On Wednesday, Oct. 25, UC Riverside men’s soccer (6-7-3, 1-4-1) welcomed the Cal State Northridge (CSUN) Matadors (6-7-2, 1-3-2). The Highlanders scored late in the first half and played a solid game on defense. The Matadors would eventually net the equalizer in the first half and send the game to a scoreless overtime, which resulted in a draw.
UCR’s defense gave the Matadors trouble all night as CSUN accumulated only three shots in the first half. In the 42nd minute, sophomore midfielder Caio Guazzelli, scored the first and only goal thanks to junior midfielder Adrian Medina, who pushed the ball into the box to set up Guazzelli for the chip in.
The Highlanders would build on the momentum in the second half, adding seven more shots, but to no success. CSUN responded with their own defensive effort and gained back their confidence due to a goal scored in the 63rd minute by junior forward Daniel Trejo.
Senior goalkeeper Edwyn Gutierrrez also had a strong performance, hauling in four saves on the day.
Although the game didn’t have the flashiest box score, both teams’ defense had stellar performances that led to the match resulting in a draw. Both teams combined for a total of seven saves which showcases the defensive effort on both sides.
Both teams now had their lone conference draw and found themselves tied for 6th place in the Big West with the Sacramento State Hornets. All three teams were tied with a 1-3-1 conference record before UCR took on the Hornets on senior night.
On Saturday, Oct. 26 the Highlanders then hosted Sacramento State (7-8-2, 2-3-1) in their final home game of the season, looking to move out of the three-way tie in the standings.
Unfortunately for the Highlanders, a second consecutive overtime contest brought a different fate this time around. Both squads drew successful penalty kicks; freshman midfielder Matt Carnefix netted the first for Sac State in the 33rd minute of the first half and senior defender Uros Ilic scored the Highlanders’ penalty in the 53rd minute.
UCR saw a handful of opportunities to take an early lead, with junior forward Roberto Garcia-Vargas and Guazelli each narrowly missing their shots and hitting the woodwork instead. Senior midfielder Ronaldo Lomeli also put up an on-target shot to the left side of the goal that was saved by freshman goalkeeper Ryan Curtis.
Sacramento State would eventually score the golden goal in a short-lived overtime period. The top six teams in the conference advance to the postseason, and with the loss, the Highlanders find themselves in last place in the conference.
Up next for the Highlanders is Cal State Fullerton (10-6-1), owner of the sixth spot in the conference standings. This is an important match for the Highlanders, who trail the Titans by two points and will need to secure the victory to earn a trip to the tournament.