Las Vegas, Nev. - An own goal and a score by Hiroki Akiyama gave the San Jose State University men's soccer team a 2-1 victory on Sunday, October 8, in a critical Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match.
The win evens the San Jose State overall record at 5-5-1 and improves the Spartans to 2-1 in the MPSF, giving them three more points for a total of six in the conference standings. The host Rebels remain winless at 0-10-2 overall and 0-4 in league play.
"We are very pleased to have six points in our first three league games," said head coach Gary St. Clair. "This road trip (paired with New Mexico) can be very difficult, and we are pleased to come out of it with a split."
After a scoreless first half which saw Spartan goalkeeper Richard Mann make two point-blank saves in the 25th minute, the Spartans got some help from the Rebels in taking a lead they would never relinquish, when San Jose State was credited with an own goal at 56:41 of the match.
"After the 25th minute or so, the game was ours," said St. Clair. "Our defense and Richard (Mann) played real well in the back."
AKIYAMA ADDS INSURANCE GOAL
The Spartans got an insurance goal at 72:51, when Akiyama scored his second goal of the season on a blast from 35 yards out that got by UNLV goalkeeper Calvin Bailey. Akiyama led San Jose State with two shots on goal in the contest.
"Hiroki, as well as the other goal-scorers on our team, have that innate ability to find a space and create a scoring opportunity. He is always thinking about where the goal is, and how he can get a shot on net."
Late in the second half, UNLV cut the Spartan lead to just one goal when Ben Haugland headed a free kick from Lamar Neagle past Mann at the 87:36 mark.
The Spartan defense held its own throughout the remainder of the match, as the Rebels outshot SJSU, 15-9 in the contest, but could not solve Mann, who made six saves on the afternoon.
The Spartans also had five corner kicks to the Rebels' three.
FIRST-PLACE PIONEERS COME CALLING
Having concluded a season-long five-game road stretch, San Jose State now returns home to Spartan Stadium to face conference-leading Denver University on Thursday, October 12, in a pivotal MPSF match. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
"This is going to be a very critical week for us," said St. Clair. "Denver is ahead of us in the standings, and we have a game in hand on them. It should be very exciting, and our guys will be ready. We like the position we are in."
San Jose State (5-5-1, 2-1 MPSF) - 0 2 - 2
UNLV (0-10-2, 0-4 MPSF) - 0 1 - 1
SJSU - Own goal (unassisted), 56:41
SJSU - Hiroki Akiyama (2) (unassisted), 72:51
UNLV - Ben Haugland (Lamar Neagle), 87:36
SJSU - 9
UNLV - 15
SJSU - 6 (Richard Mann-6)
UNLV - 2 (Calvin Bailey-1; Team-1)
SJSU - 5
UNLV - 3
SJSU - 9
UNLV - 10