By Victor Rodriguez
The CSU Bakersfield men’s soccer team extended its Western Athletic Conference winning streak to three after defeating the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 1-0 Sunday night at the Main Soccer Field.
It was the Roadrunners third straight home game that week, as well as their third straight win improving them to 3-1 in the WAC and 5-6 overall.
On Friday, Oct. 6, CSUB defeated Grand Canyon University in a 3-2 overtime win. Prior to the game, the 1997 NCAA II Division Championship team was honored.
“We have spirit and momentum now,” said CSUB coach Richie Grant. “Now there’s belief so now we need to pick up points on the road, but this is a win we’ll analyze, and it’s very important we stay positive because we’ve dealt with the losses very well, and that’s why the team is winning now.”
The first half of the game was even possession wise for both teams, but UNLV managed to get out six shots compared to only two for CSUB.
The Roadrunners had an opportunity to take the lead just before half time when freshman forward Lucas Vukovic started a counterattack on the left side and cut into the middle but just couldn’t get a clear shot in.
CSUB started the second half with a bang as they took the lead and scored the only goal of the game at the 49:40 mark.
Redshirt-sophomore defender Sebastian Mentel dribbled past two UNLV defenders and sent a low cross into the box, freshman midfielder Ricardo Soza was at the end of the cross to tap it into the back of the net.
“I’m happy it’s my first goal,” said Soza. “Big shout out to Sebas he did most of the work, I was there at the right moment and I’m happy we got the win.”
After the CSUB goal, UNLV went all in to attempt the equalizer. They added 10 shots in the second half, with only three of them being on target.
Redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Detre Bell had six saves for the Roadrunners taking his total to 56 on the season and keeping him in first place with saves in the WAC.
“We were under pressure and the back four really worked well,” said sophomore defender Jeremie Charron. “We kept the clean sheet which is what we wanted to do. There was a lot of set pieces by UNLV, and we just defended our best, and we made it. It was really an under-pressure game especially at the end, so good job by the team.”
Charron was named WAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, Oct. 9 for the week of Oct. 2 through the 8.
During CSUB’s win over Grand Canyon, Charron, a native of Geneva, Switzerland, scored the first goal of the team’s overtime win. It was his first career goal at CSUB.
The Roadrunners will be back at the Main Soccer Field on Friday, Oct. 27 when they take on University of Missouri- Kansas City at 7 p.m.
Their next three games will all be on the road, the first being on Thursday, Oct. 12 in Houston, Texas as they visit Houston Baptist University at 5 p.m.