San Jose, Calif. – The San José State men’s soccer team scored three times in just over three minutes of the second half and went on to defeat the University of the Pacific Tigers 4-0 Friday afternoon on Spartan Soccer Field.
“The score is a bit deceptive,” Spartans head coach Simon Tobin said. “This was a lot closer game for a long time. It’s (Pacific’s) first year and they can play very loose. There’s no real pressure on them. If you don’t turn the screw early, they get stronger and more confident and that is what happened. That is the danger of a team like (Pacific). They played very well.”
The sides were in a scoreless tie into the 72nd minute. Greg Harte (Fr., F, Cork, Ireland) picked up a loose ball and weaved his way through four defenders and fired a shot from just outside the six. It beat Tigers keeper Josh Adachi low to the right corner for a 1-0 lead. It was Harte’s second goal of the season.
On the kickoff after the goal, Pacific (0-5-0) came right back . Tristan Blackmon took a cross from the right side and headed it to the far post. Spartans keeper Felix Peterman (So., GK, Berlin, Germany) made a sliding save to preserve the shutout.
“Felix made a couple of top-class saves today,” Tobin said. “To have a successful season, now and again, your goalie is going to have to win a game. That was probably the most important play of the game.”
Barely a minute later, at the 73:16 mark, Harte picked up his second goal of the match. This time Rory Knibbs (So., F, London, England) drove hard down the right side. He served a perfect ball into the box for Harte who played it on to the far post and a 2-0 lead.
In the 75th minute Knibbs tallied his team-leading fourth strike of the year. Again, taking the ball down the right side, he turned the corner on the defense and placed a shot from a seemly impossible angle into the top corner of the goal. The Spartans (2-4-0) were up 3-0.
“I’ve had some great forwards in my career.” Tobin said. Even if you are not playing well and you have someone who can put the ball in the back of the net, everything looks good. It takes a lot of pressure off. Greg (Harte) is one of those players. You include Johnathan Colunga (So., MF, Lindsay, Calif.) and Rory (Knibbs) with Harte and together they have limitless potential, as long as they continue to do the right things and work hard. We’re seeing just the start of that right now.”
Eric Mendez (So., F, Santa Cruz, Calif.) produced the final goal of the match. He made a great defensive play at midfield, stole the ball and drove to the right side of the six. He juked a final defender and placed the ball high inside the far post for his second goal of the season.
For the match San José State outshot Pacific 20-to-6, including 9-to-4 in shots on frame, but were struggling to connect their passes in the first half.
“We’ve started slow more than a few times, this game included,” Tobin said. “Everyone can have a bad opening half now and then but when it becomes a trend its something that we must address. We made some changes in order to be more successful and I was pleased with the results. The second half was what is should have been from the very beginning. We made hard work of it and Felix came out with a couple of very big saves and the score could have been very different if they had converted one of those.
“This was a game that we were expected to win. If you don’t produce the result here, then we have issues. When you get the first goal and you are playing the right way, you ratchet up your play and it turns into a more emphatic win.”
Petermann turned away all four shots that reached his line for his first win of the year and first clean sheet of his career.
Carlos Valdovinos (Fr., D, Lindsay, Calif.) led San Jose State with five shots. Harte, Knibbs and Mendez each attempted three. Uriel Ayala took two shots and Ruben Want, Colunga, Darren Sinclair and Alex Anastasi each had one.
The Spartans next opponent is Saint Mary’s College. San José State travels to Moraga, Calif. on Sunday for a matchup with the Gaels. Kick off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
Pacific (0-5-0) vs. San Jose State (2-4-0)
Date: Sep 19, 2014 Attendance: 375
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Pacific............. 0 0 - 0
San Jose State...... 0 4 - 4
1. 71:29 SJSU Harte, Greg (2) (unassisted) - wove is way between four defenders and best keeper low right
3. 74:49 SJSU Knibbs, Rory (4) (unassisted) - shot from sharp angle on right to far post
4. 87:27 SJSU Mendez, Eric (2) (unassisted) - stole ball at midfield, drove unassisted and shot high inside far post
Shots: Pacific 6, San Jose State 20
Saves: Pacific 5 (Adachi, Josh 4; Ciminelli, Andrew 1), San Jose State
4 (Petermann, Felix 4)