SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The 2019 season of Sacramento State men's soccer officially begins this Friday night when the team travels to the Bay Area to take on the Spartans of San Jose State at 7 p.m. It is a two-match weekend for the Hornets, who will also play Sunday night on the road at Gonzaga before returning to Sacramento for their home opener on Sep. 6.
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About Last Season
Sacramento State enters the 2019 season after a tough run in 2018 in which the Hornets went just 4-11-2. Returning forward Benji Kikanovic led last year's squad with 14 total points, scoring five goals and to go with four assists in 17 games. His five goals were matched by departing senior Dominic Scotti, who scored five times in just ten games.
The season started with two excellently played matches on the road at nationally ranked Portland and the Pac-12's Oregon State. The early going also featured a thrilling 5-4 overtime win on the road at CSU Bakersfield.
The team finished 2-5 in Big West play, but were in contention for a conference tournament spot until the final day of the season. The Hornets needed a win or a draw and some help to secure the final tournament berth, but came up just short against Causeway rivals, UC Davis.
Among Sacramento State's returners in 2019 are last year's leading scorer, sophomore Benji Kikanovic, who paced the offense with 14 points (five goals, four assists). The team also returns 2018 all-Freshman selection Oscar Govea in the midfield.
In addition, the Hornets return four other starters who each totaled over 1,000 minutes last season in Tone Andres, Luis Urias, Matt Carnefix, and Tyler Moss. Andres, Urias, and Carnefix were all regulars on the backline for the Hornets while Carnefix started was one of four players to start all 17 games.
Sacramento State took the field last Thursday night for the first time when they hosted Sonoma State for a preseason exhibition matchup. The Hornets defeated the Seawolves, 2-0, with both goals scored by freshman newcomer Titus Washington
On Sunday, Sacramento State welcomed Santa Clara to Hornet Field for its second and final preseason contest. The two teams traded second-half goals before finishing in a 1-1 draw. Senior midfielder Matt Carnefix was responsible for the Hornets' lone score.
Sophomore forward Benji Kikanovic was named to the Big West's preseason all-conference team, the only Hornet and only sophomore on the list. The rest of the team - made up of 10 other players - are juniors or seniors. UC Santa Barbara led the league with three preseason selections.
Four teams on Sacramento State's schedule open the year among the nation's Top 25 teams, according to United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. The Hornets have matches at #2 Indiana (Sep. 27) and #11 Saint Mary's (Sep. 29) and two at home against #19 Air Force (Sep. 6) and #25 UC Irvine (Oct. 12).