Bakersfield, Calif. - San Jose State University overcame a penalty-kick goal just 81 seconds into the contest, to take a 3-1 lead into the halftime break and eventually a 4-2 final decision over host Cal State Bakersfield in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's soccer match at Main Soccer Field on Friday night, October 23.
With a sixth straight victory and third in a row to open the conference portion of its 2009 schedule, San Jose State improves to 8-6-1 overall and a still-perfect 3-0 in the MPSF. The Spartans, who have now extended out to a seven-match unbeaten streak, are joint leaders with Sacramento State (7-5-1, 3-0 MPSF) atop the league standings. Cal State Bakersfield, a first-year member of the now-eight-team conference, falls to 6-5-2 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Junior holding central midfielder Josh Boemecke had a busy night for the Spartans, producing the first two-goal game of his college career, including his first game-winner, before having to depart due to a dubious red card issued to him just prior to a San Jose State free kick at the 73:09. Both sides had to play the final 17 minutes down a man, as Cal State Bakersfield's Wayne Lampart drew the initial ejection from the referee.
The host 'Runners were the beneficiaries of an early penalty-kick call, at just 1:21, with Alberto Navarro converting for the almost-immediate advantage after the opening whistle.
San Jose State got the equalizer through Boemecke at 12:18, taking advantage yet again this season of a set-piece opportunity. Fellow junior Ricky Dorrego lifted a free kick into the CSUB penalty area, where Boemecke headed the ball into the back of the net.
Less than 13 minutes later, the Spartans had their first lead, as Justin Castro notched his team-leading fifth on a one-touch shot into the goal after senior teammate Nick Cukar had crossed in.
With under six minutes to go in the half, Boemecke provided some cushion. Freshman Steven Sanchez took a corner kick that got pushed around the box until it was finally punched home with authority by the Illinois native, to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead at the break.
There was no further scoring until Cal State Bakersfield made a game of it again, but only briefly, as Navarro headed in a left-sided free kick by Javier Barba at 82:38.
Before the 'Runners could really gather any further momentum toward a comeback attempt, Cukar said the final word, taking a stellar through ball from redshirt freshman Omri Brinner and tallying the 20th goal of his standout career. The strike gave him a share of the team lead with Castro, now at five apiece. Brinner had entered the match, marking just his fourth career appearance, moments after Boemecke's forced exit, to solidify the Spartan midfield defensively. The assist earned him his first career offensive point.
Sophomore Jonathan Lester made a pair of saves over the 90 minutes in the Spartan goal, while freshman Eric Shannon collected four stops for the 'Runners. San Jose State out-shot CSUB, 14-11, with Boemecke and senior striker Colby Moore contributing three apiece.
The Spartans move on to play another new MPSF foe, Seattle University, this Sunday afternoon, October 25. Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m., but the exact location is yet to be determined, between the Redhawks' own grass-surface Championship Field, and the turf facility at Starfire Soccer Complex, training ground of the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer, due to extended inclement weather in the Seattle area.
San Jose State (8-6-1, 3-0 MPSF) - 3 1 - 4
Cal State Bakersfield (6-5-2, 1-2 MPSF) - 1 1 - 2
CSUB - Alberto Navarro (3) (Penalty kick), 1:21
SJSU - Josh Boemecke (2) (Ricky Dorrego), 12:18
SJSU - Justin Castro (5) (Nick Cukar), 25:13
SJSU - Josh Boemecke (3) (unassisted), 39:07
CSUB - Alberto Navarro (4) (Javier Barba), 82:38
SJSU - Nick Cukar (5) (Omri Brinner), 82:59
SJSU - 14
CSUB - 11
SJSU - 2 (Jonathan Lester-2)
CSUB - 4 (Eric Shannon-4)
SJSU - 4
CSUB - 2
SJSU - 21
CSUB - 15