MEZ THE OVERTIME HERO AGAIN TO LEAD MEN’S SOCCER PAST UNLV 1-0
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – After a scoreless regulation Sacramento State junior midfielder Chimdum Mez scored on a cross from senior Isaac Ikyurav in the 94th minute to propel Sacramento State to a 1-0 overtime win over UNLV Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Mez has now scored the wining goal in overtime in each of the Hornets two victories this season. He also netted the game winner in the Hornets double-overtime win to open the season at San José State. Sacramento State enters Big West play at 2-3-3 while UNLV dropped to 2-6-0.
"Overall I thought UNLV had the majority of the chances; a lot of their shots were from distance, but they created some good chances," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger said. "We created some opportunities on the counter a few times in each half and in the overtime. It wasn't a great performance, but getting a win on the road, and a shutout, is fantastic."
The winner from Mez came on the first shot of the overtime period, which was also the Hornets first shot on goal since the 29th minute of the first half. Ikyurav played a cross from the left side to Mez, who beat UNLV goalkeeper Ryan Harding from close range to give the Hornets the win.
"Isaac did a great job getting to the end line and sent a great ball served across," Linenberger said. "Chim did a great job running through the box and getting a body on it. It was at an awkward height so he just kind of ran through it, and he was only two yards from the goal so he kind of ran with it into the goal."
Hornet goalkeeper Cesar Castillo was the star of regulation for Sacramento State, as the senior made 10 saves en route to his third shutout of the season. He faced heavy fire early, making five saves in the first 12 minutes of the opening half. Those would be the only five shots on goal for UNLV in the half, however, as the Hornets made the adjustment and went on the attack.
Sacramento State had its first shot on goal in the 15th minute and had its best chance to score in the 29th minute as Ikyurav and freshman Javier Muñoz had a pair of shots stopped off a corner kick. UNLV had a 16-4 overall shot advantage in the first half, but the Hornets put all four of their first-half tries on net.
Castillo was again tested early in the second half and had to make four more stops in the first 19 minutes. UNLV had another try hit the crossbar in the 64th minute and, despite not placing a shot on goal for the entirety of the second period, the Hornets were able to force overtime and net the eventual winner.
UNLV had a 26-8 shot advantage for the match with a 10-5 edge in shots on goal. The 10 saves by Castillo equaled his own Big West-best single match save total this season and moved his conference-leading season total to 53 saves.
The win extended Sacramento State's impressive overtime record to 11-0-14 since 2010, moving its streak to 25 consecutive overtime matches without a loss.
The Hornets enter conference play facing defending Big West Champion Cal State Northridge at 4 p.m. Friday at Hornet Field. The Matadors are ranked No. 6 in the nation in the latest NSCAA poll and are 8-1-0 this season.
"We talked after the game that in the Big West it's not always about style points but it's about getting points," Linenberger said. "We have to win games at home and steal points on the road, and today I think we stole three points on the road and we need to do that kind of thing in the Big West."