San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men’s soccer team blanked Cal State Bakersfield, 2-0, and rallied late from a two-goal deficit to tie Cal Poly, 2-2, in its final home games of the 2008 spring season on Saturday, April 12, at Spartan Field on South Campus.
The three-team mini-tournament featured games with two 30-minute periods. In game one, the Spartans scored a pair of early first-half goals and went on to defeat the Roadrunners. Senior-to-be Hiroki Akiyama scored the opener on an assist from Robert Jackson, who redshirted the 2007 season as a freshman. Jackson had a shot that the Runner goalkeeper was unable to handle cleanly, with Akiyama present to slot home the rebound.
The second goal came as a result of some sound functional soccer by San Jose State. Ricky Dorrego, a standout freshman performer last season out of San Jose’s Lincoln High School, took the ball down the right flank, cut in toward the middle, and threaded a perfectly-weighted diagonal through ball to Nick Cukar, who was making a run from the left side. The pass put Cukar one-on-one with the goalie, and the junior-to-be shot past him for the 2-0 advantage.
Richard Mann, who will be a fifth-year senior captain next season, played the entire first game in goal and posted the shutout.
In game two, the Spartans surrendered a goal in either half and faced a 2-0 deficit heading into the final 15 minutes or so. At that point, junior-to-be Colby Moore scrapped to get to a loose ball toward the top of the 18-yard box and struck a side-volley while almost contacting the ground, finding the back of the net to pull his side to within one score.
With just about five minutes of play remaining, San Jose State earned a penalty kick when junior-to-be Brian McGuire dribbled into the Mustang penalty area and was taken down. In the absence of usual penalty-kick-taker Ed Brand, Akiyama converted the opportunity into the game-tying goal. The Spartans still produced at least one more chance to grab the winner, but the contest ultimately ended in the 2-2 deadlock.
Lewis Sweeney played the entire 60 minutes in goal for the Spartans against Cal Poly.
“We showed a lot of heart In the Cal Poly game,” said San Jose State assistant coach Chris Behler. “It was hot, we were tired, and we were down 2-0, but instead of quitting, our guys kept fighting and fighting, and it paid off.
“We didn’t have Ed (Brand, who had to leave the Cal State Bakersfield game), or Junior (Efrain Burgos, Jr., who was unavailable for both games). The younger guys stepped up again, with leadership from players like Colby (Moore) and Nick (Cukar). Nick had an outstanding game against Cal Poly. He played both as an outside midfielder, and a bit in central midfield.
“After we tied the game, we were still pushing to score the third goal. We thought we could win.”
In between the Spartans’ two games, Cal Poly collected a 1-0 victory over Cal State Bakersfield.
San Jose State’s spring competition schedule comes to an end this Saturday, April 19, with a 12:00 p.m. meeting with the University of California on the new turf field at Merritt College in Oakland, Calif. The teams are slated to play a regulation 90-minute game with two 45-minute halves, followed by an extra 30-minute period.
2008 Spring Results
San Jose State 0, San Jose Earthquakes 3 (3/1)
San Jose State 0, at University of San Francisco 1 (3/7)
San Jose State 3, UC Santa Barbara 0 (4/5)
San Jose State 1, San Jose Frogs F.C. 0 (4/5)
San Jose State 2, Cal State Bakersfield 0 (4/12)
San Jose State 2, Cal Poly 2 (4/12)
Saturday, April 19: San Jose State vs. University of California, Merritt College, 12:00 p.m.