The SF State men’s soccer team concluded the last home game of the season with a motivating 1-0 win against Cal State Stanislaus Sunday afternoon. The victory was especially meaningful to seniors who were being honored as a part of Senior Day.
“It’s not just the 11 guys on the field. It’s a team effort,” said Thomas Comer, goalkeeper and senior for the Gators. “We play for the team and we wanted to go out with a bang at home.”
Comer, who returned from a concussion injury two weeks ago, recorded three saves to lead to the shutout. Comer received strong support from his defense, led by seniors Malcolm Linton and Andrew Chanksy.
“Communication is huge,” Comer said. “Also trust. We trust each other and the (forwards) to make the tackles they have to.”
For the first half of the game, possession between the Gators and Warriors remained even. Both teams struggled to make plays near the net, despite strong persistence from Gator forwards Saman Assadi and Edgar Villagrana.
The Warriors had 14 shots at goal, twice as many as the Gators. Although the Warriors also had eight corner kicks, compared with two by the Gators, it was SF State who first found the back of the net.
In the last minute of the first half, Sasha Chalak took a free kick outside the Warrior penalty box. His shot flew high toward the goal where the ball hit the cross bar and bounced back into play. Freshman and substitute Robert Gilbert raised his leg high to connect with the ball and put it in back of the net.
“To get the early goal is really important,” Gilbert said. “And then we kept up the defense.”
Into the second half, both teams came out strong. Cal State Stanislaus picked up the intensity, creating plays near the Gators’ goal. They nearly tied the game when Warrior forward Daniel Kuczynski took a solid shot on goal. Comer, fully extended, stopped the ball last minute to hold onto the shutout.
“We held them,” Comer said, who knew the importance of each player doing their part.
The Gators are coming off of a five game losing streak. The win will conclude their home games, before finishing their season with four away games. The Gators will have to win the rest of their games to finish the season with a winning record.
“I’m glad today we showed perseverance,” said head coach Joe Hunter. “You’re not always going to have the most control, but that’s the nature of the beast. But I thought, today, we came through.”
Senior Day recognized Saman Assadi, son of Golnar Scott and Nasar Assadi; Andrew Chansky, son of Charlie and Karyl Chansky; Thomas Comer, son of Tom and Lori Comer; Malcolm Linton, son of Harold and Cheryl Linton; and Antonio Ugarte, son of Carlos and Jeanette Ugarte.
All of the seniors started in Sunday’s game, and the win was an inspiring send-off for the seniors’ last game at Cox Stadium. Comer said it meant a lot to the team to be able to clench the win.
“We’ve been battling, but today we had a chance to (win) and we were more determined,” Hunter said. “I’m glad. They deserve it.”