Houston, Texas - San Jose State University got its final game in of the HBU Classic under severe weather conditions, and got a Ricky Dorrego goal midway through the first half and a third straight shutout by Jonathan Lester and its defense, to post a 1-0 defeat of Howard University on Sunday afternoon, October 4.
A major rainstorm hit the Houston area on Sunday morning, forcing the Spartans to move their game against the Bison to the Houston Baptist University men's soccer team's practice field, from Sorrels Field, the original site of the tournament. By the end of the contest, the rain had subsided and the sun was out, but the final match of the event, between the host HBU Huskies and San Jose State's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe, Air Force, was cancelled due to what by then had become unplayable field conditions.
With a second straight triumph this weekend away from home, the Spartans improve to 4-6-1 on the year. They had begun the season with losses in each of their first six matches outside of San Jose. Howard, out of the Atlantic Soccer Conference, falls to 2-8. It was the first known meeting between the schools in men's soccer.
Dorrego's second goal of 2009 came at 21:43, and was credited as unassisted off a rebound. It was the junior San Jose native's sixth career strike, and proved to be his first game-winner.
Lester, a sophomore transfer from SMU and Texas native (Fort Worth), made two saves over 90 minutes in goal to earn his third individual clean sheet in a row, the fourth of his college career.
San Jose State has not allowed a goal over the past 290 minutes of soccer over three matches in which it has gone an undefeated 2-0-1, since a double-overtime sudden-victory winner scored by the host Dons at the University of San Francisco on Friday night, September 25.
As the designated home side in the neutral-site contest, San Jose State out-shot Howard, 12-5, getting five efforts on frame to just two by the Bison. For Howard, senior Victor Thomas made one stop in net over the first 9:55 before leaving the game with an injury. Freshman Larry Turner came on in his collegiate debut and saved three shots the rest of the way.
Oscar Monjaras, a San Jose State center back and senior team co-captain, was forced to leave the game following a ground collision during the second half. He was later taken to a local hospital, but released in time to make the Spartans' flight home. His status is day-to-day.
"It was a complete mud bowl," was San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair's assessment of the day's action. "We were fortunate enough to get an early goal, and that was it. There was no soccer played today whatsoever. It was a slugfest.
"Our guys played as well as can be expected (in the existing conditions). They adapted well. We tried to touch (the ball) around, but it would just get stopped in a puddle.
"I'm very proud of this team. This is three straight shutouts for us now. This was a tough situation here. They were poor conditions on Friday, and worse today, but the boys gutted it out. We are happy to be coming home with a winning streak. We are glad just to come home, period (with five of eight matches in San Jose to close the regular season). We have played a lot of road games (eight of 11)."
The Spartans return to San Jose on Sunday night, and head into a one-game week and a season-long three-match homestand which will finally take them into the MPSF portion of their schedule. San Jose State first hosts league rival, Sacramento State, in a non-conference tilt this Thursday night, October 8. Kick-off at Spartan Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.
Howard (2-8) - 0 0 - 0
San Jose State (4-6-1) - 1 0 - 1
SJSU - Ricky Dorrego (2) (unassisted), 21:43
HU - 5
SJSU - 12
HU - 4 (Victor Thomas-1; Larry Turner-3)
SJSU - 2 (Jonathan Lester-2)
HU - 2
SJSU - 2
HU - 12
SJSU - 13