SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State men's soccer team will look to break its tie for second place in the Big West North Division standings with a road game at Cal Poly on Saturday evening.
The Hornets (7-6-2, 4-2-1 Big West) and the Mustangs (9-5-1, 4-2-1) are tied with 13 points in the Big West North Division. UC Davis currently leads the four-team group with 15 points while UC Santa Barbara is in fourth with 10 points.
Saturday's game has massive postseason tournament implications, as only the top two teams from each of the league's two divisions will advance to the Big West Tournament.
Cal Poly will offer both Live Stats andLive Audio of the match.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
After starting out Big West Conference play with a 4-0-1 mark, the Hornets have dropped back-to-back games to No. 16 ranked UC Santa Barbara and rival UC Davis. In the first five games, the Hornets outscored their league foes 7-3 but in the last two games they have been outscored 5-1. The Gauchos jumped out to an early lead with two eighth minute goals at Harder Stadium last Tuesday while the Hornets had a 1-0 lead vanish in a 3-1 loss to the Aggies at home on Saturday. Overall this season, the Hornets have scored 17 goals on 166 shots while allowing 23 scores on 252 attempts. Isaac Ikyurav, who scored against UC Davis, has a team-high 12 points on four goals and four assists. Ikyurav shares the team-lead in goals with Gabe Silveira and Chris Sandoval while he shares the team-lead in assists with Alex Lopez. Goalkeeper Bryan Oliver sports a 1.30 goals against average in 14 starts with four shutouts. His 89 saves ranks No. 5 in the NCAA.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS
While the Hornets have struggled of late after a quick start in Big West play, the exact opposite is true for Cal Poly. The Mustangs went 2-2-1 in its first five Big West games but have won their last two. Cal Poly defeated UC Davis at home, 1-0, last Tuesday before pulling off a stunning 2-1 win at UC Santa Barbara on Friday. In front of 13,467 fans at Harder Stadium, Cal Poly scored in the 89th minute to tie the game before winning on a Mackenzie Pridham goal in overtime. Pridham leads the team and ranks second in the Big West with nine goals this season. He scored the game-tying goal in the two teams' 1-1 draw at Hornet Field earlier this season. As a team, the Mustangs have 22 goals on 182 shots while opponents have scored 15 times on 202 attempts. While Pridham leads the team in goals, Chris Gaschen has a team-high five assists. The Mustangs have used two keepers this season, but Wade Hamilton has started the last four contests. In eight total starts, he has a 0.96 goals against average with two shutouts and 31 saves.
LAST TIME OUT
Earlier this month, Sacramento State and Cal Poly played to a 1-1 draw at Hornet Field. Max Alvarez scored on a penalty kick for the Hornets while Mackenzie Pridham tallied Cal Poly's score. In the Big West, each team plays its three division foes twice - once at home and once on the road.
Since moving to Div. I in 1991, Sacramento State is 4-7-3 against Cal Poly. The most memorable meeting between the two schools was in 1996, when former Sacramento State great Jamel Mitchell tallied a single-game school record eight points on three goals and two assists in a 6-2 win over the Mustangs. Mitchell still holds the program record for career goals (27) and career points (71).
LEAVING THE MPSF
Sacramento State was a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for 20 seasons before leaving for the Big West this year. The Hornets, which moved to Div. I in 1991, joined the MPSF the following season. The 1992 season was also head coach Michael Linenberger's first year as the sole head coach of men's soccer program - he shared head coach duties with Paul Arellanes during the 1989, 1990 and 1991 seasons. Linenberger was named MPSF Coach of the Year in 2001, 2005 and 2009. He guided the Hornets to regular season MPSF titles in 2001 and 2009 and MPSF Tournament championships in 2009 and 2010. In both 2009 and 2010, Sacramento State moved on from the league tournament to win NCAA tournament first-round matches (at Loyola Marymount in 2009 and home vs. Santa Clara in 2010).
BIG WEST PRIMER
When the Hornets joined the Big West Conference this season, it allowed the league to split into two four-team divisions. The North Division is made up of Sacramento State, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The South Division features UC Riverside, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton and CSU Northridge. Each team plays two games (home and away) against its own division foes and one game against the opposite division. The top two teams from each division will qualify for the Big West Tournament.
BIG WEST STANDINGS
Sacramento State has slipped from first to a tie for second after its two consecutive losses. In the most recent NSCAA Div. I men's top-25 poll, only one team - UCSB at No. 25 - is nationally ranked.
||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. UC Davis
|2. Sacramento State||4-2-1||13||9-5-1|
|4. #25 UC Santa Barbara||3-3-1||10||9-3-3|
|South Division||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. CSU Northridge||5-2||15||11-5|
|2. CSU Fullerton||2-4-1||7||6-10-1|
|3. UC Riverside||2-5||6||9-6|
|4. UC Irvine||1-6||3||4-11-1|