NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior midfielder Chris Sandoval scored three minutes into the second overtime period and the Sacramento State men's soccer team won, 1-0, at CSU Northridge in a Big West Conference game on Sunday afternoon at Matador Soccer Field.
The Hornets (5-4-1, 2-0 Big West) are undefeated in league play after two thrilling wins in their first season competing in the Big West. Sacramento State won, 2-1, at UC Irvine on Friday night on Isaac Ikyurav's game-winning goal in the 84th minute and then defeated CSU Northridge, 1-0, on Sandoval's game-winner in the 104th minute.
"After winning a big night game at UC Irvine, in front of a big crowd, we were worried about what kind of energy we would have today," said head coach Michael Linenberger. "We came out a little bit flat but after halftime we really turned it on. We possessed the ball and created some good chances. That effort carried through to overtime. We found a way to get it done and get six big points on the road."
The game-ending goal started when midfielder Almog Strikowski found Ikyurav near the corner of the box. The junior forward drove into the middle of the box, and when two defenders converged he flicked a short pass to Sandoval, who finished with a one-touch shot to the far post. It was Sandoval's third goal this season and first career game-winning goal.
"We recruited Chris out of junior college where he was very, very productive," Linenberger said about Sandoval. "Unfortunately, he was injured his first two years with us and we really didn't know what he could do at this level. But now he is healthy and fit and is making big plays for us. It was a tremendous goal and he had a couple more close chances in the game as well. We're very happy he is healthy and playing well."
Sacramento State keeper Bryan Oliver made four saves and recorded his third shutout of the season. The senior now has a 1.27 goals against average and 50 saves in nine starts.
Overall on Sunday, CSU Northridge had a huge 24-12 edge in shots but both teams tallied just four shots on goal. CSUN also had a whopping 11-2 advantage on corner kicks.
After opening up its inaugural season in Big West play on the road, the Hornets will play the next three games at home. The Hornets will play host to CSU Fullerton and No. 24 ranked UC Riverside next weekend before playing host to North Division foe Cal Poly on Oct. 12.
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