San Jose, Calif. - Striker Thomas Barnes redirected a shot into the net for a 58th minute goal that proved to be the game-winner for the San Jose State men's soccer team in a 3-2 victory over the Bradley University Braves on Friday night in Spartan Stadium.
With the Spartans up 2-1 on a pair of Steven Sanchez tallies, Dylan Murphy took a centering pass from Jonathan Salceda and fired a shot from 15 yards out which Barnes deflected past Braves keeper Brian Billings. It was Barnes' first collegiate goal and Muphy's second assist of the night.
"Without question our guys stepped up tonight," head coach Gary St. Clair said. "They took responsibility in the back, winning first balls, and getting the second balls.
"Bradley is very physical and very strong team. They were trying to cram this game down our throats, to break us down and create a mistake, but our guys were very focused. The remedy for what Bradley does is to keep possession and work through it. That's what we did really well tonight."
For the second consecutive game the Spartans (3-3-0) opened the scoring.
At the 14:09 mark, from 30 yards out on the near sideline, Frankie Beauchamp served a beautiful ball to the top of the six. Sanchez soared above the Bradley defender and headed it back towards the near post for a 1-0 Spartans lead. It was his team leading fourth goal of the season and would be the only scoring of the first half.
In the 48th minute, Bradley (4-3-2) got the equalizer when Scott Davis, in a scramble in front of the goal, picked up a loose ball and tapped it home.
Five minutes later, at the 52:19 mark, Sanchez put the Spartans back in front. Diego Ochoa hammered a shot from 23 yards out that was blocked and came straight to Murphy's foot at the top of the 18. He fed Sanchez down the seam and Sanchez buried it inside the post for a 2-1 lead.
Just over five minutes later, Barnes' goal made it 3-1 with 32 minutes to play.
A Spartans penalty in the box in the 74th minute gave Bradley a penalty kick, which Keegan Balle struck high over the outstretched hand of keeper Michael Schwinn. That cut the lead to 3-2.
San Jose State had three more quality chances in the last 10 minutes, two from Sanchez and one from Salceda, before the match ended with the Spartans winning 3-2.
"I really thought we were going to get a fourth and possibly fifth goal," St. Clair said. "Both Jon and Steve are on fire at this point. They each have great pace...speed kills. They give our guys in the midfield a chance to organizes themselves and move the ball forward to two very dangerous strikers."
Schwinn (3-3-0) stopped four of the six shots, Bradley put on net, in earning the win. Billings (4-3-2) took the loss making one save.
Sanchez led the Spartans attack with six shots. Barnes had two and Salceda, Beauchamp and Ochoa took one shot a piece.
The Spartans wrap up play in the 2012 San Jose State/Santa Clara Tournament on Sunday, September 23, against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders. Kickoff in Spartans Stadium is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.