Jose Monje’s first goal of the season was the deciding factor in the SF State men’s soccer game against the Sonoma State Seawolves in Sunday afternoon’s game. With only three minutes left in overtime, the goal couldn’t come a minute too soon for the Gators who ended the game with a 2-1 win.
“I didn’t expect it,” Monje said. “It felt great.”
Monje’s goal came after 107 minutes of even playing between the Gators (4-2-2, 3-2-1 CCAA) and the Seawolves (5-3, 4-2 CCAA). The Gator defense held a strong line with help from goalie Eric Scolman, who recorded seven saves, and defender Malcolm Linton. The Gators held on to possession for most of the game, creating quick passing sequences that led the offense to outshoot the Seawolves 21-13.
The Seawolves’ lead was short lived when Gator forward Edgar Villagrana scored the equalizing goal off an assist from Robert Gilbert. The build up from midfield that led to the goal was a strategy the Gators had been using all game, which proved to give the Seawolves defense some struggle.
“It’s a combination of both (quick passing) and through balls when we stack up front,” Monje said, acknowledging their offensive strength in the game.
The Gators had the chance to take the lead when captain Sasha Chalak crossed the ball into the goal box, where Villagrana took on a defenseman and goalie for a shot. Although Villagrana scored, a late offside call made the goal ineffective leaving the score 1-1.
“You have to bring your soccer brains when you’re playing a team like Sonoma, you never know what you’re going to get,” said head coach Joe Hunter.
He said he knows Sonoma State is a good team with a good record.
“We played with equal stature…I’m not saying we were the better team, but we were better when we needed to be.”
Late in the second half, both teams fought tirelessly to gain a goal and clench the win. Equal possession and strong defensive plays from both teams led to overtime. Linton, sweeper for the Gators, recognizes the importance of a strong defense in a game that boils down to one goal.
“It’s really all about communication,” Linton said. “(Defense) is very important in a game like this, and we just worked together through communication.”
The Seawolves maintained possession in overtime, but Linton helped the SF State defense hold them off until Monje’s golden goal in the last three minutes. The golden goal refers to the first goal scored in overtime, which determines the winner. Both teams fought hard all game, but Monje’s goal confirmed the victory for the Gators, putting their winning streak at three.
“It was a good weekend for us,” Hunter said. “I thought (we) were resilient and intelligent…If we can do that in every game we’re going to see success this year.”