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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Men’s soccer returns winless following west coast swing

West coast trips often spell doom for teams of all sports from the eastern portion of the United States.

In baseball, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox led their respective league’s wild card races up until both teams endeavored on nine-game west coast trips in which both teams went 2-7 and effectively ended all hope of the postseason.

The BG men’s soccer team didn’t fare much better on its trip to Moraga, Calif., but was able to avoid the sweep.

The Falcons had a 1-1 tie in a game that went into double overtime against the Gaels of Saint Mary’s University on Friday, and then were shut out 3-0 by the Hornets of Sacramento State on Sunday.

The first game of the weekend was a thriller from the start. The teams were scoreless for 80 minutes before Saint Mary’s forward Carlos Diaz blasted a 40-yard free kick past the outstretched arms of BG goalkeeper Brent Petkus.

The Falcons responded eight minutes later on a goal by freshmen forward Ahmad Smith. Smith connected from 23 yards out and found the lower left portion of the net past Gaels goalkeeper Brian Mason. The goal was Smith’s third of the season as he continues to pace the Falcons this season.

Before the overtime periods began, Smith and Gaels defender Corey Heldreth got tangled up. Smith earned a red card ejection on the play and Heldreth earned a yellow card for his part.

Petkus made his first start of the season and made eight saves, including three saves in the two overtime periods.

“Brent was there to save us when we lost focus and came up with a few big plays,” said coach Fred Thompson. “One shot in overtime was an absolute bomb and while Brent’s save looked great, it was absolutely necessary that he make it.”

In total there were seven yellow cards issued during the game and the Falcons claimed three of them. The Falcons were also out shot 22-8 during the game.

“Overall I will take the tie today,” Thompson said. “We were not only playing against a very physically dominate opponent, but the wind was fierce and made for interesting playing conditions.”

The wind that Thompson spoke of made play very tricky. St. Mary’s used it to take advantage of some of the height disparities between the two teams.

In the second game of the weekend, the Falcons took on the Hornets of Sacramento State University.

The Hornets took a 1-0 advantage in the third minute when freshman forward Zlatan Kuckovic took a pass from forward Pedro Lupercio and put it into the net

past Petkus.

Sacramento State held a one goal advantage until the 54th minute, when Kurtis Lindsey took a pass from Eliot Ricks-Chambers and put it into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead over the Falcons.

The Hornets sealed the victory with a goal from Lupercio in the 85th minute. Lupercio tallied two assists on the day and now has seven career assists.

The Falcons outshot the Hornets 16-14, but only four of those shots were on net. In contrast, the Hornets put nine of their 14 shots on net.

Ryan Perea led the Falcons with six shots, two of them on goal. Petkus made his second start of the season in goal and made six saves.

The Falcons will conclude their five-game road trip on Thursday when they face Ohio State in Columbus. After that, the Falcons will return to home turf Sunday when they face Wright State.

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