Seattle, Wash. – The San José State men’s soccer team saw the No. 24-ranked Seattle U Redhawks get an early goal and then hold on to its lead in a 1-0 decision in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play on Sunday afternoon.
Surrendering a goal in the ninth minute off a header by David Olsen, the Spartans (4-9-0, 2-3-0 WAC) spent the next 81 minutes chasing the equalizer. Once the goal was in, Seattle U slowed the game down and played a possession game, choosing to pass and defend its lone goal rather than push it up field.
Despite the Redhawks’ defensive tactics, SJSU nearly tied the game on a free kick in the 17th minute. From 25 yards out on the left corner of the box, Jonathan Colunga, who along with Rory Knibbs would take a team-high three shots, bent an attempt around the Seattle U wall to the far post. Crashing the box, Kyler McLaughlin came up just inches from redirecting the ball into the goal and making the game 1-1.
“Overall, we were sluggish in the first half on Friday (at Utah Valley) and today,” head coach Simon Tobin said of his team, which was out shot 9-to-6 in the first 45 minutes.
The Spartans energy level was better in the second half and the team was more aggressive on transition.
The best opportunity for SJSU to earn the equalizer came at the 51:03 mark. Colunga played a throughball, which Knibbs ran onto in the box. He was dragged down immediately and awarded a penalty kick. Knibbs, who successfully converted his previous two PKs this year, shot low to the right corner. The strike got past a diving Shane Haworth, the Redhawks keeper, and hit the post, but instead of ricocheting in, it rolled back into the hands of Haworth.
“That was a tough moment for us,” Tobin said. “I think the boys were deflated, because we all expect Rory to convert that shot. But in the second half, we changed some tactics, playing two forwards (Knibbs and Zach Penner) and generated better chances.”
The up-tempo play generated more shots for SJSU in the second half, but for the game Seattle U had a 14-to-12 advantage.
For the Redhawks (12-3-0, 5-1-0 WAC), Olsen and Sergio Rivas attempted three shots, with Olsen scoring the only goal of the game.
For the second game in a row, Felix Petermann made critical saves, four on Sunday, to keep the Spartans within striking distance. Haworth had three saves for Seattle U.
“In three of our last four games, we’ve played top-30 programs (UNLV, Utah Valley and Seattle),” Tobin said. “Although we haven’t earned a point, we have competed with each and had opportunities to earn wins or at least a point with a tie.
“This weekend we’ve gone on the road and competed with a pair of very good team on their home field, but by not being able to secure a point, our games at home next weekend (Friday vs. UMKC and Sunday vs. Air Force) now become extremely critical.”
With the top six teams making the WAC Tournament, the Spartans currently sit in a four-way tie for that sixth spot. However two team, Grand Canyon and Incarnate Word, are transitioning to Division I and do not qualify for the conference tournament. The other team in sixth place is Air Force and in fifth place, just one point ahead, is UMKC.
Soccer Game Summary (Final)
2015 San Jose State Men's Soccer
San Jose State vs #24 Seattle U Men (Oct 18, 2015 at Seattle, WA)
San Jose State (4-9-0, 2-3-0 WAC) vs. Seattle U Men (12-3-0, 5-1-0 WAC)
Date: Oct 18, 2015 Attendance: 417
Weather: Overcast, wet field, 60 degrees
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
San Jose State...... 0 0 - 0
Seattle U Men....... 1 0 - 1
- 8:46 SUMEN Olsen, David (7) (Langston, Sam) - redirected header off long pass from #39
Shots: San Jose State 12, Seattle U Men 14
Saves: San Jose State 4 (Petermann, Felix 4), Seattle U Men 3 (Haworth, Shane 3)