The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Mens soccer fails to take the lead in draw with Sacramento State

Aliyah Hinckley
Midfielder Jorge Solorzano, 7, gets a corner kick for the Matadors during the game against the Sacramento State Hornets on Oct. 7, 2023, at the Matador Soccer Field in Northridge, Calif.

CSUN’s AJ Johnson netted the only goal of the game to rally the Matadors to a 1-1 draw with the Hornets of Sacramento State University on Oct. 7, 2023.

Having lost their first three conference games by one goal, CSUN’s men’s soccer (2-6-5, 0-3-1 Big West) returned to their home turf searching to secure their first conference win of the season against Sacramento State (3-7-3, 0-1-3 Big West).

The Matadors had plenty of scoring opportunities in what was a physical battle with both teams applying pressure. Still, they could not score the potentially game-winning goal at the 85th-minute mark, resulting in a 1-1 draw.

“We gotta execute, make plays. You have to be able to do the little things, like in basketball, making your layups and free throws,” said Matadors head coach Terry Davila. “It’s not because they’re not trying their hardest; it’s just lack of quality, and hopefully we gain our confidence.”

Both teams played evenly right out of the gate, shooting 4-4, with three shots on target. The Hornets’ goalkeeper Mac Learned made things challenging as he defended the net, making three of his six recorded saves in the first half, preventing the Matadors from gaining any offensive momentum.

The Matadors’ offense struggled to spark any momentum in the first half, as the closest they came was with five minutes left when the kick went to the bottom center of the field. Forward Enrique Pineda’s kick wasn’t fast enough to cross the goal line.

The Hornets took control early in the second half, mounting an attack five minutes in. Defender Genaro Alfaro controlled the ball, dribbling it to the right side of the field, storming past CSUN defenders and getting away from the goalie. Alfaro found forward Austin Wehner on the left side, who powered a perfectly netted shot, giving the Hornets first blood. Ten minutes later, a foul on Hornets midfielder Cody Sundquist gave the Matadors a free kick in Sac State territory. The ball flew over the net’s top, deflecting out of bounds.

The Matadors managed to spark their offensive productivity, firing seven shots, three of which were on target. CSUN responded when defender Michael Arrington and forward Jamar Ricketts sparked the team with 10 minutes left in the second half. Ricketts dribbled up the left side and centered the ball into the corner, where Arrington controlled it. The senior angled the ball and passed it to midfielder Johnson into the penalty area. Johnson got to the goal area, rushing past a Hornets defender, and propelled the ball into the left corner of the goal, tying the game 1-1.

“At the end of the day, we must keep pushing,” said Johnson. “I was happy enough to get the goal, but everyone had their chances, and we must keep our heads up.”

However, the Matadors had two chances to take the lead in this game, with an offside being called after Hornets forward Zion Wagoner scored a goal on the left side and was waved off at the 32nd-minute mark during the first half. The Matadors kept the Hornets on their heels when midfielder Jorge Solorzano had a wide-open goal with a one-on-one against the goalie. Solorzano hesitated and kicked the ball to the right side of the corner, missing the goal with five minutes left.

“We created enough opportunities to win. Hopefully, this will be a step forward into us getting a win in the next game,” said CSUN head coach Terry Davila. “A lot of people got opportunities tonight, and hopefully, everyone is hungry to get a win.”

CSUN went on to travel to UC Davis (5-5-2, 2-2 Big West) on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m., as they continued to look for their first conference win.

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