SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sacramento State opened Big West play on the road at UC Santa Barbara Wednesday night, falling 2-0 to the Gauchos.
With the loss, Sacramento State is now 5-6-1 overall and 0-1 in league play. UC Santa Barbara improves to 8-2-2 overall and 1-0 in the Big West.
UC Santa Barbara is receiving votes this week in the NCAA's United Soccer Coaches poll, the second Hornets opponent to be receiving votes at the time of the match (also San Diego).
The first half passed without a score, though UC Santa Barbara had a goal overturned on a very close offside call. Regardless of the play, the two teams went into the half even, 0-0.
In the second, UC Santa Barbara scored what would prove to be the game-winner in the 53rd minute.
Sacramento State had a great opportunity to counter just minutes later after the Gauchos misplayed a clearance right to the feet of Hornets' midfielder Matt Carnefix. Carnefix hit the ball with authority from just 10 yards out, but the Gauchos goalkeeper was able to throw his arms up in time, deflecting the shot high and over the top of the crossbar.
With the clock ticking closer to 90 minutes, Sacramento State began to press harder in search of the equalizer. Unfortunately, that aggression worked against them when a Gauchos through ball left resulted in a one-on-one situation and UC Santa Barbara's second goal of the match in the 88th minute.
In total Wednesday night, the Hornets were outshot, 12-5 (5-1 on goal), but did win the corner kick battle, 8-5. Benji Kikanovic took two of Sacramento State's five shots. In goal, Hector Grajeda made his second start of the year and made three saves.
With the loss, the Hornets dip below .500 for the first time all season.
Big West play continues for the Hornets as Sacramento State hosts UC Irvine at Hornet Field on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Details on Saturday's upcoming match, including links to live video and stats, notes, and more, can be found on the Sacramento State men's soccer schedule online at HornetSports.com.