Wildcats pick up win and tie in the first weekend of conference play


Aaron Draper

Miles Rice dribbles away from a Humboldt defender, photo taken Sept. 17.

Chico State Men’s Soccer, (4-2-2) currently and (1-0-1) in conference play, kicked off their first conference game with a 2-1 victory against Sonoma State (3-3-2) on Sept. 23. 

Both teams sat at (3-2-2) heading into the game, each hoping to get their first win in conference play.

Cayden Hotaling, a sophomore midfielder, stressed the importance of getting that first conference win. 

“Getting the first win was super important, especially against Sonoma State who finished ahead of us in the standings last year,” Hotaling said. “Hopefully we can move forward and keep going.”

The Wildcats played fresh off of a heated rivalry game against Cal Poly Humboldt, where the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Here, they were looking for some offensive output and a win.

In the 14th minute they found it, a 20-yard free kick from sophomore defender Preston Moll put the Wildcats up by a goal.

They didn’t take long to add to their lead, and in the 24th minute junior midfielder Adrian Fontanelli scored a penalty kick for his first goal of the season to extend the lead by two.

“It was a great feeling,” Fontanelli said. “I was back in my hometown [Novato] in front of my whole family, that was awesome.”

The score stayed put at 2-0 until the 85th minute mark when Sonoma State midfielder Ulysses Vega scored a penalty to try and keep the Seawolves in the game.

However, the Wildcats held on to their lead and captured their first California Collegiate Athletic Association win of the new season.

Bryan Manriquez defending off Cal Poly Humboldt player. Photo courtesy of Aaron Draper.

The defense once again was a huge factor for Chico State, only allowing two shots on goal and one goal. The Wildcats have only allowed five goals all year, putting them at second in the CCAA out of 12 teams. 

The Wildcats are currently top five in the conference in shots, shots on goal, goals and assists.

After taking just three shots in the first half, the Wildcats bolstered that number to eight in the second half.

“We took what the game gave us, we were up 2-0 already so they started pushing more guys forward so we could counter attack and that gave us more chances,” Hotaling said.

Throughout the game a total of 29 fouls were called, 18 by the Wildcats which resulted in six yellow cards and 11 from Sonoma who received two yellow cards.

Despite all of the fouls called, the Wildcats kept their cool and looked ahead to Sunday’s game at 11:30 a.m. against San Francisco State (0-0-2) in conference.

The Wildcats and the Gators played a hard-fought, 90-minute match. Though it was a battle, neither team  prevailed, tying 0-0.

Another scoreless game allowed by the Wildcats made it their fourth clean sheet of the season.

The offense hopes to find their stride at home against Cal Poly Ponoma on Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. on their home field, University Stadium.

Jackson Elrod can be reached at [email protected] and at @jacksonelrod13 on Twitter.