The Sacramento State Hornets (3-6-2) defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters (3-7-1) in a close 3-2 win at Hornet Field in Sacramento on Oct. 2.
Aside from home field advantage, Sac State was under pressure as they wanted to leave Hornet Field victorious to honor their 50th anniversary; they wore their traditional all-green jerseys to honor their history, while UCI donned their pin-striped all-white jerseys.
Referee Alex Del Angel blew the whistle after both teams took a knee of silence before the game. The Anteaters wasted no time.
The night’s first shot was awarded to UCI, as sophomore midfielder Oscar Cervantes took a deep wide shot that skirted around Sacramento’s secure junior goalkeeper Ryan Curtis.
Curtis had a good game with six saves, but Irvine managed to get past his net twice.
The Anteaters’ reliable freshman goalkeeper Luke Pruter scored two big saves; however, Sac State managed to get past him three times. This handed UC Irvine yet another loss.
The Anteaters seemed more persistent as junior midfielder Beto Alvarenga had the best chance to score within the first 10 minutes of the game — only for the ball to go a bit wide. Alvarenga had a total of four shots with three being on target and one goal.
UCI seemed to be off to an aggressive start as they were the first to get a yellow card upon a collision between Cervantes and Sacramento sophomore defender Jaime Robles, with Cervantes awarded with a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Hornet’s senior defender Tyler Moss had a total of four fouls, with one leading to UCI being awarded a penalty kick in the second half.
Although Moss made some mistakes, he had some memorable blocks in the game. Moss — who played all 90 minutes — was an instrumental player in the Hornet’s defense.
Sac State’s offense was unresponsive until 18 minutes into play when sophomore forward Titus Washington had his first shot of the game. Washington was an important asset for the Hornets with two shots and one assist.
The first goal occurred 23 minutes into the game when Hornet freshman forward Jhared Willcot performed a cross to sophomore forward Francisco Magana. Magana then placed the ball at the bottom left with a powerful right foot, giving them a 1-0 lead.
Sophomore forward Michael Gonzalez tried to give the Hornets a 2-0 advantage as he landed a difficult shot towards the bottom center of the net. However, Pruter showed his reliability with a save.
With the first half coming to an end, UCI gave the Hornets a difficult time with two shots. The first came from redshirt sophomore midfielder Oscar Delgado, which was blocked by Moss; the second came from junior midfielder Ashish Chattha, whose shot was directed toward the bottom center of the net. This was an easy block for Curtis and ended the first half.
Sac State did not get the start they were expecting in the second half, as Moss lost control and gave UCI an opportunity to tie the game.
Alvarenga, one of the Anteater’s star players, easily scored the penalty kick as he tricked the goalkeeper into diving to the opposite side, scoring his first goal of the season and tieing the game.
Sacramento tried to retaliate right away with two quick shots, but UCI’s defense responded with great blocks. Sac State seemed desperate as Washington shot way off target 50 minutes into the game.
Pruter made another secure save 62 minutes in as Sacramento’s sophomore forward Eloge Iradukunda shot the ball straight down the middle.
Desperation continued for Sac State as sophomore defender Genaro Alfaro fouled Alvarenga, who was the biggest threat on the field for the UCI team. The referee gave Alfaro a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Alvarenga continued to pose a threat when he took two shots back-to-back as Curtis barely blocked the second shot that was going towards the bottom right of the net.
While Curtis was becoming a hero with three straight blocks, Pruter committed a foul inside his own penalty box. This gave Sac State a chance to take the lead via penalty kick.
With 75 minutes played, freshman midfielder Axel Ramiregave Sac State a 2-1 lead as he put the ball in the bottom right of Pruter’s net.
However, the Anteaters recovered in under a minute of the Hornet’s goal as redshirt junior forward Axel Adler assisted freshman midfielder Roman Warren to tie it at 2-2.
Despite UCI Cervantes’ attack of a wide shot way off target, Washington performed an incredible assist for Sac State.
Washington passed the ball to sophomore freshman Christo Cervantes, who showed ice in his veins when the Anteaters’ defense pressured him to score in the bottom left with a left kick. This increased Sac State’s lead, 3-2.
UCI tried to capitalize in the last minutes with three straight corner kicks to tie the game; however, they could not pull out anything in the end.
UC Irvine will try to recover from their loss as they play the Big West Conference leaders UC Santa Barbara (6-3-2) at Harder Stadium on Oct. 2.
Marcos Gonzalez is a 2021-2022 Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.