On Thursday, Aug. 22, the Seawolves men’s soccer team started off their preseason and their first game back in the United States with a 2-0 loss in an away game against Sacramento State.
The Seawolves went into the game with a strong mindset that there would be a different outcome than last preseason, where they lost to Sacramento State 6-0. Sophomore Matthew Walleigh said, “We, as a team, were prepared for battle.” Unfortunately, they came up short of the win once again. The Seawolves defence improved, but their offence was still unable to score against the Hornets.
From July 31 to Aug. 15, the Seawolves were on a trip to Europe, where they played six games and watched four professional teams. On this trip, the Seawolves record was 3-2-1. While gone, they played four 45-minute games in a tournament and two additional 45-minute games outside of the tournament.
The Seawolves had Sacramento State on their toes in the first half, but unfortunately, the Seawolves had a few mistakes that were picked up on by the Hornets offensive line and those minor mistakes turned into the two goals.
The Hornets outshot the Seawolves 13-10, however the Seawolves had more shots on frame with 4-3. Even though each shot was blocked, the Seawolves can find a silver lining in their ability to be on target.
For most of the game, third year student Derik Engebretsen was the starting goalkeeper, although fellow junior, Ryan Kelly came in and finished off the game strong.
Coach Marcus Ziemer gave a powerful and encouraging half time talk that allowed the seawolves to re-enter the game with a more positive mindset. The team was now determined to not let Sacramento State score in the second half.
Coach Ziemer has great expectations for this upcoming season. “This year I’d like us to keep improving and get better with each game. Our goal at a minimum is to earn a spot in the CCAA Tournament, but hopefully a home game or a bye and make a run at the title,” Ziemer continued his statement when he said, “When we are all on the same page working together we are a pretty special group capable of beating anybody.”
The two goals, scored by first-year Sacramento State student Titus Washington, came in the first half of the game and within six minutes of each other. The first goal was scored at the thirty-eighth minute mark when Washington found his way into the box and got ahead on the loose ball, knocking it past Engebretsen raising the score 1-0.
The second goal, scored in the forty-fourth minute was crossed in by Junior Matthew Korpontinos, who crossed it in from the right side of the box where Washington made contact and the ball went into the lower left corner to make it 2-0.
The second half was where the Seawolves held the Hornets to zero shots on goal while they managed to have five additional shots. Sadly, the Seawolves were not able to capitalize on these shots.
As the season goes on, to prevent these losses from happening again, Captain Anthony Gonzalez-Cruz believes that the key to winning future games is by maintaining focus. “I strongly believe that to prevent more losses we need to stay concentrated in the full 90 minutes and to have each individual player react on their performances after or during the game,” he said. “We need to hold each other accountable as a team is not successful if one person wants to shine. If the team shines, we all individually shine as well.”
Despite the loss, third-year goalkeeper Ryan Kelly has high hopes for this season. Kelly said, “Coming off a really good spring season and being able to go to Europe together is going to help us in the long run. We have a good mixture of young guys, juniors, and seniors which allows us to bring people off the bench and not only rely on our starting players.”