home, CSUN are now 0-2-1 in the Big West.

“There’s been a lot of losses. Just for us to fight, get a tie and do everything we can to get a tie: Great saves. Dylan [Gonzalez] with saving one off the line. Jordan [Isibor] coming through for us after two knee surgeries,” said CSUN men’s soccer head coach Terry Davila. “So we’re just so happy.”

Wednesday’s game was a rematch of the Oct. 16, 2019 game that saw Sac State defeat CSUN 2-1 in overtime.

The overall history of Matadors and Hornets now stands 14-9-2, but still favors CSUN after Wednesday’s results, which tallied the 25th game played between the two teams, according to GoMatadors.

CSUN will host UC San Diego at 7 p.m on Saturday.