Bakersfield, Calif. - Scores in either half by Nick Cukar and Efrain Burgos, Jr., and a shutout in goal by senior Lewis Sweeney, propelled San Jose State University to a 2-0 victory over Cal State Bakersfield to close out the non-conference portion of its 2008 schedule at Main Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon, September 28.
With the win, San Jose State improves to 4-1-3 on the year heading into Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. Cal State Bakersfield, finally playing its home opener after contesting its first 10 matches away from home to begin the campaign, drops to 2-9 with a fourth consecutive defeat. The Roadrunners are currently in the process of reclassifying from the NCAA Division II up to Division I, and will join the MPSF in 2009.
The home side came out a bit the aggressor, taking the first three shots and two corner kicks of the day, with two of the scoring attempts coming from senior midfielder Manny Guzman, around an effort from freshman defender Chico Ruesga that drew the contest’s first goalie save from Sweeney.
San Jose State’s first shot of the afternoon came at the 13:13 mark. Junior striker Colby Moore’s effort went wide of senior CSUB goalkeeper Steve Trojanowski’s net, as the Spartans began to make their presence felt.
The game’s opening goal followed just over three minutes later by Cukar. The junior took a through ball from Burgos, Jr., and from the left side, placed his shot inside the right post for his team-leading third goal of the season. Assists went to both Burgos, Jr., and fellow sophomore midfielder Josh Boemecke, with Boemecke’s the first of his Spartan and college career.
Two more shots came in quick succession from San Jose State, with Cukar’s header going high and Ricky Dorrego’s shot wide of the target near the midway point of the first half. The period ended with the score at 1-0 and the Spartans holding a slim shooting edge, 5-4.
A trio of chances by Cukar to extend the San Jose State advantage went fruitless early on after the halftime break. The first two headed wide, including a second headed effort on the day, and the third generated Trojanowski’s first save of the match.
Roadrunner junior Matt Shaxton then twice tested the Spartan net for an equalizer, his first shot at 54:55 blocked and another at 63:47 saved by Sweeney. Sweeney also produced back-to-back saves on Peter Carlson at 71:25 and Marcos Topolos at 73:29 as the home side upped its pressure for a game-tying score.
The insurance goal that San Jose State was desperately seeking finally arrived at 80:36, with Burgos, Jr., accepting a clever over-the-head lob pass from fellow sophomore midfielder Dorrego and volleying it into the right side from inside the penalty area. The goal was the third of the year for Burgos, Jr., tying him for the team lead with Cukar. Dorrego’s assist was his second of 2008.
In goal for San Jose State, Sweeney wound up with four saves to earn his third shutout of the season and sixth of his major college career. Cukar provided a game- and career-high seven shots for the Spartans. Burgos, Jr., added three of his own, with the duo combining for all five SJSU attempts on goal. Robert Jackson wound up with a career-high three shots.
Trojanowski came up with two stops for the Runners. Guzman had a team-high three shots, with Ruesga and Shaxton collecting two shots apiece.
“I think that we had a real good game plan coming into today’s match,” remarked 19th-year San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair. “The players stuck to it really well. We wanted to make sure that we were not chasing the game. We did not want to be reacting to what Bakersfield was doing. This is a very difficult place to play, with the temperature nearing 100 degrees in the middle of the day. You get tired very quickly.
“We started off a little slow, but after about 10 minutes, we were clearly in control. We scored an early goal, which was very important for us, and our shape was good. At halftime, we talked about getting a second goal. We had three one-on-one opportunities with their goalie that we missed during the early portion of the second half. You always want to finish off teams like that and not keep them in the game, but we were able to find our shape again, score that second goal and get the win. This was a real difficult game, against a quality opponent. We are happy to get the win, and now we can really focus on getting ready for our conference season.”
San Jose State plays just once in the week ahead, continuing a season-long five-game road stretch with its 2008 MPSF opener at Sacramento State (5-2-2) on Sunday, October 5. Kick-off at Hornet Soccer Field is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
San Jose State (4-1-3) - 1 1 - 2
Cal State Bakersfield (2-9) - 0 0 - 0
SJSU - Nick Cukar (3) (Efrain Burgos, Jr., Josh Boemecke), 16:21
SJSU - Efrain Burgos, Jr. (3) (Ricky Dorrego), 80:36
SJSU - 15
CSUB - 10
SJSU - 4 (Lewis Sweeney-4)
CSUB - 3 (Steve Trojanowski-3)
SJSU - 4
CSUB - 6
SJSU - 10
CSUB - 5