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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State men’s soccer manages seventh shutout victory

A referee signals possession of the ball while both Chico State and Cal State San Marcos get ready for the ensuing play on Thursday. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

Chico’s sonic start was enough to clasp a win over Cal State San Marcos on Thursday. Damion Lewis snagged six saves in the shutout. The Wildcats are optimistic in climbing the California Collegiate Athletic Association ranks in their final home game.

Chico State arrived at University Stadium following a tight overtime loss, knocking them down to a fourth place tie in the conference standings. San Marcos has had an up and down year with their win percentage at .500.

“We were fighting to come in second place so we didn’t have to play Tuesday night. Unfortunately it’s looking like that’s the case,” Lewis said. “We needed this win and the next one on Sunday to potentially get that second place spot if possible.”

Chico State forward Jeremiah Egujie keeps the ball away from a Cal State San Marcos defender on Thursday in a 1-0 win. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

The Wildcats couldn’t have gotten off to a more fortunate start. Chico midfielder Esten Schroeder beat two Cougar defenders along the left sideline for the cross. Chico State defender Justin Bethke received the pass and volleyed it for Egujie to tap one in from ten feet out. This would be Egujie’s fifth match winning goal, moving him up to first in the category in the CCAA.

“I just think the guys have a nice spirit and rhythm to them right now,” Coach Felipe Restrepo said. “They’re creating a lot of chances. They’re playing really good team soccer so it’s fun to watch. We got one early which was great. I thought we earned a few more, but it didn’t happen. We win 1-0 and move on to the next one.”

Chico State midfielder Alex Fluitt chases after the ball against Cal State San Marcos on Thursday. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

The backline for Chico State completed another scoreless game and eighth of the year. They grouped together even being pitted in their territory in the final minutes of the first half. Cal State San Marcos forced a number a foul calls for free kicks and multiple corner opportunities.

The second half consisted of a host of great defensive plays made from both sides. The shot count was balanced while the Cougars were frantically searching for a goal. In their desperation, Damion Lewis was compelled to stretch as far as his lanky body could take him to get a finger tip on the ball. He made a gasping save in the 48th minute to counter the best opportunity for San Marcos.

Chico State midfielder Eddie Zecena fights for the ball against Cal State San Marcos on Thursday. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

“(San Marcos) always gives us a hard time,” Lewis said. “They’re an odd team for us. We always tend to beat them, but it’s never clean.”

Cal State San Marcos would be a man down after Jose Martinez was penalized with a red card. Chico State advanced in the shot count once Martinez went out with 25 minutes remaining.

Chico State midfielder Alex Fluitt watches a Cal State San Marcos defender toss the ball in on Thursday. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

Chico State will compete in their final regular season match at home against UC San Diego. They are sitting just a point behind Chico State in the CCAA standings.

“I just think the mindset right now is the guys want to win every game possible for their senior class,” Restrepo said. “We know their clock is ticking a little bit. The goal is to play to December.”

Wesley Harris can be reached at [email protected] and flacko_flame on twitter.

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