San Jose, Calif. - Eight San Jose State men's soccer seniors made their final home appearances on Sunday afternoon, as the Spartans shutout the Denver University Pioneers 3-0 in Spartan Stadium.
The win improves San Jose State's overall record to 7-5-3 overall, 4-3-0 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) action. The Pioneers fall to 4-8-3, 2-4-1 in conference play. The Spartans move into third place in the MPSF standings alone with 12 points. They trail CSU Bakersfield, who has 15 points and No. 3 ranked New Mexico with 21 points in the conference standings.
"We were a bit unlucky on Friday night (1-0 loss to Air Force)," said Spartan striker Steven Sanchez, "but we have been playing well for the last few weeks (4-2-0 in their last six matches) and are building momentum going to UNLV and New Mexico next week."
Dan Addiego, Omri Brinner, Nick Cashmere, Roberto Casteneda, Jose Cortez, Craig Hertler, Allen La Spina and Jonathan Lester, the eight seniors, were honored in a ceremony prior to kickoff.
The teams played the game nearly evenly in all the statistics, but one, the final score. Both teams got off 15 shots in the match. The Spartans put eight of their shots on frame, while Denver had seven on goal.
San Jose State had three great chances to score early in the first half. Sanchez got behind the defense at the 10:14 and 11:40 marks and was one-on-one against Pioneers' keeper Mate Aquirre who made two great saves to preserve the 0-0 tie.
"We have been working in training on putting ourselves in position to score," Sanchez said. "As a striker, you are not going to score every time you get a chance, but we kept at it and we were rewarded today."
Then in the 27th minute, with his back to the goal, San Jose State's Dylan Murphy collected a loose ball in the box. He turned and misfired on a shot into an open net. He readjusted and again fired the ball, but a Pioneers defender blocked the attempt. The teams went to the half tied 0-0.
Then in an eight minute span of the second half, San Jose State scored three times.
Center-mid Diego Ochoa played a perfect throughball to Sanchez who was streaking down the left side. Sanchez took the ball in stride drove to the goal and fired a shot, high to the far post from eight yards out to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead at the 68:05 mark. It was his team-leading fifth goal of the season. Ochoa got the assist; his second of the year.
Just over three minutes later a Denver defender brought down a Spartan in the box setting up a penalty kick. Ochoa took it and tucked it away to the keeper's left for a 2-0 lead on his second goal of the year.
Four minutes after that, at the 75:43 mark, Sanchez was again in the Pioneers box with the ball. He fired a shot from the left of the goal that Aquirre stopped, but couldn't control. Nick Cashmere was crashing the goal, picked up the loose ball and popped it in for his fourth tally of the season and a 3-0 San Jose State lead.
"It feels great to score in my last home match," Cashmere said. "It's about time I scored. I have been getting good opportunities for the last five games, but the keepers have been making saves on me."
Spartan keeper Jonathan Lester stopped all seven shots that reached him and in doing so recorded his third shutout of the year and 15th of his career. He is now tied with Sean Keohane (1976-77) for third place on the San Jose State career-shutouts list.
San Jose State finishes its regular season schedule with three matches on the road. The Spartans will be at UNLV on Friday, October 28 for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff, and then at No. 3 New Mexico on Sunday, October 30 with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The team wraps up the regular season at Sacramento State on November 6. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.