SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The first-place Sacramento State men's soccer team will look to build on their red-hot start in conference play against division rival Cal Poly on Friday at Hornet Field.
The Hornets (7-4-1, 4-0 Big West) will meet the Mustangs (7-5, 2-2) at 4 p.m. on Friday as both teams begin their Big West North Divison schedule. The first two weekends of Big West play pitted North Division teams (Sacramento State, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly) against South Division squads (UC Riverside, UC Irvine, CSU Northridge, CSU Fullerton) but the final six games of the regular season will feature intra-division matches. The top two teams from each division move on to the Big West Tournament.
You can follow along with the match via Live Stats, on Facebook and on Twitter.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Sacramento State is on a five-match winning streak, including a perfect 4-0 record through the first two weekends of Big West Conference play, in which the Hornets swept the South Division. Goalkeeper Bryan Oliver has been superb in conference play, with a 0.48 goals against average, 24 saves and two shutouts in four games. Overall on the season, the senior has a 1.14 GAA with 63 saves and four shutouts in 11 starts. On the offensive side, Sacramento State has scored 15 goals on 146 shots while allowing 17 scores on 190 attempts. Senior Chris Sandoval and junior Gabe Silveira each have a team-best four goals while junior Isaac Ikyurav senior Alex Lopez each have a team-high four assists. The Hornets will be without Lopez on Friday against the Mustangs, however, as the midfielder has to sit out one game after receiving a red card last Sunday against UC Riverside.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS
Cal Poly split a pair of home games last weekend, with a loss to CSU Northridge and a come-from-behind 3-2 win over UC Irvine in overtime. Against the Anteaters, Mackenzie Pridham scored twice and now has a team-best seven goals, which ranks second in the Big West. The Hornets shut down Big West leading scorer, CSU Northridge's Sagi Lev-Ari (10 goals), in their meeting earlier this season. Chris Gaschen leads the Mustangs with four assists. Overall this season, Cal Poly has scored 18 goals on 142 shots and allowed 13 goals on 157 attempts. Both Case Hauser and Wade Hamilton have played significant minutes in net this season for head coach Paul Holocher. Hauser started the Mustangs' first three Big West games but Hamilton made the start on Sunday against UC Irvine. Hauser has slightly better numbers this season, with a 1.00 goals against average, 22 saves and two shutouts in seven starts. Hamilton sports a 1.19 GAA with 13 saves and one shutout in five starts.
LAST TIME OUT
The last time Sacramento State met Cal Poly was a 4-0 road loss in 2009. Seniors Max Alvarez and Oscar Torrico, then in their freshmen season, started for the Hornets. Mike Hocker, now a redshirt junior, scored the final goal of the game in the 90th minute for the Mustangs while Chris Gaschen, now a senior with a team-best four assists, tallied two assists in that game.
Since moving to Div. I in 1991, Sacramento State is 4-7-2 against Cal Poly. The most memorable meeting between the two schools was in 1996, when former Sacramento State great Jamel Mitchell tallied a single-game school record eight points on three goals and two assists in a 6-2 win over the Mustangs. Mitchell still holds the program record for career goals (27) and career points (71).
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
The Big West features one nationally ranked team. UC Santa Barbara checks in at No. 8 in the latest NSCAA top-25 poll, but dropped from No. 3 last week after the Gauchos suffered their first loss of the season last Sunday, 1-0 at home to CSU Northridge.
||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. Sacramento State
|2. UC Davis||3-1||9||5-4-4|
|3. #8 UC Santa Barbara||2-1-1||7||8-1-3|
|4. Cal Poly||2-2||6||7-5|
|South Division||Big West Record||Points||Overall Record|
|1. CSU Northridge||3-1||9||9-4|
|2. UC Riverside||1-3||3||8-4|
|3. CSU Fullerton||0-3-1||1||4-9-1|
|4. UC Irvine||0-4||0||3-9-1|