Men’s soccer team off to 2-0-0 start in conference play

Three worthy collegiate contenders couldn’t impede the momentum of the Sonoma State University men’s soccer team as Fresno Pacific, Cal State Monterey Bay, and Cal State East Bay each fell victim to the Seawolves’ offensive tenacity.  

The team faced the Fresno State Sunbirds on Tuesday night, their last matchup before entering conference play. Just 10 minutes into the game, sophomore midfielder Luis Mendoza launched a shot from 20 yards out, finding the back of the net for his first goal of 2017.

“Scoring my first goal of the year against a great opponent felt amazing,” Mendoza said. “It’s always a great feeling scoring and knowing you were able to help the team and raise not only my own confidence, but also the team’s confidence to push through and get the win.”

Freshman midfielder Kyle Owings secured the lead with a goal of his own, firing a left-footed dart just beyond the reach of the Sunbirds’ goalkeeper. Without even a moment to recover, Sonoma State notched another goal in the form of freshman forward Sebastian Santos. The lead was too much for Fresno Pacific, who could only break the defense once to put the final score at 3-1.

Friday’s game sparked another domination by the Seawolf pack. A heated match resulted in two red cards per team and scattered blame for seven yellow cards. Combating the aggressive Otters, Sonoma State was able to scathe off their offensive attempts while maintaining a strong lead throughout.

Offensively, Owings got the ball rolling in the 26th minute with another left-footer, assisted by sophomore midfielder Evan Roehrig. Up 1-0, defender Eric Alvarado put himself on the board for the second time this year, rocketing a penalty kick to secure the 2-0 victory.

“I think we just played with heart and worked really hard,” Owings said. “It was the conference opener so we were all fired up to get the win away from home.”

Entering the regular season with an assertive win kept the pack hungry for another, and, unfortunately for them, the East Bay Pioneers found themselves in the midst of a hunt. Senior forward Andrew Ogilvy was the first to attack just seven minutes into the game, scoring off an assist by Josh Sanchez. East Bay, unable to reciprocate, defended unsuccessfully as Ogilvy and forward Marco Barragan went in for the kill. The 3-0 lead was too much for the Pioneers, and the Seawolves sent them home scoreless.

“Entering the CCAA, our coach just had us focus on one goal: to remain hungry and play our hearts out on the field,” Mendoza said. “Our priority was circulating the ball and picking our moment to go forward. Knowing when to attack and hold back, tactically using the field to our advantage, and most of all, putting our teams away early.”

After three back-to-back wins, the men’s soccer team holds a 4-2-1 overall record and remains undefeated in the CCAA. 

“To continue this streak I think we just need to keep pushing each other and growing as a team. We have a long season ahead of us, but we are willing to do whatever it takes,” Owings said.

  The unit hopes to continue their success next week against Holy Names on Thursday at home, then at Humboldt State on Sunday in Arcata.