Los Angeles, Calif. - San Jose State University held a four-shot advantage and put together a stretch of eight straight scoring attempts in the second half, but host Loyola Marymount University still came away with a 1-0 victory in a non-conference men's soccer match between in-region opponents at Sullivan Field on Friday afternoon, September 11.
With their third loss in a row, the Spartans fall to 1-3. LMU, playing its 2009 home opener, improves to 2-1.
The first 10 minutes of the match saw a pair of shots each by the two teams' respective top players. LMU junior striker Rafael Baca first had back-to-back attempts, with the initial one saved by redshirt sophomore Spartan goalkeeper Tyler Newman, and the second going wide.
Then it was San Jose State's senior midfielder, Nick Cukar, making his presence felt, as his shot at 9:52 was blocked, with a follow-up effort saved by sophomore Lion goalie Jack McCormack. Cukar and Baca, all-region performers a year ago, both entered the match with team-leading totals of two goals apiece.
In the 22nd minute, a shot by Spartan freshman Mauricio Murillo, Jr., was blocked. Six minutes later, it was another freshman, Dylan Murphy, who tested McCormack, but was also denied. With under a minute to go in the frame, Dylan's older brother, Nick Murphy, took a shot that resulted in McCormack's third save of the afternoon, as the teams headed into the break still deadlocked at 0-0.
The Lions were finally first onto the scoreboard in the 51st minute, as freshman forward Chris Bernardi tallied his first collegiate goal from in close off a right-sided cross from junior midfielder Vincent Ocampo. Artur Jozkowicz was also credited with an assist on the play.
Within the next four minutes, Bernardi and senior teammate Brock Smith found the post and crossbar, respectively, with their shots, to keep the deficit manageable for the Spartans.
San Jose State was finally credited with its first shot of the second half in the 57th minute, as Josh Boemecke's header was turned away again by McCormack. That began a run of eight straight shots by the Spartans, including four in quick succession from 70:22 to 72:40, with Ricky Dorrego going high with a free kick from a dangerous spot, Oscar Yniguez and Murillo, Jr., getting blocked, and Yniguez finding McCormack from point-blank range for a narrow miss.
Newman saved a header by sophomore Jonas Reiter to keep his team in it with 10 minutes remaining. Senior striker Colby Moore, Cukar and Murillo, Jr., had three last chances to tie matters for the Spartans over the final eight minutes, but were unsuccessful as time expired.
San Jose State out-shot LMU, 17-13. Newman wound up with four stops in net for San Jose State. Cukar and Murillo, Jr., had a team-best three shots.
McCormack made five saves for LMU. Baca, the first M.A.C. Hermann Trophy candidate in program history, Bernardi and two teammates finished with two shots apiece.
"It was a disappointing result, but our performance was very good," remarked 20th-year San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair. "We all felt that we could get an equalizer after their goal. We had a number of chances to score, even before they went ahead. The guys really worked hard and fought like crazy. We just came up a bit short. LMU is a good, physical team, and we could not find the back of the net. Overall, I'm pleased with what we showed today. We will try to build on that, hope to get some guys healthy, and go after a result on Sunday."
The Spartans conclude a season-long four-match road stretch at UC Riverside on Sunday, September 13, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
San Jose State (1-3) - 0 0 - 0
Loyola Marymount (2-1) - 0 1 - 1
LMU - Chris Bernardi (1) (Vincent Ocampo, Artur Jozkowicz), 50:51
SJSU - 17
LMU - 13
SJSU - 4 (Tyler Newman-4)
LMU - 5 (Jack McCormack-5)
SJSU - 6
LMU - 3
SJSU - 6
LMU - 13