Men’s soccer ends season on a good note


Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

Last game of the season, first win of conference play.

The Cal State East Bay men’s soccer team earned what was their first win of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play in their final game of the season versus the California State San Marcos Cougars (2-11-2 overall, 0-9-1 CCAA).

“It was great to end on a high note,” senior defender Davis Okonkwo said. “The program is in a rebuilding phase and it takes time for long term goals to be met. We were happy to get this win.”

Six seniors were recognized before the game for senior day: T.J. Butler, Christian Mendoza, Ikaika Nichols, Evan Sanchez, Adolfo Villa and Okonkwo.

“I will miss everything about playing,” Mendoza said. “Even practice, despite the fact that I am not a morning person and training was usually in the early morning, I’ll still miss it.”

The game started off in a very back-and-forth competitive manner and it remained scoreless through the first 40 minutes of the first half.

In the 40th minute, the Pioneers broke through when the Cougars fouled inside the Pioneers box, which resulted in a penalty kick. Butler stepped up to the plate and converted the shot and put East Bay up 1-0.

The Pioneers were fired up and a minute later they scored again. Freshman midfielder Grant LaFleur dribbled towards the middle of the field and hit a bending shot into the right corner of the goal, sending East Bay into halftime with a 2-0 lead on San Marcos.

“Although we didn’t have the season we wished,” Mendoza said, “we all kept pushing and stuck together as a team. So moments like this make us happy.”

Ten minutes into the second half, San Marcos junior midfielder Bryan Morrison took a free kick from the right side of the field and sent it towards the goal. Freshman defender Spencer Griffith leaped over the Pioneer defense and headed it off the right post and into the net.

The score was now 2-1 and would remain that way, netting a win for the Pioneers. The situation at hand began to set in and CSUEB’s seniors started to realize that this would be the conclusion of their careers as collegiate athletes.

“It’s a nostalgic feeling,” Okonkwo said. “It’s an honor to pursue your passions at a high level and I am grateful for the opportunity. I have been playing since I was six and I really enjoyed representing East Bay.”

Cal State East Bay ends their season with a 3-12-2 record overall and 0-10-1 in conference play.