SF State’s first conference win could turn out to be their biggest, as the men’s soccer team bested defending California Collegiate Athletic Association south division champs Cal State Los Angeles 1-0 for the first time in the last seven years, Friday Sept. 20.
The Gators registered the first blemish on CSULA’s record, as the Golden Eagles came into their matchup ranked seventh in the nation and undefeated through their first four games.
“It’s a great win,” head coach Joe Hunter said. “I think that the key is how do we react. Do we get full of ourselves or do we come out and take the next step?”
SF State drew first blood when a free kick by midfielder Sam Merritt found forward Andrew Ogilvy, who slid the ball past the CSULA goalkeeper, to put the Gators on top with 22 minutes left in the first half.
Ogilvy’s goal was all the Gators needed as
sophomore goalkeeper Colt Reichl had a huge day, shutting out CSULA on 11 saves and outplaying the reigning CCAA player of the week, Golden Eagles keeper Mike Beigarten.
“It’s such a rush,” Reichl said. “They kept pumping balls in, you’re just hoping your defense holds up and they did today, they did everything right.”
CSULA out shot the Gators 26-11, and SF State managed only two shots on target the whole game. The Golden Eagles dominated every offensive statistical category, but came away with nothing to show for.
The goal by Ogilvy was the first goal CSULA has allowed all year after shutting out their first four opponents.
The teams came into the game on opposite ends of the spectrum. SF State, with 15 new players added to their roster, came in winless in their last three games. The Golden Eagles returned 20 players from a team that had the best record in the CCAA last year at 10-2-3.
“We told the guys this is a game where you’re going to find out if you’re on track,” Hunter said. “I think we took some good steps today, it shows that our guys are ready for some challenges.”
But the win didn’t go without a blunder; Merritt received his fourth yellow card of the year after an argument with the referee erupted toward the end of the first half. One more during the season and he will be forced to sit out a game.
“Yeah (I’m) definitely going to play more conservative,” Merritt said. “Keep my cool on the field, try to do the best for my team and not pick up any more cards.”
SF State improved to 2-2-1 on the year and now sits third in the division standings, just two points behind the leaders Sonoma State and Cal State Monterey Bay.
“The energy and the vibe going through the team is really good right now,” Merritt said. “We have a lot of momentum pushing us forward, and we just have to use that momentum during the game because these games are so emotional and passionate that the team with the most drive is usually going to win.”
The Gators didn’t have much time to celebrate their victory as they hosted Cal State Dominguez Hills Sunday, Sept. 22, falling 3-1.