SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Following a pair of home exhibition matches the Sacramento State men's soccer team will open its regular season against former Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) foe San José State at 7 p.m. Friday in San Jose.
"We've got a bit of a rivalry with San José State after being in the same conference for so long," Hornet head coach Michael Linenberger said. "(Spartan Stadium) is a difficult place to play on field turf and with the football lines. We had two days to recover and get ourselves ready and we were pleased with the progress we made from the first exhibition game to the second."
Sacramento State and San José State have met at least once in all but one of the Hornets' 22 seasons playing Div. I soccer. In 2011, the final season that the teams both played in the MPSF, the squads met twice in the regular season and in the MPSF Championship, where the Spartans earned a 4-2 win to deny the Hornets a third consecutive conference title. The teams also met last year in Sacramento in a 2-1 SJSU victory.
The Spartans also played two exhibition matches, topping UC Santa Cruz 2-1 and recording a 1-1 draw at Cal. San José State was picked to finish fourth in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) this season after going 8-9-1 last season in its final year in the MPSF. Junior defender Andy Kelly was named to the preseason All-WAC team.
The Hornets enter the regular season with some momentum after a 2-1 exhibition win over Sonoma State on Tuesday. Sophomore Edwin Luna, one of three San Jose natives on the Sacramento State roster, scored his first collegiate goal in the sixth minute of Tuesday's match.
"It felt great to get that first college goal," Luna said. "A lot of people have doubted me so it felt good to put one in the back of the net. I feel like I can keep building from it and I'm really excited for Friday as a lot of people I know will be there."
Junior Chimdum Mez also scored for the Hornets on Tuesday before the Seawolves got a late tally in the second half. Sacramento State did not allow a single goal in the first halves – when both team's predominately played their starters -- against both Sonoma State and Stanford. Senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo made four saves while not allowing a goal over 90 minutes in the two exhibition contests.
"We're feeling pretty good going into the season; we have a whole new back line and our defensive shape has been improving," Castillo said. "It's always a good game with San Jose. They're very physical and they are good when they play at home so it will be fun."
Fans can follow Friday's game via the above live stats link and on twitter @hornetsports.