SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State men's soccer team will continue the North Division portion of its Big West Conference schedule this week when they visit UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday before hosting rival UC Davis on Saturday.
The Hornets (7-4-2, 4-0-1 Big West) are the only undefeated team in the conference and lead UC Davis by one point in the North Division. Sacramento State will meet the Gauchos (8-2-3, 2-2-1) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Harder Stadium before the Aggies (6-4-4, 4-1) visit Hornet Field at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
You can follow along with the Hornets' game at UCSB via Live Stats, Live Audio and Live Video. You can keep tabs on the Hornets' rivalry game with UC Davis via Live Stats. Be sure sure to follow Sacramento State athletics on Twitter @Hornetsports for updates during both games.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Sacramento State has been in first place in the Big West standings after each of the first three weekends of conference play. The Hornets swept the South Division - CSU Fullerton, CSU Northridge, UC Irvine and UC Riverside - in the first two weekends and opened up North Division play with a 1-1 draw against Cal Poly on Friday. Max Alvarez converted on a penalty kick for the second straight game to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute but Cal Poly's Mackenzie Pridham tied it up on a shot from the top of the box in the 67th minute. Overall this season, Chris Sandoval and Gabe Silveira each have a team-best four goals while Isaac Ikyurav and Alex Lopez are tied for the team lead with four assists. The Hornets were without Lopez on Friday against Cal Poly due to a red card issued in the previous game and on Tuesday at UCSB, they will be without starting defender Matt Linenberger, who received two yellow cards against Cal Poly. In net Bryan Oliver has posted a 7-3-2 record in 12 starts with a 1.11 goals against average and 73 saves. He has shined in conference play, with just three goals allowed and two shutouts in five games. As a team, the Hornets have scored 16 goals on 152 shots while allowing 18 scores on 209 attempts.
FAR WEST RANKINGS
The Hornets moved up from No. 8 to No. 7 this week in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Far West Region rankings. Sacramento State comes in behind UCLA, CSU Northridge, New Mexico, Washington, UC Santa Barbara and Saint Mary's, but the Hornets are 1-0-1 against teams ahead of them. The Hornets are ahead of UC Riverside, Santa Clara and Cal.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara was undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the nation two weeks ago, but since then the Gauchos have lost back-to-back, 1-0, games to CSU Northridge and UC Davis. In their last six games, the usually potent Gauchos have scored more than one goal just twice. Overall this season, Nic Ryan leads the team with six goals while Dom Sarle has a team-high four assists. The Gauchos have scored a whopping 25 goals on 211 shots this season while allowing just 11 scores on 127 attempts. Freshman goalkeeper Austin Mansker has started all but one game in net and has a 0.75 goals against average and 30 saves.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES
If it weren't for the Hornets' magical start in the Big West, the story of the season would be UC Davis' success. Since losing its Big West opener, 2-0, at CSU Northridge, UC Davis has won four straight games. The Aggies defeated UC Santa Barbara for the first time since 2008 on Saturday, when Alex Henry curled in a free kick in the 85th minute and the defense limited the Gauchos to a season-low nine shots. It was Henry's second goal of the year but overall this season, three players are tied with a team-best three goals. Ryan Gross has a team-high three assists. Goalkeeper Omar Zeenni has been strong in net, with a 0.94 goals against average and 48 saves in 13 starts. As a team, the Aggies have scored 14 goals on 170 shots while allowing 14 goals on 161 attempts.
LAST TIME OUT
Men's soccer lost, 2-0, at then-No. 8 ranked UC Santa Barbara last year and won a thriller, 3-2, in double overtime at UC Davis. Casey Bernard - now a senior - picked the perfect time to score his first career goal as he netted the game-winner in the 104th minute. Omar Zeenni was the keeper in that game for the Aggies while Max Alvarez - also now a senior - scored in the game for the Hornets.
Sacramento State is 3-6-1 against UC Santa Barbara since the Hornets moved to Div. I in 1991. The Hornets won three of the first four meetings but the Gauchos have dominated the series lately, winning five straight since 1999. The Hornets, amazingly, have never played to a draw with the Aggies and are 5-8 all-time in Div. I history against their rival. Sacramento State has won the last two meetings but UC Davis won four straight prior to that.
LEAVING THE MPSF
Sacramento State was a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for 20 seasons before leaving for the Big West this year. The Hornets, which moved to Div. I in 1991, joined the MPSF the following season. The 1992 season was also head coach Michael Linenberger's first year as the sole head coach of men's soccer program - he shared head coach duties with Paul Arellanes during the 1989, 1990 and 1991 seasons. Linenberger was named MPSF Coach of the Year in 2001, 2005 and 2009. He guided the Hornets to regular season MPSF titles in 2001 and 2009 and MPSF Tournament championships in 2009 and 2010. In both 2009 and 2010, Sacramento State moved on from the league tournament to win NCAA tournament first-round matches (at Loyola Marymount in 2009 and home vs. Santa Clara in 2010).
BIG WEST PRIMER
When the Hornets joined the Big West Conference this season, it allowed the league to split into two four-team divisions. The North Division is made up of Sacramento State, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The South Division features UC Riverside, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton and CSU Northridge. Each team plays two games (home and away) against its own division foes and one game against the opposite division. The top two teams from each division will qualify for the Big West Tournament.
BIG WEST STANDINGS
Sacramento State continues to lead not only the North Division, but the entire Big West with 13 points. Teams are given three points for a win and one point for a draw.
||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. Sacramento State
|2. UC Davis||4-1||12||6-4-4|
|3. UC Santa Barbara||2-2-1||7||8-2-3|
|South Division||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. CSU Northridge||4-1||12||10-4|
|2. UC Riverside||1-4||3||8-5|
|4. CSU Fullerton||0-4-1||1||4-10-1|