Chico State men’s soccer stays undefeated before road trip


Joey Scotti recieving a pass down right sideline. Photo credit: Wesley Harris

Chico State comes alive in the second half Sunday over Academy of Art to stretch their undefeated streak to four games. After a shaky first half, Chico State found their offensive groove to score two goals in the second. The match featured a few freshmen studs who would come up big for their team.

“(Freshmen) practice really hard throughout the week,” Jacob Chong said. “He trusts us with finishing the games out even when we’re not playing well. He’ll keep us in there and tells us to hustle, work hard and we’ll get the finish.”

Matt Hafizi (right), Samuel Licona (Middle) , and Noah Ross (left) attempting to score against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Wesley Harris

The Wildcats would be led by Garrett Hogbin scoring his fourth match winning goal of the season. Freshman Chong would deliver a goal late in the match to keep the game out of reach for Academy of Art.

The first half of the match looked as if the Wildcat offense was out of sync as they could not find any holes in the Urban Knight defense. At times, the Wildcat defense was delicate after letting Academy of Art control possession towards their goal with Chico State barely surviving defensive stands.

“Obviously (Coach Restrepo) wasn’t happy with the way we played,” Hogbin said. “… I think the in the 2nd half we really responded to that, and we really got after them.”

Matt Hafizi attempting a shot inside goalie boz Photo credit: Wesley Harris

In the second half, the Wildcats did just that by forcing corner kick chances and great crosses made from runners on the sideline. Hogbin would be the answer by scoring the first goal of the match for the fourth straight game. The Wildcats took full advantage of their corner kick with Hogbin beating his defender to the ball to knock in a header from 12 yards out.

“We went a little more direct for them,” Hogbin said. “We started pushing up our back line to squeeze them in their own half. We didn’t think they were great on the ball in the back, so if we could catch them making mistakes we knew it would be good for us.”

Head coach Felipe Restrepo has been trusting a solid group of freshmen between Noah Ross scoring in their last match, and Chong coming through. By their confidence on the field, they seem far beyond their years. Chong delivered in minute 69 being trapped between two defenders after a cross from the left sideline. He found a sliver of wiggle room to knock it in from 10 yards out.

Noah Cross menuvering between 2 defenders to score second goal of the season. Photo credit: Wesley Harris

“My role with this team is to score goals,” Chong said. “Without goals we’re not gonna go anywhere, we’re not gonna win any championships.We’re 4-0 so the next goal for us is to win an NCAA championship.”

Chico State continues their undefeated season and will face two very talented Los Angeles teams in Cal State Dominguez Hills Friday and Cal State Los Angeles Saturday. It will be the first challenge for the Wildcats to truly see what their team is made of.

Alex Fluitt fighting for the possession of the ball. Photo credit: Wesley Harris

“Its huge for us to have a great week of training. We have two absolutely huge games next week,” Hogbin said. “We’re just gonna have to do our homework, watch a lot of film, get on the training grounds, and perfect our craft.”

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