SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Freshman Christian Webb scored his second goal of the season late in the first half and Sacramento State permitted just two Cal Poly shots on goal in a 1-0 win on Wednesday at Hornet Field.
With the win, Sacramento State (7-6-2, 3-3-1 Big West) jumped ahead of UC Davis into second place in the Big West North division with 10 points after the Aggies lost in overtime hosting UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday. The Hornets also have a six-point cushion over Cal Poly (3-9-2, 1-5-1 Big West) and are in prime position to reach the Big West Tournament with just three games remaining in the regular season.
"I thought we really defended well today," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger said. "I thought it was a fantastic team effort to defend and work hard. Our goal going into the game was 'can we keep it to zero, can we get a shutout?' We needed a renewed commitment to defending missing quite a few of our key attacking players."
The Hornets were playing without seniors Alex Bettencourt and Ivan Ramirez, the top two scorers on the team this season, as well as sophomore attackers Brad Bumgarner and Dominic Scotti. The defensive focus worked brilliantly on Wednesday as Cal Poly was not permitted much on the offensive end.
The only goal of the game would be scored in the 43rd minute. Off an initial clearance by the Mustangs, Hornet junior defender Cylus Sandoval brought the ball back into the attacking third and found Webb to the right of the Cal Poly goal. From the top of the box the Hornet freshman found space to dribble to the middle and fired a left-footed rocket inside the left post.
Cal Poly actually had a 9-5 edge in shots overall in the first half but placed only one try on goal. Five minutes into the second half, Cal Poly forward Jared Pressley challenged a ball in the Hornet box and slid into the head of Hornet goalkeeper James Del Curto. Pressley was assessed his second yellow of the game, which became a red, while Del Curto had to come out of the game to get the back of his head bandaged up.
As a result of the play the Hornets were a man up for the remaining 40 minutes of the contest while Del Curto would return to action with his head wrapped just seven minutes later. Cal Poly created four corner kicks through the remainder of the second half but could manage only one more shot on goal that Del Curto denied.
The final shot count ended 13-9 in favor of Cal Poly but the Hornets were 5-2 in shots on goal. In a typically physical Big West divisional game, each team picked up three yellow cards in the contest with 25 total fouls.
Sacramento State now is now one point ahead of UC Davis for second place in the Big West North. UC Santa Barbara has nearly clinched the top seed with 17 points, but if the Hornets can finish in second place they would host a first round Big West Tournament game for the first time since joining the league in 2011.
The Hornets and Aggies meet for a second time on Saturday in Davis, with Sacramento State looking for retribution after UC Davis won the first meeting between the rivals last Saturday at Hornet Field.