The Sonoma State University men’s soccer team is flying high, starting undefeated with two victories to open the season. The Seawolves looked to continue their stellar play while going on the road last week to take on The Concordia-Irvine Eagles and The Point Loma Sealions.
The Seawolves cruised to wins against both Simon Fraser and Fresno Pacific in their previous matchups where they relied on their fast offensive attack and dominant goalkeeping of Mitch North.
The Seawolves found themselves nationally ranked number 21 overall by the NCAA division II ratings this last week.This is the first time Sonoma State has been nationally ranked since 2012.
“Being ranked is a great accomplishment for this team and program, it speaks to how hard we worked this offseason,” said junior Armand Coronel. “For now, it is just a short term goal that we hope to build on.”
Looking to stay in winning form, the Seawolves matched up against Concordia-Irvine Thursday night. This was the first contest ever between the Seawolves and The Eagles; Concordia-Irvine is a newcomer to Division II soccer, joining the PAC-west conference this season.
The Seawolves came out confident, scoring first with a rebound goal in the 19 minute from junior forward Raspreet Sandhu. The offensive onslaught began quickly after when junior forward TJ Perez punched in a breakaway goal in minute 38 to put the score at 2-0.
With a two goal lead going into halftime, the Seawolves did not seem to slow down whatsoever. Junior Forward Armando Coronel extended the Sonoma State lead at the start of the second half with a breakaway goal of his own.
Freshman midfielder Johnny Blake was then able to score his first college-career goal in minute 52. To cap off the rout of The Eagles, junior defensive back Dane Shaffar blasted in the game-sealing goal in minute 66 to lock up the match 5-0.
Goal Keeper Mitch North held off his second-straight shutout, stopping all seven shots the eagles sent his way and recording three saves during the match.
The victory was the largest win since Sonoma defeated CSU East Bay 9-0 in 2011.
Armando Coronel helped lead the Seawolves to victory with four total shots, two assists and adding a goal. This was his second-straight game with a goal.
Coronel gave credit to his team for his big day on the field.
“Our offense was just clicking,” said Coronel. “We got into a rhythm and made the game open up; Credit to our defense as well, who continuously won the ball allowing us to counter back.”
This is only the fourth time in school history where the team has started 3-0. On Saturday, the Seawolves squared off against The Point Loma Sealions.
Senior Brenton Frame drilled in his team-leading goal of the season in minute 20 of the game to put SSU on top early. The Seawolves would hold their lead on Point Loma all the way through the first half of the game.
Then in minute 56, things took a turn for the worse for Sonoma.
Two red cards were handed out to Eric Alvarado and Ryan Rohane, meaning the Seawolves would have to play down two men for the remainder of the match. Rohane’s red card led to a penalty kick for Point Loma, when Manu Montal of the Sea Lions sent in the opportunity strike to tie the game at 1-1. The Sea Lions looked after to apply an immense amount of pressure on the Seawolf defense with having a two-man advantage.
After going into double-overtime and as a result of no one scoring for the remainder of the match, the game concluded in a 1-1 draw.
Goal Keeper Mitch North showed great finess against the Point Loma attack, defending 25 shots with 15 being in the second half when the Seawolves were down two men.
Head Coach Marcus Ziemer was very proud of his team’s defense in the tie.
“We showed a lot of heart to battle out there for 55 minutes with only nine men,” said Ziemer. “Mitch North made a few incredible saves that really kept us in it the game the entire time.”
The Seawolves remain unbeaten with a 3-0-1 record heading into the start of CCAA conference play on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7:00 p.m. against Cal State L.A in Los Angeles. The SSU soccer team returns home Sunday, Sept. 27th to face off against archrival Chico State.