Men’s Soccer dazzles in home opener


Garrett Hogbin celebrating in a victory run. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

Chico State puts on a three score show at University Stadium in home opener over Concordia University (Oregon).

“It always fun playing at University stadium. It’s such a special place to play,” coach Felipe Restrepo said. “The guys are fortunate enough to have this facility, and we have such wonderful fans here.”

Chico State Head SHot
Mikey Hirsch attempts a head shot as other players come running towards him. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

The Wildcats would seize control late in the match in response to a 1-1 equalizer scored from Concordia.

The featured scores from three separate Wildcats reflected how well they moved the ball as a unit the entire match. Matt Hafizi would get the ball rolling for Chico while Garrett Hogbin and Jacob Chong found creases in the defense late to put the game far out of reach.

An intense defensive effort wouldn’t allow Concordia to get comfortable at University Stadium.

“At the beginning we wanted to press and not let them have time on the ball and not let them get comfortable in our home for the first game,” Matt Hafizi said “We pressured them earlier on and tried to get the first goal quick.”

The first fifteen minutes of action looked as if the teams were evenly matched as neither team controlled the time of possession. There would be a major turn of events as Chico found their groove to force three corner kicks in a five minute span. The anticipation of a goal continued to grow until Matt Hafizi tapped one in from five feet out off a rebounded shot.

Concordia Gets the Ball
DiAngelo Gleaves in defensive position to regain possession of the ball. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

“It ended up on (Alex) Fluitt, he had it above the 6 (yard box). I was in front of the goal waiting for him to get it in,” Matt Hafizi said.”I thought he was going to hit it in. I just anticipated the shot and the easiest part was tipping it right in. “

The Wildcats were in the driver’s seat after the first goal. The second half for the Wildcats was operating effectively and smoothly until Concordia’s Bendan Laun would sneak one inside the left post off a cross from the right side of the field.

“That I was super proud of. I just felt like they gave up a goal, we missed a few cues on a transition piece, on a set piece. We’ve worked on that and they were kind of upset with themselves that they did that,” coach Restrepo said. “For them to put the game back on, respond and get the goals was pretty good.”

The dynamic of the game would change after the equalizer, but the momentum carried in Chico’s favor as redshirt freshman Alex Lowe would set up the play of the game. Garret Hogbin would take Lowe’s cross with a diving header to take the lead with 15 minutes left.

Shortly after the second goal would come a surge of confidence for the Wildcats. Chico was not satisfied with being up one score as Jacob Chong delivered an absolute strike to put the game out of reach in the final minutes.

Chico Goal
Jacob Chong makes final goal of the game. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

“The fair assessment would be, we have some veterans that are really working hard to be good leaders and teach the young guys how to win,” coach Restrepo said. “And we’ve got some young guys who have a lot of talent who are working hard to get on the field, and you can see that we’re in good shape for the future but we got a lot of learning lessons.”

Chico is now 2-0 in conference and enter their next match at home with a ton of confidence against Fresno Pacific.

Wesley Harris can be reached at [email protected] and @jiggy_wes on twitter