SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The season long Causeway Cup presented by ScholarShare continues on Saturday as the Sacramento State men's soccer team (2-9-3, 0-6-0 Big West) plays at UC Davis (6-7-2, 2-3-1 Big West) at 3 p.m. The match will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season, as the Hornets will also host the Aggies on Nov. 9.
"Davis games are always fun," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger said. "It's a big rivalry and a big crowd, and now that we're in the conference with them the points and Causeway Cup points make it even better. It's a fun environment and we're looking forward to it."
Three critical Big West points will also be on the line on Saturday as Sacramento State looks to stay within striking distance of a berth in the Big West Tournament. The Hornets are seven points back of the third and final postseason qualifying spot in the Big West North Division, but a win on Saturday would put pressure on both UC Davis and Cal Poly as the three teams battle for two postseason spots. Undefeated UC Santa Barbara has already clinched its postseason qualification.
The Hornets played the Gauchos close on Tuesday as the match was level at 1-1 until UCSB got a game winner in the 75th minute. Sophomore Edwin Luna put home a free kick from 35 yards out to bring Sacramento State even, tucking a perfect ball off the bottom of the crossbar and into the Gaucho goal. The visitors had several other quality scoring chances in a highly competitive game.
"We were pleased with a good portion of our performance on Tuesday night at Santa Barbara," Linenberger said. "Its disappointing coming away with another loss, but a lot of positives came out of the game. The group is still very hungry to find our first conference win."
The match was the second consecutive game in which the Hornets rallied from a 1-0 deficit to level the score in the second half, having done the same last Saturday vs. Cal Poly.
"Earlier in the season there were a few games where we'd give up a goal relatively early in the game and we'd kind of tank it and end up losing by 2 or 3 goals," Linenberger said. "I think our group has shown a lot of maturity and growth and now we don't have that same reaction. It's been great that we've been able to equalize the last two games, but unfortunately we haven't been able to close games out."
In total the Hornets have lost by just a single goal in four of their six conference matches, having been in tight contests throughout Big West play despite their winless record. The team is in the midst of a stretch of five of six matches on the road and plays three of its first four Big West North matches away from Hornet Field.
UC Davis has taken the early lead in the Causeway Cup presented by ScholarShare with wins this fall in women's soccer and volleyball. The Aggies have had the home field advantage so far as they host the first three meetings between the schools this season. UCD has a 15-0 lead with two and a half points available for Saturday's match.
The Aggie men's soccer team has Big West wins over UC Irvine and UC Riverside and had a draw at Cal Poly on Tuesday. The team also held a lead into the 90th minute before losing at UC Santa Barbara and has two wins over ranked teams this year. The Aggies have scored just 13 goals in 15 matches and have been shut out six times, but the team ranks third in the Big West with a 0.96 goals against average. Sacramento State is 5-10 all-time vs. UC Davis and was swept by the Aggies last year.