Lewis, Egujie again lead Wildcats to victory


Chico State men’s soccer plays against Sonoma State University on Friday. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Coming off of a 1-0 victory, Chico men’s soccer has been fun for the fans to watch, as they haven’t seen an opposing goal scored at home in over 270 minutes of playtime. Goalkeeper Damion Lewis has been amazing at goalie, getting eight saves, and leading Chico to yet another shutout victory.

Chico State star forward Jeremiah Egujie is also back at it again, scoring the lone goal against Sonoma State. Egujie has been the difference maker for the Wildcats, as he has scored goals in each of Chico State’s last three victories.

After 25 minutes of scoreless play, Chico looked frustrated after seeing some good looks earlier in the game, but Egujie would not be stopped this time. He shot the ball from about 15 feet away, and it went straight into the edge of the goal, breaking the scoreless tie in the first half.

This goal came off of a great pass by Esten Schroeder, who got on the board for the first time this season. Chico’s defense took care of the rest, leaving the game a 1-0 win for the Wildcats.

“It was a pass to Esten, then Esten waited for me to make my run, which I made, and he just chipped it and I scored,” Egujie said about his goal.

Chico State forward, Jeremiah Egujie kicks the ball towards the goal against Sonoma State on Friday. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

“We’re always preparing in practice,” Schroeder said. “We look at every team and see how to attack them and defend them. I told Jeremiah to run, and he took off and scored the goal.”

Despite the great work from the Wildcats on offense, it was the defense that ultimately won it for them. Damion Lewis’ eight save shutout (his fifth of the season) extends the wildcats hot streak. Chico has now won six of their last seven games, outscoring their opponents 11-3.

“It’s just for the most part keeping the back line in tact and making sure they’re organized,” Lewis said. “We were a little shaky in the first five, or ten minutes, and towards the end, we saw a little fatigue, and they were getting opportunities out of it so we just need to sharpen up.”

Garrett Hobgin, one of the players on that back line, believes the play of Lewis and the rest of the team’s defensive effort is what won the game.

“It starts at the back with Damion Lewis, he’s the man back there, he commands us and tells everybody where they need to be,” Hobgin said. “We prepare our defense, defend as a team, we all get behind the ball, we all shift and we all move together. We’re a hard working team, we fight for each other, and that’s what gets us the shutouts.”

Chico State midfielder, Samuel Licona heads the ball away from Sonoma State on Friday. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

This win moves Chico from fifth to a tie for third in their conference, and as the postseason gets closer, positioning becomes more and more important. The top two teams in the California Collegiate Athletic Association get to skip the first round of the playoffs, and advance to the semifinals.

Chico State is now a game behind the second place Cal Poly Pomona Broncos, who they lost to 1-0 on the road earlier in the season.

In terms of maintaining Chico’s recent success, Coach Felipe Restrepo thinks his team can continue to improve.

“I think the team’s improving each day… I think you’re seeing them begin to find themselves and it’s good timing,” Restrepo said. “My hope is over the next few weeks that this is the best Chico State team over the course of a year.”

Restrepo believes that his team must prepare the same way for every game, no matter the circumstances.

“We have a winning culture with hardcore values, and everyday we show up to improve,” Restrepo said. “Playoff games are no different from any other games where we prepare for the opponent, and then we need to play our best game go give us an opportunity to win.”

Chico State’s next game will be at home against Humboldt State, this Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

Connor McPherson can be reached at [email protected] or @theGOATMcphers1 on Twitter.