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Men's Soccer Weekly Notes - PDF (10/23)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State men's soccer team takes the pitch Saturday for one of the biggest matches in recent program history. In addition to hosting their causeway rivals, the UC Davis Aggies, the match is also the team's Senior Day celebration. To add to the importance of the match, it is also a win-or-go-home scenario for both the Hornets and Aggies (details below). Kick off on Saturday is scheduled for 2:00 pm with gates to open at 1. 

How To Watch

Hornets vs. UC Davis - *Senior Day*
Saturday, Oct. 27 // 2:00 PM
Hornet Field // Sacramento, Calif.
Tickets: HornetSports.com/Tickets/MSOC18
Live Video: BigWest.TV
Live Stats: HornetStats.com
Twitter: @SacStMSoccer

All links, news, and updates can also be found by visiting the 2018 Men's Soccer Schedule online at HornetSports.com.

Senior Day Saturday

Saturday's regular season finale against UC Davis is also the Hornets' 2018 Senior Day. The program will recognize its four graduating seniors - Dominic Scotti, Brad Bumgarner, Josh Dull, and Jack Larter - with a special pregame ceremony with their family and friends. 

About Last Week

Sacramento State had their first 0-2 week of the season after dropping matches at Cal Poly and at home to UC Riverside. The Hornets were shutout in both matches, falling to the Mustangs 3-0 and to the Highlanders, 2-0. Both games were scoreless heading into halftime as all five goals allowed came in the second 45 minutes.

Against UC Davis

Sacramento State has faced their Causeway rivals 26 times since 1991, including once already this season. 

  • The two teams have played each other twice a year every year since 2012. All-time, the Aggies lead the rivalry matchup 15-9-2. 
  • At Hornet Field, Sacramento State is just 4-9-1 against the Aggies since 1991. The Hornets have not beat UC Davis in Sacramento since the 2015 season. 
  • Earlier this year, the Hornets jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage against the then #17 Aggies at UC Davis, but a second-half equalizer turned into an overtime game-winner for UC Davis, who won 2-1. 

Scouting the Aggies

  • The UC Davis Aggies enter the final weekend of the regular season with a 2-3-1 Big West record and a 9-4-3 mark overall. 
  • The Aggies are one of three teams tied for fourth in the conference with seven total points. 
  • UC Davis is in danger of potentially missing the Big West Tournament for the first time since 2010 (seven consecutive seasons). 
  • For the first time since August, the Aggies open this week unranked nationally and not receiving votes. The Aggies had been ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the three major polls (United Soccer Coaches, Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America) every week since Sep. 4. 
  • The UC Davis offense ranks third in the conference in shots (205), points (72), and goals (24). 
  • Adam Mickleson leads the team with 14 total points, including six assists and four goals. 

Postseason Implications

Saturday's match against UC Davis has significant postseason implications as neither team has secured a berth in the Big West Tournament. 

  • A Sacramento State win gives the Hornets a postseason berth and (with some help from other match results) eliminates the Aggies. Conversely, an Aggies win secures a spot for UC Davis while eliminating the Hornets outright.
  • With a win, the Hornets can still secure the fourth seed and home field advantage in the First Round of the conference tournament. They would also need both a CSUN and Cal State Fullerton loss.  
  • With a draw, a scenario exists where both teams clinch a postseason position, though the Hornets will need all three other matches around the league to break their way. 

Quick Hitters

Two of the top five fastest goals in the Big West this season belong to Sacramento State. 

  • Benji Kikanovic has scored the conference's quickest goal of the year, scoring just 25 seconds into the Hornets' match at CSU Bakersfield.
  • Dominic Scotti also cracks the top five with his goal at Portland 55 seconds into the match. Scotti also has an 8th minute goal this season. 

Best Freshman in the Nation

Freshman forward Benji Kikanovic was named the 16th best freshman in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer in their annual Midseason Player Rankings. He is the highest ranked freshman in the Big West Conference. 

Kikanovic is the second Hornet in the last two seasons named to the midseason list. Current sophomore Justin Bedig was also named to Top Drawer Soccer's' Top 100 Freshmen last year (79th). 

Postseason Streak

Sacramento State has clinched a spot in the Big West Postseason Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since joining the Big West. A win on Saturday would give them their third straight postseason berth.

The last time the Hornets advanced to three consecutive postseasons was 2009-2011, their final three years in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. 

Regionally Ranked

UC Davis enters Saturday's regular season finale ranked seventh in the Far West Region, according to United Soccer Coaches. The Hornets have faced eight regionally or nationally ranked teams this season. Sacramento State spent one week among the Top 10 in the Far West Region, checking in at No. 9 in the season's first regional poll.

Bumgarner Among Active Leaders 

Senior Brad Bumgarner enters his final regular season match on Saturday with nine career goals, tied for ninth-most among active players in the Big West. Additionally, Bumgarner ranks sixth among active leaders in assists  (11), seventh in total points (29), and fifth in total shots (95).

Shining in Overtime

Benji Kikanovic is one of two players in the Big West with multiple overtime goals this season. Kikanovic has two overtime game-winners. UC Irvine's Ivan Canales leads the conference with three overtime game-winners. 

Everyone's Involved

Sacramento State has had nine different players score a goal this season. Last year, 11 different players found the back of the net for the Hornets. 13 different players have tallied at least one point through the season's first 16 games. 

Minutes Leaders

Junior defender Luis Urias leads the Hornets with 1,363 total minutes played this season. He is just 23 minutes ahead of sophomore defender Tyler Moss and the duo are the only two with over 1,300 minutes. Of the team's six players with over 1,000 minutes, three are underclassmen (Moss, Benji Kikanovic, and Oscar Govea).  

Success in Overtime

Sacramento State has played in five overtime matches this season, third most in the Big West (CSUN, 9; UCI, 7). The Hornets are 2-1-2 in matches that go to overtime and their two overtime wins are tied for second most in the conference. 

Double-Digit Duo

Dominic Scotti and Benji Kikanovic have both tallied double-digit points this season. Including this year, the Hornets have had at least two players reach double-digit points in each of the last four seasons. Three players have broken the double-digit point mark in two of those four. 

Converting on Opportunities

Although Sacramento State ranks seventh in the Big West in goals scored with 18, they are one of the better teams in turning total shots into goals. 11.5% of Sacramento State's shots this year have turned into goals, on par with UC Davis (11.7%) and UC Riverside (12.4%). CSUN and UC Irvine lead the conference, scoring on 13.2% and 14.0% of their total shots, respectively.

Tale of Two Halves

Over their last five matches, Sacramento State has held opponents to just one goal in the first half. During that same five-match stretch, teams have scored eight second-half goals against the Hornets. For the season, the split is 11 first half goals compared to 21 second half or overtime goals. 

Milestone Victory

Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger – in his 30th year at the helm of the program – earned his 200th career win on Oct. 3 against UC Santa Barbara. He is 201-296-63 as a head coach, including 44-67-18 during six-plus years in the Big West.