Oct. 13, 2013
San Jose, Calif. – Rory Knibbs scored the lone goal of the contest and Emmanuel Espinosa turned away every shot that reached his line as the San José State men’s soccer team picked up its first win of the year, 1-0 over the UNLV Rebels in Western Athletic Conference on Sunday afternoon.
“This game was a real testament to this team,” head coach Gary St. Clair said in Spartan Stadium after the match. “We have trained and competed at a very high level all year. This team has battled every minute this season. They have deserved wins that they haven’t gotten. Today the just plain wanted it more than UNLV. I’m really happy for them.”
The Spartans (1-8-2, 1-2-0 WAC) were outshot 5-to-3 in the first 45 minutes, but had the more dangerous scoring chances. They started quickly when, in the second minute, Eric Mendez took a shots from inside the box, which banged off the post just missing giving San José State a quick lead.
In the 40th minute, the Spartans struck. Off the counter attack, Dylan West fed Knibbs at midfield. Knibbs then made a long run down the left side. He dribbled into the box, juked a defender and fired the ball to the far post from just outside the left side of the six. It was Knibbs’ team-leading third goal of the year and second in as many games. West, with the assist, was credited with his first collegiate point.
In the second half, trailing 0-1, UNLV (3-8-0, 1-2-0 WAC) pressed the attack. They had several chances from close range, which either Espinosa turned away or were off the mark.
Of its seven shots in the half, UNLV put just one on frame. It came in the 60th minute. Kevin Partida took a long pass into the box and fired a shot from directly in front of the goal. Espinosa came off his line to cut down the angle and from point blank range smothered the attempt.
UNLV had three more good scoring opportunities in the half, but they were either broken up by the Spartans defense or shot wide of the mark.
For the game San José State was outshot 12-to-7. Ben Cowdrill, who came of the bench in the second half, and Mendez led SJSU with two shots each. For the Rebels, Salvador Bernal, with three shots, was their leader.
Espinosa made four saves to earn the win and his second clean sheet of the year. UNLV’s Ryan Harding also had four saves in the loss.
The Spartans head out on the WAC road next week playing at CSU Bakersfield on Friday and at UNLV on Sunday.