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Men's Soccer Weekly Notes, 9/18 (PDF)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State men's soccer team has just three non-conference matches remaining this season, including two this week. Both matches are against WCC opponents for the second straight week as the Hornets host the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Thursday before taking on the Dons in San Francisco on Sunday. 

How To Watch

Sacramento State's Thursday afternoon match against Gonzaga will stream live online at BigWest.TV. Live stats will also be available online at HornetSports.com. Fans can also follow the action with in-game updates on Twitter, @SacStMSoccer. 

Sunday's road match at San Francisco will also stream online via TheW.tv. Live stats can again be found at HornetStats.com while in-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStMSoccer.

More details, including all streaming and stat links, can be found by visiting the 2018 Men's Soccer Schedule online at HornetSports.com.

About Last Week

Sacramento State had perhaps their toughest week of the season last week as they faced the regionally-ranked Pacific Tigers on the road on Tuesday before hosting the #23 Saint Mary's Gaels on Sunday. 

At Pacific, Sacramento State shut down a strong Tigers offense, battling to a scoreless draw after two overtime periods. It was the second draw of the season for the Hornets and their third overtime match of the year. 

On Sunday, the Hornets held the Gaels - who entered the match with the nation's highest goals per game at 3.8 - to just two goals. Unfortunately, Sacramento State was unable to find a goal of their own as they fell 2-0. 

Against Gonzaga

Thursday's home afternoon match against Gonzaga will be the eighth meeting between the two programs since Sacramento State made the jump to Div. I in 1991. All-time, the Bulldogs lead the series 5-2-0. The Hornets have hosted Gonzaga just twice, winning both of those matches. Sacramento State and Gonzaga have not faced each other since 2004, a neutral-site match that the Bulldogs won. 

Scouting the Bulldogs

  • Gonzaga enters this week's competition with a 1-5-2 overall record. 
  • The Bulldogs were picked to finish eighth in the WCC this year after posting a 6-9-2 overall record last year, including an 0-6-1 record in WCC play. 
  • Gonzaga is winless on the road so far this season, posting an 0-2-1 mark when playing away from their home field. 
  • Through eight games, Gonzaga has scored six goals this season, averaging .75 goals per game. On the flip side, they have allowed 20 goals in their eight games this season. 
  • The Bulldogs have played two other Big West programs this season, going 0-1-1. They lost to UC Davis and tied against Cal Poly.
  • Offensively, Gonzaga is led by freshman forward Demitrius Kigeya, who has two goals on 16 total shots. Four other players each have one goal.

Against San Francisco

Sacramento State and San Francisco's Sunday match will be the 14th meeting between the two programs and the first since 2013. The two teams are even in the all-time series with a record of 5-5-3. Eight of their 13 matches have been played in San Francisco where the Hornets are 3-4-1 since 1991. Over their last five matches, Sacramento State is 2-2-1 against the Dons, including 1-2-0 in San Francisco. 

Scouting the Dons

  • San Francisco comes into this week with a 2-4-1 overall record. They play UC Irvine Thursday and the Hornets on Sunday.
  • After being ranked 22nd in the nation last week, the Dons are now receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll. 
  • Although currently not ranked nationally, the San Francisco Dons were ranked as high as 16 in the country earlier this season.
  • Although they have four losses, two of those are on the road at nationally ranked opponents (at #23 Air Force, at #5 Denver).
  • They also have one win over a ranked opponent, beating #8 UCLA 1-0.
  • Before hosting Sacramento State on Sunday, the Dons will host UC Irvine on Thursday. In total, San Francisco will play four matches against Big West programs - they are 1-0 so far with a 3-2 win over CSUN.
  • San Francisco is led offensively by Sean Bowman and Santiago Digeuseppe, each of whom have two goals scored this season.

Receiving Votes

San Francisco has been among one of the best in the nation so far this season. They are currently receiving votes and have been ranked as high as #16 in the nation. Before back-to-back losses to #23 Air Force and #5 Denver, the Dons were ranked #22 last week. 

WCC Week, Pt. II

After facing two West Coast Conference opponents in Pacific and Saint Mary's last week, the Hornets will face two more WCC teams this week as they host Gonzaga before traveling to San Francisco. So far this season, Sacramento State is 0-1-2 against teams from the WCC.

Last year, the Hornets faced a WCC team four times, going 1-3 with a win a 2-1 victory at home over Loyola Marymount. Since joining the Big West in 2012, the Hornets are 6-10-8 against WCC teams. 

Bounceback Defense

After allowing 13 goals in a three-game stretch to CSU Bakersfield, San Jose State, and Cal, the Hornets responded this past week by shutting out Pacific and allowing just two goals to Saint Mary's. 

Pacific entered last Tuesday's match averaging over a goal per game while Saint Mary's entered last Friday's match leading the nation with 3.8 goals per game. 

Not Many Zeroes

Sacramento State was held scoreless in both their matches last week for the first time this year. Before a scoreless draw at Pacific, the Hornets had scored at least one goal in each of their previous five matches. Last year, Sacramento State was held scoreless in seven of their 19 matches. They tied in one of those seven contests. 

Non-Conference Finales

This week's matches against Gonzaga and San Francisco will be two of the Hornets' finale three matches against non-conference opponents. Last year, Sacramento State played just eight non-conference matches instead of 10, and went 4-4. 

On The Road Again

After hosting Gonzaga on Thursday, Sacramento State will take to the road to round out the non-conference schedule with a match at San Francisco and another at UC Davis (non-conference). In total, Sacramento State will have played seven of their 10 non-conference matches on the road. That ratio will flip when they play four of seven Big West matches at home at Hornet Field. 

Penalty Kicks

Sacramento State has kicked and converted on three penalty kicks this year, more than any other Big West team (UC Riverside is 1-1, Cal Poly is 0-1). Last season, the Hornets had just two penalty kicks, scoring both.

Scorin' Scotti

The Hornets have been without their leading scorer their last two games as senior Dom Scotti has been working his way back from injury. Scotti has four goals in just five games played this year. He leads the team and is tied for the highest goals-per-game average in the Big West with .80. 

Including last season, Scotti has scored an impressive eight total goals in just his last 11 games. 

Playing Shorthanded

Sacramento State has played down a man for 189 total minutes so far this season. That is nearly one-third (28%) of their total minutes played this year (676 total minutes). The Hornets have received two red cards, one coming just five minutes into their season opener  at Portland and another in the 12th minute on the road at CSU Bakersfield. 

Chasing 200

Head coach Mike Linenberger is just two wins shy of his 200th career win. He has accumulated a record of 198-300-64 as a head coach, including a mark of 40-59-17 during a six-plus year period in the Big West. Linenberger has guided the Hornets to the Big West Tournament in each of the last two seasons.