MEN'S SOCCER IS NCAA TOURNAMENT BOUND FOLLOWING SHOOTOUT TRIUMPH AGAINST NEW MEXICO
DENVER - The Sacramento State men's soccer team earned the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a 2-2 tie against New Mexico, after the Hornets advanced in a shootout by a tally of 5-4, on Sunday, Nov. 15.
With the tie, the Hornets record moves to 11-5-3, while New Mexico's record moves to 12-6-1.
After the first four kicks of the shootout, the Lobos held a 4-3 advantage on the Hornets, meaning Sacramento State would need to score on their attempt, and stop New Mexico during their turn to force a sixth round of kicks. Junior Fernando Cabadas connected on his attempt, tying the shootout at 4-4. David Murphy stepped up for his attempt to win it for New Mexico, but he had his shot blocked by Hornet sophomore goalkeeper Bryan Oliver, forcing a sixth round of the shootout. Junior defender Diego Marroquin connected on his attempt to give Sacramento State a 5-4 lead in the sixth round, but Ryan Farquharson of New Mexico had his shot stopped by Oliver, giving the Hornet men's soccer team their first ever trip into the NCAA Tournament.
"We came back three times in the match, and I think it really showed the character and resiliency of this team," head coach Michael Linenberger said. "It's our first conference championship and our first trip to the NCAA Tournament, so this is a huge step for our program. We hope to continue our season for a few more games."
New Mexico got a header from Stephen Brown in the 25th minute to take a 1-0 lead, but Sacramento State senior Scott Crandall took the rebound off of a shot by junior Ernesto Carranza that went off the post and jammed it into the back of the net in the 58th minute, tying the score at 1-1.
The Lobos scored on another header, this time by Justin Davis, in the 69th minute, giving New Mexico a 2-1 lead midway through the second half.
But, Sacramento State would have the equalizer in the 83rd minute, as Carranza sent a cross into the box that was chested into the goal by freshman Matt Linenberger for his second goal in as many games, tying the score at 2-2, and forcing overtime.
In the first extra session, New Mexico had four chances, including one on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net.
In the second overtime period, Oliver made three saves in goal for the Hornets, as Sacramento State held on to force the shootout.
In the shootout, freshman Max Alvarez connected in the first round of kicks, as did New Mexico's Michael Reed, tying the score at 1-1. The score became 2-1 in favor of the Lobos in the second round, as Crandall pushed his attempt over the crossbar, and Michael Green connected on his attempt for New Mexico. Carranza and senior David von Stockhausen were successful in rounds three and four for the Hornets, as were Simon Ejdemyr and Lance Rozeboom for the Lobos, making the score 4-3 in favor of New Mexico before the Hornet heroics from Oliver, Cabadas and Marroquin.
Cabadas was named the tournament MVP, with von Stockhausen and Linenberger also earning all-tournament team honors.
The Hornets will find out their first round opponent during the NCAA Men's Soccer Selection Special, scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. on ESPNNEWS on Monday afternoon.