Chico State Men’s Soccer defeated at home in conference opener


Javier Hernandez

The starting lineups for the CCAA home opener.

The Chico State Men’s Soccer team is back in the California Collegiate Athletic Association for the first time since Nov. 12, 2019, in which they fell 1-0 to the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes in the CCAA championship tournament.

COVID-19 prevented the Wildcats from playing any games in 2020, leaving them with a bitter taste in their mouth from their last CCAA matchup. 

The Wildcats hosted the Coyotes on Friday in their return to conference play at University Stadium. 

The Wildcats set out for revenge for that loss but they had a tall task at hand and came up short.

The game started off with a defensive emphasis. Both the Wildcats and Coyotes were settling into the game. 

Goalkeepers from both squads were not seeing much action, as both defenses were playing stout and not allowing their opponents to get shots on goal. 

Thirty-five minutes into the game, the Wildcat defense blocked Coyote forward Mark Omari’s shot on goal. Off of the bounce, it hit a Wildcat defender in the hand. The refs signaled a penalty in favor of the Coyotes. 

The penalty was executed by Coyote midfielder Francisco Sierra for the first goal of the match. 

“It changes the game a lot,” Wildcat defender Diego Caballero said. ”It is definitely hard to come back from a call like that.”

Afterwards, the momentum was on the Coyotes’ side. They controlled the rest of the first half.

The Wildcats went into the second half down 1-0. Then 55 minutes into the game, Coyote defender Rigo Aguilar kicked the ball from about 20-25 yards outside the box and netted the Coyotes’ second goal of the match. 

Even down 2-0, the Wildcats kept battling. They kept attacking while in panic mode. 

Chico tried different things to get their attack going but the Coyote defense was ready for that, resulting in deflections and plays cut short. 

Javier Hernandez
The Wildcats fighting for possession against the Coyotes.

In the 61st minute, the Coyote offense shot on goal while a crash happened between a Wildcat defender and Coyote forward. 

The refs ruled another penalty kick in favor of the Coyotes. Coyote forward Kevin Aguilar took and executed the third goal of the night for the Coyotes. 

The game was slowed down as the Coyotes had a prominent lead. 

“We just need to get better as a group,” said Wildcat midfielder Mauro Rafael.

This is the Wildcats’ sixth defeat in a row. However, they still have time to make a run to get into the CCAA playoffs. 

“We can’t let one league game bring us down,” said Wildcat defender Servando Higuera. ”There are still 11 more league games ahead where we could improve and make our way into the playoffs.”

The Wildcats have to regroup and get ready as they host Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 3 at 11:30 a.m. at University Stadium. 

Javier Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.