SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State men's soccer team continues Big West conference play with another home/road week. They will host the CSUN Matadors Wednesday afternoon at Hornet Field before traveling south again for a Saturday night matchup at Cal State Fullerton.
How To Watch
All links, news, and updates can also be found by visiting the 2018 Men's Soccer Schedule online at HornetSports.com.
About Last Week
Sacramento State split last week's matches, going 1-1 to open the start of conference play. Last Wednesday, the Hornets shut out UC Santa Barbara, 1-0, to win their third straight Big West opener. Matt Carnefix scored the game-winner with an assist from Benji Kikanovic.
On Saturday, the Hornets found themselves on the opposite end of a shutout, falling 2-0 on the road at the Big West-leading UC Irvine Anteaters. The Hornets took 10 shots in the match, but UC Irvine tallied 21.
Sacramento State has faced the CSUN Matadors 19 times dating back to the 1991 season, including twice a year in each of the last two seasons. All-time, the Matadors lead the matchup 13-5-1. Only eight of those 19 matches have been played at Hornet Field where the Hornets are 2-6 against CSUN.
Last year, Sacramento State went 1-1 against Northridge, shutting out the Matadors, 1-0, at home while falling, 3-2, on the road. Over their last five matches, the Hornets are 1-3-1 against CSUN.
Against Cal State Fullerton
Sacramento State will take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans for just the 11th time since 1994. Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series, 7-3. On the road, the Hornets are winless against the Titans, going 0-5 at Titans Stadium.
Last year, the Hornets took on the Titans in southern California. Although they managed a goal against the strong Titans defense, Cal State Fullerton defeated the Hornets 3-1. Over their last five matches, the Hornets are 2-3 against the Titans.
Wide Open West
After one week of Big West Conference play, all eight teams have at least one point. UC Irvine is the only team without a loss and leads the conference with six points. With three points, the Hornets are in a three-way tie for third place. With a win against CSUN (4 points) Wednesday night, Sacramento State can leap the Matadors into second place.
CSUN enters this week ranked eighth in the Far West Region. They have been regionally ranked in each of the last six straight weeks, reaching as high as No. 3 in the region. For the Hornets, CSUN is their seventh opponent to be either nationally or regionally ranked.
Off On the Right Foot
With last week's 1-0 win over UC Santa Barbara, Sacramento State has now won three straight Big West openers. Since joining the Big West in 2012, the Hornets are 4-3 in their first league game of the season.
Looking for Revenge
Sacramento State has been knocked out of the postseason by CSUN in two straight seasons. Last year, the Matadors defeated the Hornets, 3-2, in overtime in Northridge. In 2016, the Hornets and Matadors were scoreless after overtime before CSUN eliminated Sacramento State, 6-5 on penalty kicks.
Creating More Opportunities
Sacramento State averages just 10.2 shots per game, the second fewest in the Big West (UC Riverside, 9.4). In addition, the Hornets are averaging just under four shots on goal per game. Despite that, the Hornets have been successful in scoring when they have chances, turning 34% of their shots on goal into actual goals (16 goals, 47 shots on goal).
RPI Around the Conference
The Hornets begin the week ranked 102 in RPI. With matches against CSUN (37) and Cal State Fullerton (87), Sacramento State has a chance to move into the top 100 after this week. Overall, five of the Big West's eight teams are among the top-100 while three are among the top-50.
With last Wednesday's win over UC Santa Barbara, head coach Mike Linenberger clinched his 200th career win. Linenberger has guided the Hornets to the Big West Tournament in each of the last two seasons. He has accumulated a record of 200-293-63 as a head coach, including a mark of 43-64-18 during a six-plus year period in the Big West.
Career-High for Curtis
Freshman goalkeeper Ryan Curtis made a career-high eight saves in the team's Saturday match against UC Irvine. Previously, Curtis's career-high was five saves.
Sacramento State ranks fourth in the Big West and 20th in the nation with 23 total yellow cards so far this season. Sophomore defender Tyler Moss leads the team with four cautions this year.
Around the Country
The Hornets rank among the top 100 in multiple categories across all NCAA Div. I men's soccer, including saves per game (4.8, 65th), assists (13, 90th), goals (16, 76th), and total points (45, 88th).
The Hornets will look to win back-to-back home games for the first time this season on Wednesday when they host CSUN. Sacramento State has not won back-to-back matches at Hornet Field since September of the 2016 season, when they won three straight, including one against #15 Utah Valley.