MEN'S SOCCER TRAVELS TO UNLV AND NEW MEXICO ON FIRST MPSF ROAD TRIP
HORNETS TRAVEL TO UNLV AND NEW MEXICO ON FIRST MPSF ROAD TRIP
Sacramento State will hit the road for the first time inside of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for encounters at UNLV and preseason conference favorite New Mexico. UNLV enters Friday’s matchup with an overall record of 5-4-1, which includes an 0-2 mark so far this season in MPSF play. New Mexico enters the week with a 4-4-2 mark, including a 1-1 record in the MPSF.
TEAM ACHIEVES HIGHEST EVER RANKING IN NSCAA POLLS
The Hornets remained in this week’s NSCAA/Adidas Far-West Region top 10 poll at the No. 5 position, after spending last week at the No. 6 position. They are currently ranked ahead of MPSF foes New Mexico (8) and San Jose State (10). The ranking is the highest ranking the Hornets have ever achieved. The team has also been ranked for six straight weeks, which doubles the number of weeks the team has been ranked in the poll previously in program history (3).
Also, for the second time this season, Sacramento State received votes in the NSCAA/Adidas Top 25 poll this week. The Hornets, who received three votes in the poll, are the only team in the MPSF that are receiving votes. Opponents from earlier in the season UC Irvine (23) and UC Davis (14) are ranked in the poll, which is topped by defending national champion Wake Forest, who is unbeaten and untied at 10-0.
TEAM PLAYING ‘TOP RANK’ SOCCER ON THE STAT SHEET
As a team, the Sacramento State Hornets are ranked 10th in the NCAA in team goals against average, allowing just 0.48 goals per game. The team also ranks 15th in shutout percentage (0.60) and fifth in save percentage (0.906).
In individual rankings, senior Blake Nunes ranks 95th in the NCAA in goals per game (0.44), while freshman Bryan Oliver ranks 11th in the nation in save percentage (0.886), 20rd in goals against average (0.592), and 35th in saves per game (4.88).
At the conference level, Oliver leads the MPSF in all but one goalkeeping category, including goals against average, save percentage, shutouts (4), shutouts per game (0.50) and saves per game. Nunes leads the conference in game-winning goals (2) and points per game (1.0), ranks second in the MPSF in shots (34), shots per game (3.78), points (9), goals (4) and goals per game, while senior Omar Martinez is the conference leader in assists (3).
MEN’S SOCCER STARTS CONFERENCE PLAY PERFECT WITH 1-0 TRIUMPH OVER SAN JOSE STATE
Junior Zach Tuss scored the game-winning header in the 77th minute, leading the Sacramento State men’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over the visiting San Jose State Spartans on Sunday, Oct. 5 at Hornet Soccer Field.
In a physical affair that saw the team’s combine for 32 fouls and seven cautions, San Jose State and Sacramento State played evenly throughout, as both teams ended the match with 19 shots taken. The first half of play saw San Jose State control much of the play through the first 30 minutes, mounting an early 7-2 shot advantage. The Hornets evened it out somewhat over the final 15 minutes, taking four shots to the Spartans one, but both team’s found themselves scoreless through the first half of play.
The second half saw the tempo of the game pick up, as both team’s moved the ball quickly from end-to-end, with the two squads each having chances on goal. The Hornets capitalized on one of their chances in the 77th minute, as senior Blake Nunes took the ball on the right side of the box and slotted a perfect cross to the back post that Tuss headed into the back of the net for the game-winner.
The most unlikely of offensive heroes, Tuss, who normally sees time on the Hornets defensive backline, had not posted a shot on the season entering the game. He had recorded just six career shots entering today’s matchup, which marked his 27th career appearance as a Hornet. But the Sacramento native made the most of his opportunities playing in the midfield, leading the team with four shots and scoring his first career goal.
Junior Ryan Kenny collected his fourth career clean sheet, and first of 2008, in goal for the Hornets, while also making six saves. Spartan ‘keeper Lewis Sweeney also played well, collecting nine saves on the ten shots on goal he faced. The Spartans were led offensively by Efrain Burgos Jr., who posted five shots and nearly gave San Jose State a 1-0 first half lead when he had a free kick from 20 yards out hit off of the post.