IRVINE, Calif. - Four Sacramento State men's soccer players received all-Big West Conference recognitions this year, the league announced Tuesday.
Sophomore forward Benji Kikanovic was named to the conference's second team while senior midfielder Matt Carnefix was an honorable mention selection. Both Genaro Alfaro and Jaime Robles were named to the Big West's all-freshman squad, as well.
2019 marks the seventh straight season in which the Hornets have had multiple all-conference selections. The four awards this year are the most since 2017, when the team also had four all-conference selections. Since joining the Big West in 2012, Sacramento State's seven selections in 2016 are the program's most.
The Big West recognizes players on a first and second team, an honorable mention team, and an all-freshman team.
Sacramento State has had at least one player named to the all-freshman team in each of the last seven seasons. The program has had two selections three times (2019, 2017, 2016).
A sophomore forward out of Antelope, Calif., Benji Kikanovic again proved to be one of the most dynamic offensive players in the Big West. He scored four goals, including an overtime game-winner at CSUN, and added an assist, in 17 matches. His nine points were third most on the team.
He led the Hornets in shots (38) and shots on goal (14) and was one of 10 players on the team to appear in 17 or more of the team's 18 total matches.
Three of Kikanovic's goals came in a single match, a 4-2 win at home over San Francisco. The hat trick was just the fifth in Sacramento State program history and the first in more than 20 years (Jamel Mitchell vs. Cal Poly, Sept. 22, 1996).
The second-team selection is the second of Kikanovic's career at Sacramento State. Following his freshman season in 2018, he was named the Big West's co-Newcomer of the Year as well as a second-team selection.
A senior midfielder from Sacramento, Matt Carnefix was named a Big West's Honorable Mention following his final campaign as a Hornet. Carnefix captained the Hornets midfield while playing in 17 of the team's 18 total matches. He finished among the team's top five with 1,488 minutes played, a career-high, and was second among non-defenders.
Carnefix scored career-high four goals in his senior season while also adding three assists, finishing with a career-best 11 points, second most on the team. He scored the game-winner on the road at Gonzaga, a 2-1 win that helped jumpstart the Hornets to a 3-0 start to the 2019 season.
The all-conference selection is the first of Carnefix's career, who was also a Big Sky all-academic in 2018.
A freshman forward from Sacramento, Genaro Alfaro was one of Sacramento State's two all-freshman selections for 2019. Alfaro scored two goals and added an assist for five total points in his debut season.
He appeared in all 18 of Sacramento State's matches, just one of four players to reach that milestone this season, while totaling 1,183 minutes played.
Alfaro scored his first career goal in his first career game, a 2-0 Hornets win at San Jose State. He scored his second, a crucial overtime game-winner in a must-win game for the Hornets at UC Riverside.
A freshman defender from Fremont, Calif., Jaime Robles was Sacramento State's second Big West all-freshman team selection this season. Robles, a life-long centerback, found himself playing not just on the backline, but also at the top for the Hornets offense in his debut season.
Robles scored two goals for Sacramento State, his first a go-ahead score at home against Causeway rival UC Davis. His second came a week and a half later, again at home, this time against Cal State Fullerton. His first career point came on an assist against CSU Bakersfield.
Because of his size and physicality, Robles was tasked with playing at the forward position to counter some of the stronger defenses in the Big West. He started six matches in his first season and appeared in 15 overall, totaling 711 minutes.