Coming off of their 2-1 win against California State University, East Bay, men’s soccer added another win to their record against CSU, Monterey Bay on Sunday, Oct. 1 at Cox Stadium.
The San Francisco State University Gators won their second game of the weekend against the CSUMB Otters, lengthening their record to 7-1-1. This game, like the game played against CSUEB, was close.
The Gators started out strong at the 11:30 a.m. start time with two shots, one of them being on-goal, within the first five minutes.
A little after the 10-minute mark, an on-goal shot by the Otters’ offense but blocked by the Gators’ goalkeeper showed that the Otters are here and aggressive.
“Their main game plan was to look for quick breaks, flicks, use their athleticism to their ability,” said junior defender Nolan Parker. “I think we frustrated them by shutting them down 1 v.1 and not allowing them to get the initial ball off.”
Even though the Otters’ aggressiveness showed, with five fouls given to them in the first half, the Gators played to their strengths and worked as a team with quick passes.
SF State’s strategy of quick passes up the field worked in their favor a little after 21 minutes of game time, when senior defender/midfielder Jesse Rodriguez kicked a follow-through to sophomore midfielder Richard Leon, scoring the first goal of the game and Leon’s fifth of the season.
The Gators brought their combativeness throughout the duration of the first half and powered through another goal by junior mid-defender Aydan Bowers. Bowers headered a corner kick in the crowded goal box assisted by junior midfielder/forward Nigus Solomon, awarding Bowers his first goal of the season.
“Our first corner, they made it a little difficult, we were caught in the middle, but eventually we got a couple corners,” said Bowers. “It cleared up and there you know, I scored.”
The Gators grew more comfortable after the first half gave them an insurance goal.
However, halftime let the opponents breath for a moment and the team kicked four shots, one being a free-kick shot from near midfield that cost the Gators their insurance goal.
There was 16 minutes and some change left in the second half. The Gators had to check themselves and kick each other into gear defensively and offensively.
Senior forward Ranier Plantinos let his particular grievances go and focused on his teammates.
“For myself, I got frustrated with my touch,” he said. “But as a team, I feel like we did really well, just holding and keeping the ball.”
Six substitutions later and two shots outside of the goal, the Gators kept their lead and won by one, accomplishing a 2-1 victory.
Bowers reflected on how this win is still a win in-progress and that the team needs to have more focus in the second half if they are leading.
“We got too comfortable in the second half,” he said. “Going in the future, we need to not do that. We need to come in, move up when we have the lead, be on our toes and keep going after it.”
The Gators’ win over the Otters raises their win streak to two wins in a row going into Friday’s game on Oct. 6 against the University of California San Diego Tritons. This will be the first game in a four game away series.
SF State’s next home game at Cox Stadium will be on Friday, Oct. 20 against CAL Poly Pomona, in which the first 250 students will receive free soccer scarves.