Spartans Search For First Road Win Of 2015 At UC Riverside

Luis Vargas and the Spartans play at UC Riverside on Friday night.
Sept. 22, 2015

San Jose, Calif. – After falling 2-0 on the road on Sunday, and without a victory away from Spartan Soccer Field in four tries, the San José State men’s soccer team makes it third foray to southern California this week and will face the UC Riverside Highlanders in a non-conference matchup.


San José State Spartans (2-4-0)


UC Riverside Highlanders (3-4-1)

Friday, September 25, 7:00 p.m.

UC Riverside Soccer Stadium, Riverside, Calif.

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San José State (2-4-0) is in search of its first road win of the season, after dropping a 2-0 decision at the University of San Diego last Sunday. It was the fourth loss in as many tries away from home this year for SJSU.



Rory Knibbs, one of four field players to start every match in 2015, leads the team in virtually every offensive category including shots (18), shots on goal (10), goals (4), game winners (2) and penalty kicks (1-for-1). Newcomer Alex Alcaraz tops the side with three assists. Freshman Zach Penner and junior Kyler McLaughlin have each scored a goal. Keeper Emmanuel Espinoza has played every minute for the Spartans letting in 10 of the 39 shots that have reached his line. His goals against average is 1.63 and he has a save percentage of .744.

The team’s saves per game average of 4.83 is 34th best in the nation. Individually, Alcaraz ranks 34th in the nation in assists per game (0.50) and 38th in total assists (3). Knibbs is 26th in goals per game (0.67), 27th in total goals (4) and 40th in shots on goal per game (1.67). Espinoza ranks 26th in saves per game (4.83) and 32nd in total saves (29).

Head Coach Simon Tobin is in his second season leading the Spartans. His SJSU record is currently 8-15-2 and his career record, in 28 seasons, is 313-204-56.


The Highlanders (3-4-1) have competed in eight matches this year but have played on their home field just once, a 3-0 victory over San Francisco on September 10. Last week they went 0-1-1 losing at Santa Clara (1-2) and then earned a tie at Saint Mary’s 1-1.

Norberto Ochoa leads the team with four goals. Michael Salazar has scored three goals and has assisted on two others. Romario Lomeli leads the side with three assists. Vincent Morales and Ashkan Khosravi had shared time in goal. Morales has logged the most minutes (407:00) with a 0.88 goals against average and an .826 save percentage. His record on the year is 2-1-1 with one shutout.

Head coach Tim Cupello is in his third season leading the UC Riverside program and brought a career record of 14-18-7 into the 2015 season.


Friday will be the ninth time these programs have matched up on the soccer field, with the Spartans holding a slight 4-3-1 advantage in the series. In games contested in Riverside, SJSU is 1-3-1. The only time San José State won in UC Riverside Soccer Stadium was a 3-0 win in 2007. The last meeting was in 2011, at Riverside, and ended in a 1-1 draw.