The Wildcats pitch second straight shut out to improve winning streak


Javier Hernandez

The Wildcat starting lineup against the Warriors.

After a slow start to the season, Chico State Men’s Soccer team is starting to find their rhythm. 

The Cal State Stanislaus Warriors came looking for their second California Collegiate Athletic Association win of the season.

“It is us just wanting it more and playing with more emotion and passion for the game,” Wildcat keeper Luis Albarran said. “It is just us wanting to win.”

Wildcat keeper Luis Albarran in his natural habitat.

However, a defensive battle allowed the Wildcats to extend their winning streak to two games.

A big factor to consider were the winds that were present. Both keepers Albarran and Jesus Nunez felt that presence the most, as their goal kicks were being carried away by the wind.

The Wildcats were full-pitch pressing the Warriors and it helped the momentum stay on their side for the first 20 minutes of the game. 

A couple of one-on-one opportunities were presented to the Wildcats, but Warrior keeper Nunez didn’t allow those early chances to get by him. 

Twenty-six minutes into the game, Wildcat midfielder Liam Duerksen sent Wildcat midfielder Mauro Rafael a pass to the right wing. Then Rafael sent a beautiful pass to the Warrior box and Wildcat forward Juan Perez knocked in the only and game winning goal. 

This was Perez’s first collegiate score. Dealing with  injuries and the pandemic, it was a heartwarming moment for him, as all of the team came to celebrate by his side near the Wildcat sideline.

“I’m glad I was finally able to score,” Perez said. “Getting that goal is a jump-start for our team and myself.”

The rest of the half, the Warriors attempted to get back into the game, but the Wildcat defense didn’t  allow that to happen. 

Going into halftime, the Wildcats were in a good spot. 

The Warriors tried to get their offense going, but timely deflections and tackles from the Wildcat defenders and midfielders were key to keeping them from scoring.

Wildcat defender Ben Souza mentioned how things are starting to vibe  for the Wildcat defense, but some adjustments needed to be made because of injuries and some moving pieces. 

“It took some time, but once we started getting everything together we got our back line and communication better,” Souza said.

The rest of the second half the Warriors were trying their best to tie the game up, but were ultimately unsuccessful against the Wildcats.

The Wildcats didn’t start off their season the way they expected as a lot of their players were new to collegiate soccer, but this team has been fighting and it is starting to show.

After their 1-0 victory against the Warriors, they improved to 4-8 on the season. They are now  3-3 in CCAA league games.

“Pedal to the metal at 120% effort,” Perez said.

The Wildcats host two games in the upcoming week. 

On Oct. 22, the Wildcats host the San Francisco State Gators at 7 p.m. 

A few days later on Oct. 24, the Sonoma State Seawolves come to University Stadium to face off against the Wildcats at 2 p.m.

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