SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State embarks on what is likely the most challenging weekend in all of Division I soccer this season, traveling across the country to face #5 Indiana before returning to the West Coast to take on #6 Saint Mary's. The Hornets take an impressive road record - 3-1-0 - into the weekend and already have one win over a ranked opponent this season.
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About Last Week
Sacramento State posted an undefeated week this past week, going 1-0-1 in two matches at home against San Francisco and Pacific.
The week started with a thrilling, 4-2 win over the visiting San Francisco Dons. Sophomore forward Benji Kikanovic had a career-game, scoring three times in the win, recording his first career hat trick. Oscar Govea converted on a penalty kick in the match, as well.
On Sunday, Sacramento State endured a fierce battle with Pacific, playing to a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes. Arath Chavez scored for the Hornets, finding the equalizer in the second half and forcing overtime and, eventually, the tie.
Offensive Player of the Week
Benji Kikanovic was named the Big West's co-Offensive Player of the Week following his three-goal performance against San Francisco.
He took five total shots in the match, placing three on goal and scoring all three. Kikanovic finished the week as a co-selection as UC Santa Barbara's Thibault Candia also scored a hat trick this past week.
Freshman of the Week
Arath Chavez was named the Big West's Freshman of the Week after totaling four points in two matches. Chavez, a redshirt freshman from Galt, Calif., had two assists in the team's 4-2 win over San Francisco on Thursday.
On Sunday, Chavez found the back of the net in the second half to tie the match with Pacific, forcing overtime. It was his second goal of the year.
Far West Region Ranking
Sacramento State was ranked seventh in the Far West Region in the latest poll from United Soccer Coaches. The regional ranking is the team's first since being ranked ninth in the Far West in August of last season. The team appeared in the region's top 10 twice in 2017, moving as high as seventh.
The Hornets are one of four Big West programs listed in the top 10. Joining the Hornets are Cal State Fullerton (No. 3), UC Riverside (4), and UC Santa Barbara (5).
Strong Season Open
Sacramento State's 5-2-1 record through the first eight matches of the 2019 season is one of its best in recent history. The last time the Hornets won five of their first eight matches was in 2010, when that team also started 5-2-1. Sacramento State won 11 matches that year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament after winning the MPSF Tournament. The Hornets have been 5-2-1 five times since 1991.
Hat Trick History
Benji Kikanovic's Thursday night hat trick was just the fifth in Sacramento State's Div. I era and the first since 2004. Kikanovic joins Jamel Mitchell (twice), Martin Sims, and Ryan Mitchell as the only players in the Div. I era with a hat trick. Jamel Mitchell (1st) and Sims (5th) both rank among the program's all-time leading scorers.
Battling the Big 10
Friday's match at Indiana is Sacramento State's second against a Big10 opponent and first since 2006, when the team lost 1-0 to Michigan State.
- For complete Men's Soccer Weekly Notes, CLICK HERE. -