Men's soccer tops UNLV in a penalty kick tiebreaker to advance to MPSF final

Frank Mata had a goal
and two assists in
Friday's win.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Unable to hold on to a 3-1 first-half lead, the San Jose State University men’s soccer team needed the sudden-death, penalty kick tiebreaker to beat UNLV and advance to tthe 2002 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament championship game held at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Spartans won the penalty kick tiebreaker, 5-4.

The Rebels (13-7-1) needed just three minutes into regulation to take the lead on junior midfielder Alex Hernandez goal off a free kick. The Spartans (12-8-0) responded with three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead into the final 10 minutes of the first stanza.

Sophomore midfielder Frank Mata notched a goal and two assists in the game. Mata fed the ball the freshman striker Johnny Gonzalez in the 13th minute to tie and then added a goal in the 32nd minute on an assist by senior Tony Chang. Mata returned the favor to Chang in the 37th minute, assisting on Chang’s goal to take a 3-1 lead.

The Rebels fought back with a goal from senior Kelly Frederick and another from Alex Hernandez within two minutes to tie the game after the first half.

The second half ended without a game-winning result, leading to the second straight overtime period for the Rebels in two days. Both teams had their chance of a game-winner in 20 minutes of extra play, but a penalty kick shootout became necessary to decide which team would advance to the MPSF championship game.

The Rebels made four saves in the contest and was not able to deflect the last PK made by the Spartans’ Johnny Gonzalez.

San Jose State moves on to the conference tournament championship game to face New Mexico (16-3-0) after the Lobos topped the No. 5 seed Denver, 3-2, in later action. The Spartans and Lobos will meet at 1:00 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex on Sunday, November 17.

*Note: A new rule in 2002 credits the winning team of a penalty kick tiebreaker in postseason play with a win to their overall record instead of a tie in the past. The losing team receives a loss.