MEN'S SOCCER OPENS SEASON THIS WEEKEND WITH OREGON TRIP

MEN'S SOCCER OPENS SEASON THIS WEEKEND WITH OREGON TRIP

Men's Soccer Weekly Notes, 8/22

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State men's soccer team kicks off the 2018 season with a weekend trip to the state of Oregon where they will face the Portland Pilots and Oregon State Beavers on Friday and Monday, respectively. The Hornets will play their first three matches on the road before returning to Sacramento for their home opener on Sunday, September 2. 

How To Watch

Sacramento State's Friday match against the Portland Pilots will stream live online at TheW.tv. Live stats will be available on HornetStats.com while live updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStMSoccer.

Friday at Portland, 5:30 PM
Watch Online: hornetsports.com/links/cmkvaq
Live stats: hornetsports.com/links/14cx2w
In-game Updates: twitter.com/sacstmsoccer

Live stats for Saturday's game at Oregon State will be available online at HornetSports.com. Additionally, in-game updates can also be found on Twitter, @SacStMSoccer. 

Monday at Oregon State, 6:00 PM
Live stats: hornetsports.com/links/6zoj9q
In-game Updates: twitter.com/sacstmsoccer

All links can be found by visiting the 2018 Men's Soccer Schedule online at HornetSports.com.

About Last Season

Sacramento State played to an 8-9-2 overall record last season, including a 4-4-2 Big West Conference mark. Their record put them third in the North Division of the Big West and clinched them the No. 3 seed and a match at CSUN, the South Division's No. 2 seed. The Hornets' season came to an end on a golden goal at CSUN, 3-2 in the tournament's first round. 

Sacramento State's eight wins matched the second most since joining the competitive Big West and were one shy of their nine wins in 2016. The team was led offensively by returner Justin Bedig and former Hornet Christian Webb who tied for the team lead with 13 points.

Defensively, returners Mac Harrington and Tone Andres helped anchor a back line while playing the most and second most minutes among defensive players, respectively. 

Exciting Exhibitions

The Hornets played three preseason exhibition contests this season, hosting both Bethesda University and Sonoma State while facing Santa Clara on the road. Sacramento State came on strong in all three matches, defeating Bethesda and Sonoma State, both 6-0, while playing to a 2-2 draw at Santa Clara. 

Freshman Benji Kikanovic scored four goals and added three assists while senior Brad Bumgarner scored three goals with two assists. Expected starting goalkeeper Nick Kubler did not allow a goal.

No More Divisions

For the first time since Sacramento State joined the Big West in 2012, the conference is restructuring from two divisions (North and South) to no divisions. In the past, a team played each team in its division twice and teams in the opposite division once for nine games. Now, a team will play each other team in the conference once, resulting in just seven conference games each season. 

Previously, the top three teams from each division advanced to the postseason tournament. With the new, no-division structure, the top six teams overall will clinch a postseason berth. 

Big West Preseason Notes

Sacramento State was selected sixth in the Big West Preseason Coaches' poll, having received 23 points. They finished ahead of UC Riverside and Cal Poly. 

Senior midfielder Dominic Scotti was the lone Hornet named to the Big West Preseason Team. Scotti appeared in just 13 games and logged just 412 total minutes last season but scored four goals over a stretch of just six games toward the end of the season.

Just Score Two

Last season, Sacramento State was 7-1-1 when scoring at least two goals. The Hornets scored two or more goals in nine of their 19 total matches and three or more in four matches. Their lone loss when scoring at least two goals was a 3-2 defeat at CSUN in the first round of the Big West Tournament. 

Against the WCC

Friday's match against Portland is Sacramento State's first of five against West Coast Conference (WCC)  schools this season. Last year, the Hornets faced a WCC team four times, going 1-3, with their one win a 2-1 victory at home over Loyola Marymount. Since joining the Big West in 2012, the Hornets are 6-9-6 against WCC teams. 

Against the Pac-12

Similarly, the Hornets will face Oregon State on Monday, the first of two matches against a Pac-12 team on the schedule this season (also, Cal). Since the move to the Big West, Sacramento State has faced a Pac-12 team just once, also Oregon State, in 2012. 

Tournament Teams

Sacramento State faces three teams who participated in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Cal, Pacific, and San Francisco all earned a big in last year's tournament. The three teams combined to go 2-3, with Pacific only losing to No. 9 Stanford on penalty kicks after playing to a 0-0 draw. 

Freshman All-Big West

The Hornets return two players who were named to the Freshman All-Big West team last season, forward Justin Bedig and defender Tyler Moss

Bedig tied for the team lead with 13 points last season while totaling seven assists, the fifth most in a single season in program history. 

Moss played nearly 1,500 defensive minutes, third most among defenders and second most among last year's newcomers. He also added an assist for his only point of the year.

The New Guys

Sacramento State added 10 new players to their roster for the 2018 season, a group that the staff has referred to as "possibly the best incoming class" the program has seen. 

Among them are forward Benji Kikanovic, who scored four goals and tallied three assists in three halves of play during the preseason, and midfielder Oscar Govea, who scored twice in three halves of play while also commanding the midfield. 

Also new to the squad is freshman Dane Schnell, who recently helped his New Zealand U19 National Team clinch a berth in the 2019 U20 FIFA World Cup in Poland.

Season Openers Past

Despite winning eight and nine games in the last two seasons, the Hornets have not won a season-opening match since 2013, a 1-0 win in double overtime over San Jose State. The Hornets have traditionally been slow starters, winning just six season-opening matches since the team moved to Division I in 1991.