Anteaters Triumph Over Hornets
UCI men’s soccer (10-1-2, 2-1-1) celebrated a conference victory against Sacramento State (4-7-2, 2-2-0), shutting down the Hornets 2-0 on Saturday, Oct. 11th at the Anteater Stadium. This valuable win puts UCI in a comfortable position, ranking first in the Big West conference and BLANK nationally, giving the ‘Eaters great momentum in the last half of their season.
From the sound of the first whistle, the Anteaters were in control of their home field, nearly scoring twice within the first five minutes of the game.
For the majority of the first half, the green-garbed Hornets were kept on the defensive as the white-clad Anteaters continually pressed the attacked, keeping the ball on Sacramento State’s site of the field.
No. 11, Cameron Iwasa, made a blazing goal attempt in the first half and the Hornets took advantage of their breakout moments from defense to offense near the ‘Eater goal zone; but goalkeeper, Michael Breslin, saved any unwelcome invasions to the goal. The two goose eggs dominated the scoreboard going into the second half of the game.
As the second half began, both teams could be heard from the press box communicating with each other as the ball was in play and players were setting up for passes and looking for openings.
UCI’s offense stayed in a steady, systematic rhythm throughout the game, but when No. 9 midfielder, Mitchell Alvarez, led the offense with a smooth pass to No. 7 Gerardo Gonzalez –– who fluidly ran to the goal –– giving the ball away to No. 28, Mario Ortiz, struck the ball solidly into the net and the Anteaters finally overtook Sacramento State at 56 minutes.
UCI’s offense stayed in a steady, systematic rhythm throughout the game, keeping the Hornets on the defensive throughout. Their efforts paid off in the 56th minute when No. 9, Mitchell Alvarez, passed to No. 7, Gerardo Gonzalez, found No. 28, Mario Ortiz, for the kick-in goal.
The pace quickened in the game as the Hornets answered with a close goal attempt that was stopped by a whistle. UCI would reply in force with another clean goal from No. 17, Lester Hayes III, with almost 25 minutes left in the game. Hayes would go on to make one last climatic goal attempt in the last six minutes of the game and at the buzzer UCI stood as the clear victors of the soccer field.
“It was funny, Mario and I were talking about playing better and doing well and I actually told him that I had a dream, like two nights in a row, that I scored in the game today. I could feel it coming, I knew today was the day. It was a blessing in disguise,” said Hayes on his performance.
After the loss against UCSB and wins against UC Davis and Sacramento State, the Eaters look to the their cross-town rivals CSU Fullerton on Oct. 18th.
Speaking on future games, Hayes talked about how the team plans to tackle the rest of the season.
“We need to be consistent. Our team just needs to play every game like a tournament game … We have a deep team as you saw every player that came off the bench lifted us and we played really well. It’s going to be a great year.”