SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Cal Poly senior forward Mackenzie Pridham scored twice, including the eventual game winner in the 79th minute, to lead Mustangs to a 2-1 win in a tightly contested match on Saturday afternoon at Hornet Field.
"In the first half we were a little bit tentative and I thought they had the majority of the game, but I thought in the second half we really came out and played," said Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger, who was honored prior to the match in a celebration of his 25 seasons as the Hornets head coach. "We played with a little more urgency in our game and I thought the second half was very even. It was evenly played, but they have a big time goal scorer and we don't really have a pure goal scorer and it showed."
Freshman Andrew Gosselin scored his first career goal for Sacramento State (2-8-3, 0-5-0 Big West) to tie the match in the 71st minute after Pridham got the game's first tally in the 64th minute. Cal Poly (9-6-0, 2-3-0 Big West) held a 16-10 shot advantage for the match and finished up 6-5 in shots on goal.
"I'm pleased with the second half, and that's been kind of our M.O. for the season; we play well in spurts, with a good half or a good quarter of the match," Linenberger said, "but we have to put together a 90 minute performance to win in this league."
The Mustangs came out firing to open the match, taking five shots and two corner kicks in the first 12 minutes. Sacramento State goalkeeper Cesar Castillo made two early saves in what turned out to be the only shots on goal in the half for either team. Cal Poly had a 7-1 edge in shots in the first period, with the Hornets first shot of the match not coming until the final minute, but the match was scoreless at halftime.
Sacramento State was the aggressor to open the second half with three shots in the first seven minutes, including a shot on goal by senior Isaac Ikyurav that was denied by Mustang goalkeeper Wade Hamilton. Hamilton had to make two saves to keep the match scoreless before Prdiham struck in the 64th minute, sliding in close range to redirect a cross from teammate Chase Minter into the far corner of the Hornet goal.
Hornet sophomore Edwin Luna nearly leveled the score in the 66th minute but was denied on a point-blank try. Sacramento State would even the match five minutes later when a Cal Poly foul gave the home team a free kick from just atop the Mustang box. Freshman Ivan Ramirez lobbed the set piece to the far post, where it would be deflected by freshman Javier Muñoz to Gosselin for an open finish.
Junior Cody Hoster had a chance to put the home team ahead in the 75th minute but Hamilton made a fine save on his shot attempt. Cal Poly would be the team to strike the winning blow following a corner kick in the 79th minute when senior Mike Hocker sent a short cross that Pridham headed perfectly inside the far post of the Hornet goal.
Down a score the Hornets had a near equalizer as Ikyurav sent a cross that was narrowly corralled by Hamilton to deny junior Chimdum Mez a chance to finish. Sacramento State had two corner kicks as well in the final 10 minutes but the Mustangs held on for the win.
Castillo and Hamilton each finished the match with four saves. Pridham, who entered the match tied for seventh in the NCAA in scoring this season, brought his season total to 11 goals. Hornet freshman Trevor Jackson finished with a match-high four shots while Ikyurav had two shots on goal. Gosselin and Muñoz each recorded their first collegiate points on the Hornet goal.
Sacramento State is on the road for its next three Big West matches and will play at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday at 7 p.m.