PHOENIX -- The San José State men's soccer team opened up conference play with a 1-1 tie in double overtime against Grand Canyon University on Friday night.
"This is the start of league play. With five home games and five road games in league play, any points we can get on the road is a bonus. GCU Stadium just opened this year and it was a brilliant atmosphere. They'll win a lot of games here so getting a point today is a tremendous result," said Spartans head coach Simon Tobin.
For the Spartans, it was a much needed tonic to get a positive result after coming up short on recent matches, including three consecutive overtime losses.
The Spartans came out sluggish in the first half, perhaps due to having played their fourth game in eight days. It was a one sided affair in the stat sheet in the first half with GCU out shooting SJSU, 10-1, including a 3-0 advantage on shots on goal. But it was a scoreless game at the half.
"We were on our heels in the first half but in the second half we were really, really good," said Tobin.
SJSU opened the second half aggressively, finding a rhythm to their offense.
"At the half, we made an adjustment to match them up," said Tobin.
In the 50th minute, Rory Knibbs nearly had a goal when he got his foot on a high bouncing ball competing against the GCU goalkeeper but his shot trickled just outside the post.
Seven minutes later, Jonathan Colunga made a cross from the right side of the box but Knibbs' header sailed over the cross bar.
"Knibbs was a threat in the second half. As the season goes on, he'll get better and stronger," said the Spartans head coach.
The Antelopes broke the scoreless game in the 78th minute, when Damian German and Alejandro Radilla played a give-and-go inside the 18-yard box. Atop the 18, German played the ball wide to Radilla on the left and cut straight to the goal to receive a pass back to tap it past Tucakovic.
"When GCU took the lead, it was bit disheartening but given how we were playing, even with 10 minutes or so remaining in the match, we knew we could score," said Tobin.
And that the Spartans did, four minutes later, when Leonardo Silva went one-on-one with a defender from 20-yards out on the right side. Silva made a step over to get open to his left and blasted a shot with his left foot that deflected off a defender to find the top left shelf of the goal.
"One of Leo's great attributes is he can really strike it with either foot," said Tobin.
The score would remain, 1-1, at the end of regulation with the Spartans outshooting the Antelopes, 11-7, in the second half.
Playing in their fourth consecutive overtime game, the Spartans looked to end the game quickly. Two minutes into overtime, SJSU had a golden opportunity when Alex Alcaraz's header off a Silva cross went just over the cross bar.
In the 98th minute, the Spartans dodged a bullet when GCU's Radilla hit the cross bar.
Those two were the best opportunities either team had in the two overtime sessions. The Spartans' record is now 1-7-2 for the season and 0-0-1 in conference play. GCU's record is 3-5-1 (0-0-1).
SJSU plays at UNLV on Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m. PT.
Soccer Game Summary (Final)
2016 San Jose State Men's Soccer
San Jose State vs Grand Canyon (Sep 30, 2016 at Phoenix, Ariz.)
San Jose State (1-7-2) vs. Grand Canyon (3-5-1)
Date: Sep 30, 2016 Attendance: 2935
Goals by period 1 2 OT O2 Tot
San Jose State...... 0 1 0 0 - 1
Grand Canyon........ 0 1 0 0 - 1
- 77:40 GCU German, Damian (2) (Radilla, Alejandro) - cross from left side of the box into the middle for a chip in
- 81:37 SJSU Silva, Leonardo (2) (unassisted) - goal that deflected off defender from 20 yards out
Shots: San Jose State 14, Grand Canyon 22
Saves: San Jose State 8 (Tucakovic, Nedin 8), Grand Canyon 2 (Day,