Gators continue home winning streak

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The SF State men’s soccer team continued their hot start to the season, improving to a 4-1 record by defeating the Holy Names University Hawks 1-0.

Despite the win, Gator’s head coach Matt Barnes said he was disappointed in how his team played offensively.

“We didn’t play well at all today,” Barnes said. “(The Hawks) just lost 9-0 their previous game, and then turned around and played us. We got the win, but not putting teams away is stressful. We have to finish games when we get the opportunity.”

The Gators continued their trend of playing strong defense, allowing only five shots on goal all game.

“I liked how we played defensively,” said freshman Aydan Bowers, who started his second game of the season. “We just need to keep working on our composure in the box, and continue to grind.”

The Gators have allowed only one goal all season. The defense held the Hawks to just one shot on goal the entire first half.

Offensively the Gators outshot the Hawks 23-12. The Hawks didn’t get their first shot of the game until the 30th minute.

The lone goal of the game was scored by Sam Merritt in the 25th minute, on a corner kick from Ashley Watson. Watson crossed the ball high, and senior center back Max Talbert headed it right to Merritt. Merritt powerfully kicked the ball from within the six yard box, and it went right past Hawks goalie Kevin Gonzalez.

“Set-pieces are something we work on in practice a lot,” Merritt said. “I made eye contact with Max, and he got me the ball and I was able to score.”

The Gators had numerous scoring opportunities after the goal by Merritt, but were not able to convert.

In the 27th minute, Talbert had a shot go off the crossbar, and in the 42nd minute forward Jakob Velega crossed a ball to Sam Gebremiche, who just missed kicking the ball into an open net.

“We’ll keep working in practice to get better,” Merritt said. “We need to be persistent and keep working on finishing games.”

The Gators play their next three games on the road, with the first being against conference opponent Stanislaus State on Sept. 18.