HAYWARD, Calif. - Despite a gritty performance with an injury-plagued lineup, the Cal State East Bay men's soccer team dropped a heartbreaker, 1-0, to Cal State San Bernardino in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Field. The Pioneers hung with the Coyotes - ranked fourth in the West Region - for nearly 95 minutes before Danny Rodriguez put away the game-winning golden goal in the first overtime period.
"The guys came ready and played hard for 95 minutes," Head Coach Andy Cumbo said. "That was our most complete game yet. Our midfield and front line played well together. It's clear from our recent results that we are making progress."
The first half saw the Coyotes control possession, notching six shots and keeping the ball in the Pioneer end for a majority of the period. San Bernardino took six shots, forcing freshman keeper Cesar Villa to make two saves in the initial 45 minutes to keep the Coyotes scoreless.
On the other end, the Pioneers created a few opportunities in the opening frame, but took just one shot. Cal State San Bernardino keeper Tanner Olinger, making his first start of the season, didn't make a save in the first half, as the teams went to the break locked in a scoreless tie.
Coming out of the half, Cal State East Bay looked determined to put a shot into the back of the net. With the sun in Olinger's eyes, the Pioneers set out to disrupt and pester the keeper and his backline, looking to capitalize on any mistake. The opening 25 minutes of the half saw East Bay match the Coyotes' offensive output, taking four shots and forcing two saves.
As the second frame continued, the Pioneers looked on the verge of putting away a goal. In the 84th minute, East Bay had one of its best chances as freshman midfielder Alex Dickerson's header off a free kick from freshman midfielder Tyler Andersen went just wide of goal. Two minutes later, a cross came into the box for the Pioneers which found the head of junior midfielder Sean Lynum-Young and was nearly tapped in by junior forward Aric Johnson, but Olinger came up with the save to keep the game tied at the end of regulation.
The Pioneers finished the second half with six shots, putting four on target. Villa made another two saves in the second frame, including a key stop from close range on a shot from Demetri Burgos in the 70th minute, and faced five Coyote shots in the half.
"Villa had a big save in each half to keep us in the match," Cumbo said.
With its South Division second-place standing on the line, Cal State San Bernardino regrouped to open the first overtime period and scored the game winner five minutes later. After bringing the ball into the box, Jose Godinez ripped a shot that hit the left post and rebounded out to Rodriguez who put away his eighth score of the season to lead the Coyotes to their 14th win of the season.
All told, Cal State San Bernardino took 14 shots in the match, forcing Villa to make five saves, while Olinger needed four stops on East Bay's eight shots to record his first win and shutout of the year. Godinez and Burgos paced San Bernardino with three shots apiece, while Johnson and Lynum-Young both notched two shots for CSUEB.
Despite the loss, the Pioneers made it clear that they have improved since their first meeting with San Bernardino, a 7-0 loss on Sept. 25. With redemption still on the mind, Cal State East Bay will now cap the 2009 season with home dates against Cal State Dominguez Hills and No. 10 Cal State LA. Both the Toros and Golden Eagles recorded victories over the Pioneers last weekend in Southern California. CSUEB will host Dominguez Hills on Friday at 3 p.m. before welcoming Cal State LA on Sunday at 2 p.m. for Senior Day at Pioneer Field.