SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It was a heated night between the Sacramento State men's soccer team (8-7-2, 4-3-2) and the UCSB Gauchos (6-6-5, 4-2-3) Wednesday in Santa Barbara as the two teams played to a scoreless draw after double overtime.
It was a physical and aggressive matchup for the two teams and one that caused a lot of frustration, as both teams needed a win to keep any hope of a division title alive. Eventually, those frustrations boiled over in a postgame scrum at midfield that was thankfully broken up before it could escalate.
With the scoreless draw and a UC Davis win Wednesday night, neither the Hornets or Gauchos can finish first in the division. The Aggies have secured the number one seed in the conference tournament. Both Sacramento State and UCSB have a chance for the number two seed and a home match in the first round of the Big West tournament. The final seeding will come down to the season's final day of play on Sunday.
Both offenses came out aggressive in tonight's match, pushing the ball up the field with little resistance in the first half. The back line and goalkeepers just would not break, though, despite repeated attacks from both sides.
James Del Curto had a particularly spectacular night for the Hornets, making a number of strong saves, including a game-saving kick save in the 72nd minute. While the box score only shows four saves, Del Curto was as aggressive as the Gauchos offense, challenging attackers and controlling the box in front of him.
Sacramento State had multiple chances to score, as well, including a number of free kicks from with 30 yards in the first half. Dominic Scotti had what looked to be a break away opportunity but went to the ground, losing the ball inside the 15 yard line. No foul was called, despite what looked like a UCSB defender tugging Scotti to the ground.
The overtime match was Sacramento's second against UC Santa Barbara this season, the first a 2-1 loss in the first overtime at Hornet Field. For the season, the Hornets are now 2-2-2 in overtime matches.
Last time Sacramento State traveled to Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, they took the Gauchos to a 1-1 draw through two overtimes.
Although UC Davis locked up the North Division title with a win tonight, the Hornets still have an opportunity to finish second with a win on Sunday and a Santa Barbara loss or draw. With a second-place finish, Sacramento State would host a team from the South Division in the tournament's opening round. Should they remain in third, they will start the conference tournament on the road.
Sacramento State also finished second in the North Division last season and hosted the South's CSUN.
Sunday's regular season finale at UC Davis is scheduled for a 1:00 pm start.