DAVIS, Calif. – Sacramento State senior forward Isaac Ikyurav scored a goal while sitting on the ground in the 37th minute and the Hornets withstood a late UC Davis barrage to secure a 1-0 Big West victory on Saturday afternoon in Davis.
"I thought the first half was pretty even, but in the second half they dominated and put us under pressure," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger said. "We had a hard time getting the ball and creating any chances in the second half. I thought we worked hard for the entire game and we fought and scrapped; even though we weren't playing that well we didn't pack it in but kept after it."
The Hornets (3-9-3, 1-6-0 Big West) earned their first conference victory and three points to stay alive for a berth in the Big West tournament, recording their first win in regulation time this season. UC Davis (6-8-2, 2-4-1), which was shut out for the seventh time this season, had 12 shots in the second half and a 16-7 overall shot advantage for the match but could not find a way to beat Hornet senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo.
"Hopefully this win gives us some confidence," Linenberger said. "It's our first conference win and it keeps us in the hunt for a potential postseason berth in the conference tournament. This is a tough place to win, on the road against our rival in a tremendous environment, but our effort and energy was just fantastic."
Neither team had a shot through the first 20 minutes but the Aggies did have three early corner kicks. Ikyurav had the first shot on goal in the 30th minute but was denied, and the Aggies followed with a pair of tries on frame with one stonewalled on a brilliant diving stop by Castillo in the 35th minute.
Ikyurav's goal came off a fine lead pass by senior Almog Strikowski. The feed was corralled by Ikyurav just to the left of the Aggie goal, and after shaking a defender he fell to the ground but the ball was at his feet. Alertly he fired high from the seat of his pants to give the Hornets the lead.
"The ball just fell in a perfect place and I saw the angle was wide open so I just took the shot from sitting on the ground," Ikyurav said. "In Big West games it's always tough no matter where you play. It's hard being a senior since they know you and how you play but fortunately I was able to get the goal."
The Aggies controlled play in the second half, especially in the latter part of the half as they scrambled to try to find an equalizer. The team had eight shots in the final 11 minutes of regulation and had several quality looks right in front of the Hornet goal. Castillo made four saves in the second period and the Hornet defense had several blocks, but the Aggie pressure was relentless into the final minutes.
There were also three yellow cards and one red card issued over the final two and a half minutes of regulation as the teams continued to fight. Castillo made two saves in the last 1:05, and a final header try by the Aggies went wide as the clock hit zero and the Hornets held on for a dramatic win.
In total there were seven yellow cards and one red card handed out during the match, with all eight cautions coming in the second half. UC Davis was responsible for three yellows and a red given to goalkeeper Omar Zeenni with just 20 seconds left in the match.
Castillo finished with seven saves for his fourth shutout of the season and the 14th clean sheet of his superb Hornet career. UC Davis had six corner kicks in the second half and a 9-0 overall advantage in corner kicks for the match while 13 different Aggies recorded at least one shot. With Ikyurav's score on Saturday Sacramento State has tallied goals in three consecutive matches for the first time this season.
The victory was also the first this year for any Sacramento State team against UC Davis as the Hornets earned 2.5 points towards the season-long Causeway Cup presented by ScholarShare.
The Hornets have a week off before playing their final regular season road match next Saturday at Cal Poly.
Watch Ikyurav's incredible goal: