MEN’S SOCCER CLOSES SEASON SATURDAY IN CLASH WITH UC DAVIS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State men's soccer team (3-10-4, 1-7-1 Big West) looks to close its season with another win over rival UC Davis (7-8-3, 3-4-2 Big West) at 2 p.m. Saturday on Hornet Field. The Hornets, who defeated the Aggies 1-0 in Davis two weeks ago, will be looking to top their Causeway foe twice in one season for the first time in program history.
Saturday will be another Green Army game with free pizza from Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse and exclusive Green Army Vuvuzelas available to the first 75 Green Army Members. Fans can also participate in Herky's PK Challenge at halftime.
"Senior day is always bittersweet and playing UC Davis in our season finale at home should be a great environment," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger said, "If we can win and sweep Davis this year that would be a big accomplishment. It means a lot to the seniors and means a lot to all of us, as always a chance to beat your rival would be fantastic."
The Hornets will honor their four graduating seniors in a pregame ceremony before their final collegiate match. Nate Barr, Cesar Castillo, Isaac Ikyurav, and Almog Strikowski have all meant a great deal to the program while Castillo and Strikowski were both part of Sacramento State's MPSF championship and NCAA Tournament teams.
A team captain this year and a fifth-year senior after he redshirted as a freshman, Strikowski leaves the program as an unquestioned leader that will be hard to replace. Despite a challenging season, Strikowski has seen a lot of growth from his team and has been pleased with their effort going into his final collegiate game.
"I'm extremely proud of the whole team; we never back down," Strikowski said. "It will be not only my last game as a Hornet but it will also be a big rivalry game and a chance for us to get some points in the Causeway Cup. We already have 2.5 points from the first win so getting those five points and for me as a senior to sweep them would be great."
Strikowski played in 17 games as a redshirt freshman while Castillo was a Goal.com Freshman All-American in 2010 as the Hornets won the MPSF and defeated Santa Clara in the NCAA Tournament. Castillo has been brilliant this season, as he enters Saturday's contest ranked fifth in the NCAA with 95 saves, and he would tie the program record for career shutouts with another blank sheet against the Aggies. He is also second in career saves and third in goals against average in program history as he has left an indelible mark on the program.
Ikyurav came to Sacramento State by way of American University of Nigeria and has been an all-Big West selection and tallied 10 career goals, including a highlight-reel finish at UC Davis two weeks ago to give his team a 1-0 win. Barr joined the program from Azusa Pacific and played in 14 matches last season and three games this year, including one start, before suffering a season-ending injury.
The Hornet men's soccer team earned the first Sacramento State win of the year against UC Davis with their 1-0 victory two weeks ago. Ikyurav scored the only goal of the match while laying on the ground in the 37th minute and Castillo and the Hornet defenders withstood a late barrage to come away with the win. UC Davis has a 15-2.5 lead in the 2013-14 Causeway Cup presented by ScholarShare with an additional 2.5 points available in Saturday's match.
UC Davis enters the match tied with Cal Poly for second place in the Big West North with 11 points as the Aggies will be playing for postseason positioning and the right to host a first round Big West Tournament game. Since the setback against the Hornets UC Davis had a 1-1 draw at UC Santa Barbara and rallied for a 2-1 home win over Cal Poly. Junior Matt Sheldon leads the team with six goals and 12 points while goalkeeper Omar Zeenni has a 0.91 season goals against average.