San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University fell to a fourth straight one-goal conference defeat, 3-2 in overtime against Denver University, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s soccer match at Spartan Stadium on Friday night, October 17.
The loss drops San Jose State to 4-5-3 overall and 0-4 in MPSF play. Denver improves to 6-5 and a still-perfect 4-0 in the conference. The Pioneers move into sole possession of first place in the league standings with four-time defending MPSF champion New Mexico’s 2-1 loss at UNLV.
At the 97:49 mark of the first overtime period, freshman midfielder Jarod Stigall pounced on a miscleared ball by the Spartan defense and slotted his shot perfectly into the far right corner from the left side around the top of the penalty area. The unassisted strike was his third of the season and second of the match.
San Jose State headed into the final four minutes of regulation nursing a 2-1 edge, but Denver knotted the score at 86:14 when a Ryan Aweida pass from the left side found the head of senior Colin Jones, who deposited the ball into the right corner of the net for his team-leading fourth on the year from his defensive position.
The Spartans twice were unable to hold one-goal leads against Denver after failing to maintain a 1-0 halftime advantage at UNLV in a 2-1 loss there last Sunday, October 12. San Jose State needed just 150 seconds to end DU goalkeeper Joe Willis’ in-conference shutout streak at 272:30. Junior striker Colby Moore’s long throw-in from the right side was flicked on by senior central defender Sam Shore, with senior holding central midfielder Hiroki Akiyama all alone at the back post to tap into the empty net. Shore and Moore both picked up assists on the play.
That lead only lasted 24 seconds, however, in a frantic start to the contest, as Joey Mathot’s cross from the right was parried by Spartan goalkeeper Lewis Sweeney, only for it to stay up in the air perfectly for Stigall to head from in close over the final defender standing in the goal mouth for a 1-1 tie.
Ricky Dorrego, a San Jose native out of Lincoln High School, notched his second collegiate goal to regain the slim advantage for the Spartans at the 55:58 mark. He took a nice through pass by Moore, ran at goal and eventually took a shot that was blocked by a DU defender. The ball remained at his feet, and after taking a touch toward the center of the penalty area, he powered a low shot past Willis and into the goal for 2-1.
After 2-2, the Spartans had one decent chance to avoid the extra period, when a right-sided cross was almost met by Efrain Burgos, Jr., at the edge of the six-yard box, but the sophomore attacking central midfielder fell one step short of being able to knock it in with 24 ticks left.
Sweeney made five saves in the San Jose State goal, while Willis, a redshirt sophomore, had eight stops. Burgos, Jr., had game highs of seven shots and four shots on goal on the night. Dorrego and Moore added four apiece. Collin Audley led DU with six attempts, three of them on goal. Stigall added four shots. The Spartans out-shot the Pioneers as a team, 22-20.
“I don’t think in my 32 years of coaching, that I’ve ever seen anything like this,” said San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair. “Four games in a row, just like this, where we fail to hold a lead and get beat in overtime. It’s unbelievably disappointing to all of the players. I feel bad for them. We’re certainly going to go back to work tomorrow, but we’ve got to get ourselves ready to go again on Sunday. That’s going to be a tall task. My concern is for the players. Tomorrow, we’ll try to get them ready to battle again on Sunday.”
San Jose State is in more MPSF action this Sunday afternoon, October 19, hosting the Air Force Academy inside Spartan Stadium at 1:00 p.m.
Denver (6-5, 4-0 MPSF) - 1 1 1 - 3
San Jose State (4-5-3, 0-4 MPSF) - 1 1 0 - 2
SJSU - Hiroki Akiyama (3) (Sam Shore, Colby Moore), 2:30
DU - Jarod Stigall (2) (Joey Mathot), 2:54
SJSU - Ricky Dorrego (2) (Colby Moore), 55:58
DU - Colin Jones (4) (Ryan Aweida), 86:14
DU - Jarod Stigall (3) (Unassisted), 97:49
DU - 20
SJSU - 22
DU - 8 (Joe Willis-8)
SJSU - 5 (Lewis Sweeney-5)
DU - 8
SJSU - 4
DU - 7
SJSU - 14