Las Vegas, Nev. - San Jose State (5-4-1, 2-0-1 MPSF) was credited with only four shots in the match, but put three on frame and two of those found the back of the net as the Spartans men's soccer team defeated the UNLV Rebels 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matchup.
In what can only be described as a statistical anomaly, UNLV (3-9-1, 1-2-0 MPSF) out shot the Spartans 31-to-4 on the day. San Jose State was credited with less than one third their normal shot output while the Rebels were credited with nearly two and one half times as many shots as they normally attempt.
UNLV was credited with 15 shots in the first half, all but two failed to be on frame. The Spartans lone shot in the first 45 minutes came from senior striker Steven Sanchez who got his seventh goal of the season when Rebels 'keeper Joe Vitale botched his save attempt and Sanchez beat him to the left post. The score came at the 25:16 mark and gave San Jose State a 1-0 lead.
"It was really hot on the pitch," head coach Gary St. Clair said. "Both teams got big wins on Friday. That emotional toll and the heat affected both sides. (UNLV) started quickly, but we absorbed their pressure throughout the first 20 mintues. After Steve scored the advantage turned in our favor."
In the 73rd minute Thomas Barnes fed Garret Foster who had slipped past the defense and, one-on-one against the keeper, fired a strike right at Vitale. The shot went through him for a Spartans 2-0 lead.
It was Foster's third goal of the year and would turn out to be his second game-winner in as many contests. Barnes picked up his third assists of the year on the play.
"Down 0-1 going into the second half, UNLV had nothing to lose and threw everything they had at us," St. Clair said. "Garret's goal really put them behind the eight ball, but we kept our shape and came away with the win."
Redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Emmanuel Espinosa, in the first regular-season action of his career, made seven saves in earning his first win. He allowed just one goal, on a penalty kick in the 91st minute.
"Manny got the call about 10 minutes before the start and played great," St. Clair said. "Michael (Schwinn) came up with an injury in pregame. Manny made one or two exceptional saves and our back line play was outstanding.
"We weren't 100 percent coming out of the (CSU) Bakersfield game (on Friday night). We told the boys we needed them to set up and they did. We had players in positions they either hadn't played in a long time or in some cases had never played. Everyone took it upon himself to play his absolute best. This was truly a team win."
The Spartans, now the lone unbeaten team in the MPSF, are home for their next two matches. They host CSU Bakersfield and UNLV next weekend at Spartan Stadium.