SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Fresh off a 2-0 performance last week in its opening Big West Conference games, the Sacramento State men's soccer team will host a pair of Big West foes for the first time when CSU Fullerton and UC Riverside visit Hornet Field this weekend.
The Hornets (5-4-1, 2-0 Big West) will meet the Titans (4-7-1, 0-1-1) at 4 p.m. on Friday before playing the Highlanders (3-7-4, 1-1), a match-up of first-place teams, at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
You can follow along with both games via LIVE STATS and on twitter @HORNETSPORTS.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Sacramento State shot out of the gate in the first weekend of Big West Conference play with two road wins. After Gabe Silveira's early goal at UC Irvine, Isaac Ikyurav scored the game-winning goal the 84th minute. It was his second straight game-winning goal after also accomplishing the feat on Sept. 23 against UNLV. On Sunday against CSU Northridge, the Hornets stymied the top offense in the conference in a 1-0 double overtime victory. Senior Chris Sandoval scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute on an assist from Ikyurav. Goalkeeper Bryan Oliver tallied his third shutout of the season against the Matadors, who enterted the game with a Big West-best 22 goals on 168 shots. Overall this season, Ikyurav has a team-high nine points (three goals, three assists) while Silveira leads the team with four goals. Oliver sports a 1.27 goals against average and 50 saves with a 5-3-1 record in nine starts. As a team, the Hornets have scored 12 times on 117 shots while allowing 16 goals on 162 attempts.
BIG WEST PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
For their efforts last weekend, forward Isaac Ikyurav and goalkeeper Bryan Oliver swept the Big West Conference weekly awards. Ikyurav took home offensive player of the week after tallying both a game-winning goal and a game-winning assist while Oliver earned defensive player of the week after allowing just one goal in two games.
SCOUTING THE TITANS
CSU Fullerton was winless in its opening Big West weekend after a 2-0 loss to Cal Poly and a scoreless draw with UC Santa Barbara. The Titans started the season off on the wrong foot with a 1-6 mark in its first seven games but they have rebounded, going 3-1-1 in its last five games. CSUF has scored 13 goals on 168 attempts while allowing 19 goals on 177 shots. Jesse Escalante leads the team and is tied for second in the Big West with 13 points on six goals and one assist while Ian Ramos has a team-high three assists. The Titans have used three goalkeepers and Adam Zepeda has seen the most minutes. Zepeda has a 2.02 goals against average with 44 saves in 10 starts. However, CSUF head coach Bob Ammann, in his seventh season, used Robbie Hannon in net on Sunday against No. 3 ranked UCSB, and the junior responded with a clean sheet draw and five saves.
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS
UC Riverside snapped a two-match losing streak with a 3-2 overtime win against Cal Poly on Sunday. In the two prior matches, the Highlanders lost 3-1 to UC Santa Barbara in their Big West opener after dropping a 2-0 decision to CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 23. Before its recent struggles, UC Riverside opened the season on a seven match winning streak including five shutouts. Overall this season, the Highlanders have scored 24 goals on 156 shots while allowing just 11 scores on 110 attempts. Aaron Long and Ruben Valencia each have a team-high four goals while Otis Earle has a team-best four assists. Keeper Ashkan Khosravi has a 1.12 goals against average with 37 saves in 10 starts.
LAST TIME OUT
Sacramento State visited UC Riverside last season and the Highlanders won, 3-0. Aaron Long, Hayden Leslie and Ivan Garcia each scored for UCR and all three are still on the roster this season. Sacramento State's last meeting with CSU Fullerton was a 3-0 loss in 1999.
Sacramento State is winless in four meetings against CSU Fullerton since the Hornets moved to Div. I in 1991. However, the Titans have never played at Hornet Field. Sacamento State has a better record against UC Riverside, going 2-2-3 since the teams first met in 2001.
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
The Big West features one nationally ranked team. Undefeated UC Santa Barbara checks in at No. 3 in the NSCAA top-25 poll for the third straight week while UC Riverside dropped from No. 24 to unranked this week, following a loss to the Gauchos. In the first two weeks of the season, the Big West schedule has pitted North Division teams against South Division teams. Starting next week, teams will play six conseutive games against division foes to decide who moves on to the conference tournament.
||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. Sacramento State
|2. #3 UC Santa Barbara||1-0-1||4||7-0-3|
|3. Cal Poly||1-1||3||6-4|
|South Division||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. UC Riverside||1-1||3||8-2|
|3. CSU Fullerton||0-1-1||1||4-7-1|
|4. UC Irvine||0-2||0||3-7-1|