By Victor Rodriguez
The CSU Bakersfield men’s soccer team’s undefeated home win streak was put to an end after falling 2-1 to the 15th nationally ranked, and Western Athletic Conference leader, Air Force Academy.
“It was our last and toughest home game,” said CSUB head coach Richie Grant. “Air Force is really peaking and they’re going to the national tournament regardless of what happens in the conference. For us now we find out the rest of the scores and we have to go to San Jose needing something that’s fine. Our target was to make sure we have post season play and that’s very much alive now.”
The Roadrunners were pressured early on as the Falcons attacked the CSUB goal for the first 15 minutes of the game.
At the 17:30 mark, the Roadrunners stunned the Falcons as redshirt sophomore Sebastian Mentel hit a cannon from outside the box off a deflected corner kick to put CSUB up 1-0.
Less than three minutes later, at the 22:16 mark, Air Force tied the game with a header coming off of a free kick. The Falcons managed nine shots compared to CSUB’s two in the first half.
The second half was more physical as the Roadrunners gave up 11 fouls to the Falcons six. Two yellow cards were shown to each team as well.
Air Force found the winning goal at the 75:54 minute mark when a cross from left field was headed passed CSUB goalkeeper Detre Bell.
Bell picked up four saves in the game as Air Force out shot CSUB 12-2, with the shots on goal being 6-1. The Falcons had 11 corner kicks to the Roadrunners’ two.
With his goal, Sebastian Mentel is now CSUB’s leading goalscorer with six goals. He also leads the team in points with 14 because of his six goals and two assists.
“The goal doesn’t really matter because we didn’t get the result we wanted,” said Mentel. “We could’ve been more clinical at the end to the tie the game and at the same time we shouldn’t have conceded the second goal.”
The Roadrunners will now be on the road for their last regular season game before the WAC Tournament. They will head to San Jose to play San Jose State on Friday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.
Both teams are currently tied for fourth in the WAC with 4-4-1 records. Only the top seven teams will be headed to the tournament.