Gators end season on senior day with 2-0 shutout win


SF State freshman forward Richard Leon (8) boots a ball past the Stanislaus State’s Warrior goalkeeper during their 2-0 win over the Warriors at Cox Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Leon’s kick hit the top of the goal post and would have been the third goal of the match.

SF State’s men’s soccer team recorded their first non-losing season in the CCAA since joining the conference in 1998 with a 2-0 shutout victory over the visiting Stanislaus State Warriors on Senior day.

The Gators finished the season on a three-game winning streak but missed the playoffs, ending their season with an overall record of 9-6-2 and 5-5-2 in CCAA.

“Our team played fantastic in the first half we came out playing our brand of soccer like we’ve done all season,” first-year head coach Javier Ayala-Hil said. “We were very attack minded and was able to finish some good chances out there.”

The match remained scoreless until the 24th minute when sophomore midfielder Aydan Bowers got position on a free kick from senior midfielder Ashley Watson and headed it in to score his first collegiate goal putting the Gators up 1-0.

SF State continued to keep the pressure going in the first half. At the 35th minute Francisco Saucedo added to the Gator lead when he connected on a cross from Brandon Brunac for his third goal of the season, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead. The Gators outshot the Warriors on the afternoon 19-18 and 8-5 shots on goal.

“We played so well in the first half we were pressuring them and playing good defense,” Bowers said. “Im super happy we put away those two goals we needed.”

Senior goalie Emmanuel Jimenez added another shutout to his personal record and will close his Gators chapter with 6.5 shutouts for the Gators this season.

“The team was pumped to play for senior day we wanted to go all out,” Jimenez said. “To get another shutout is a blessing it makes you feel good.”

Prior to the match, the Gators recognized their four seniors: James Aguirre, Emmanuel Jimenez, Emmanuel Serrano and Ashley Watson.

According to Ayala-Hil they are expected to bring back a strong team next season.

“We have a really good core coming back and we have a lot of depth throughout positions,” Ayala-Hil said. “Last year I only had a week to prepare them, this time we will have all summer. We’ll be ready.”

The returning players and coaches share the same excitement for the program.

“Next year is going to be unbelievable, just this year with a new coach we got 7th place, barely missing playoffs,” Bowers said. “We have a lot of returning players so I have really high expectations next year.”