October 11, 2013
Highlanders 1 – Hornets 0
The men’s soccer team (6-4-2, 1-2-0) experienced a rough patch in their 2013 conference campaign, dropping their last four games after starting the season on fire. On Friday night, they hosted Sacramento State (2-6-3, 0-3-0) as both squads searched for their first conference victory. It was the Highlanders who came out on top as the home team scored shortly after the hour mark to secure their first Big West victory, 1-0.
Both teams had trouble finding the back of the net early as the Hornets outshot Riverside 9-8 in the first half. UC Riverside added pressure as the team attempted three shots and a pair of corner kicks in the opening minutes after Hornets midfielder Edwin Luna attempted a shot near the four-minute mark. The Hornets had two of their five corner kicks in the final two minutes of the half, but couldn’t convert on any occasion.
The second half saw the Highlanders rev up the intensity as the squad outshot Sacramento State 12-6 for the period. Ruben Valencia finally broke the scoreless game in the 63rd minute. Highlander John Tover found Richie Osbourne in the right corner as Valencia headed Osbourne’s cross past the Hornets’ goalkeeper. Sacramento made a late-game surge in the final six minutes, attempting three shots and two corner kicks but to no avail as the Highlanders held on for a 1-0 victory.
UCR held a 20-15 shot advantage for the game as well as a 9-7 edge in corner kicks. Riverside goalie Ashkan Khosravi tallied four saves for the contest while Hornets goalie Cesar Castillo, who ranks third in the NCAA in saves per game, recorded five.
Earlier in the season, head coach Tim Cupello spoke about the key components that make up his team. “Our team success has come through maturity, discipline, and buy-in from each player on the team,” he stated. “We have had some very good individual moments, but our success has come through working as a unit and believing in our system.”