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Men’s soccer team ends season with 2-2 tie

Emerson Keenan

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Wildcat Matthew Tarr wins the ball over Jose Gonzalez of Cal State San Bernardino at the Chico State soccer field October 30, 2014. Photo credit: John Domogma

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Chico State 2, Cal State San Bernardino 2 (OT)

Goals: 1 – Matt Hurlow (sixth of season); 1 – Carter Johnson (fourth of season)

Assists: 2 – Justin Saul (fifth of season)

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The Chico State men’s soccer team ended its season on Thursday with a 2-2 overtime tie to Cal State San Bernardino in Chico. With the loss, the team fell to 3-6-2 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, missing the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Carter Johnson was able to force overtime, scoring after Justin Saul ripped a curve ball into the box with just over two minutes left in the regulation.

The Wildcats couldn’t find the back of the net in overtime to win the game and settled for a tie. The team was able to find some positives in a season that ended after Thursday’s game.

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Senior Wildcat midfielder Justin Saul with a pass at Chico Soccer Stadium Thursday October 30, 2014. Photo credit: John Domogma

Junior Matt Hurlow scored his sixth goal of the season in the 16th minute just a minute after after the Coyotes scored the first goal of the game.

Johnson, a freshman, explained how he was able to score when the ball just about went through the whole box untouched.

“We have a lot of big guys, so they don’t really mark up the littler guys,” Johnson said. “I noticed that the first couple plays and I used it to my advantage. I saw the ball, flicked it and tried to get something on it because it had so much pace coming in.”

Johnson said he felt he had grown as a player, stepping into a big role as a freshman and running with it, scoring four goals and notching two assists on the season. He admitted that even though the team finished over .500 with a 8-6-3 on the season, not making the playoffs is a definite letdown.

Junior defender Sean Gallagher said knowing before the game that this was their last game of the season was tough.

“Not a whole lot to fight for besides our seniors.” Gallagher said. “But we really wanted to stay on a roll because we won our last two games and stay positive.

“I see a lot of potential with the freshman on the team.” he continued. “For me, I believe I grew with my confidence, as a defender and got stronger. For next year as a senior I feel like I should step into a big leadership role.”

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Freshman Wildcat Frankie Palmer in attacking distance from Cal State San Bernardino goalie Roberto Gonzalez Thursday, October 30, 2014. Photo credit: John Domogma

Coach Felipe Restrepo had some fond words of his team’s play to come back a goal down and tie the match late in the game.

“I think it was will. At the end of the day one of the staples of the culture that we’ve been able to build here is that you fight for 90 minutes or however long the game is going to be,” he said. “That is instilled to our young guys early and our old guys carry that on. I thought that was one area we were getting better in all year and you kind of saw that happen today.”

Restrepo said he was happy with the way his young players played today and is happy about what they are going to bring in the future.

“We didn’t play great but we went and we played hard. So at the end of the day we can be really proud of it. I think today the guys are proud of just fighting for each other,” he said. “It was very much a team effort. It’s soccer, anything can happen and you take what you can control and that is how hard you play.”

Chance Keenan can be reached at [email protected] and @chancelikelance on Twitter.

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Men’s soccer team ends season with 2-2 tie