San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men's soccer team got out to a 1-0 lead but allowed three successive first-half goals and fell to the University of California, 3-1, in its spring season opener on the rain-slicked FieldTurf of Spartan Stadium back on Friday night, March 12.
The Spartans began the contest in their traditional 4-5-1 alignment, though senior-to-be Josh Boemecke was up top as the lone striker, a change from his usual holding central midfield position. Doug Highton, who redshirted as a true freshman in the 2009 season, started in goal, with, from left to right, sophomore-to-be Christian Romero, fellow redshirt Ricky Martin, sophomore-to-be Nick Murphy and junior-to-be Dan Addiego in front of him. The midfield consisted of Robert Jackson, Justin Castro, Omri Brinner, Dylan Murphy and Ricky Dorrego, who will be a fourth-year senior in the fall, from left to right.
At times in both of the regulation 45-minute halves, San Jose State switched to more of a 4-4-2, with sophomore-to-be and San Jose native Steven Sanchez joining Boemecke in the forward line in the first period following the second Cal goal. Highton and Nick Murphy, the older brother of Dylan, were the only Spartans to play the full 90 minutes.
Cal finished 9-8-1 overall in 2009 and missed out on an NCAA Championship berth.
San Jose State opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Brinner, a redshirt freshman in 2009 and a native of Israel, headed a ball into the Golden Bear penalty area. Dorrego faked a play on it, wrapped around his defender, and shot with his left foot from the left diagonal, toward the right corner. Boemecke was there to touch the ball just inside the far post and into the net.
Cal had produced the first real scoring chance about seven minutes before, with a volley off a right-sided cross clanging off the crossbar. The Golden Bears finally found the back of the net just two minutes after the San Jose State opener, knotting the match at 1-1 on a 40-plus-yard rocket from center back Ted Jones after the ball had bounced out of the Spartan defensive third. The junior-to-be struck a slicing, dipping ball over Highton's diving reach.
Four minutes after that, it was 2-1 Cal, as Highton was unable to make a clean catch on a shot, with the rebound put in by San Jose native Tony Salciccia out of Prospect High School.
With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, the Spartan deficit grew to two goals, with Cal getting an easy back-door tap-in on an empty net off another right-sided cross.
The second half had no further scoring, with Highton clearly the star for San Jose State. The graduate of Carlmont High School dove low to his left to save a penalty kick around the 72nd minute, after Romero had been judged to have handled the ball inside the area.
The teams played an extra 20 minutes following the 90-minute whistle, in two 10-minute installments with a short break, to give some of their reserves a little time on the pitch. No goals were scored.
"I think that the guys are really trying hard to play," said San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair. "It also shows us what we need to work on and improve. We're playing a real quality team. The spring is all about getting better. I particularly think our goalkeeper (Doug Highton) played extremely well. We have a lot of work to do, but it's a good start to the spring."
On Friday night, March 26, San Jose State evened its spring ledger with a 4-1 victory, also inside Spartan Stadium, over NCAA Division II foe Sonoma State from Rohnert Park, Calif.
San Jose State announced a change this week to its spring competitive schedule. The team was set to host South Bay rival Santa Clara inside Spartan Stadium this Friday night, April 9, beginning at 7:00 p.m. That contest has been moved to Friday, April 23, still at 7:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium. It replaces the previously announced date with the Mexico U-20 national team, which has been cancelled. Instead, San Jose State will host the Pacific Soccer Academy (PSA) Storm, based in Los Gatos, Calif., on Sunday night, April 18. Kick-off inside Spartan Stadium will again be 7:00 p.m. The Storm's senior team competes in the NorCal Premier Soccer League this year, as they get set to move into the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development Division (PDL) in 2011.
California - 3 0 - 3
San Jose State - 1 0 - 1