San Jose, Calif. - Nick Cukar’s brace, the second the game-winner 2:41 into the first overtime period, lifted San Jose State University to a 2-1 triumph over UNLV in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s soccer match at Spartan Field on Friday afternoon, November 7.
San Jose State, now with back-to-back victories for the first time in 2008, and unbeaten over its last four, all in conference play, improves to 7-5-4 overall and 3-4-1 in the MPSF. UNLV falls to 8-6-1 overall and 3-4 in league play. In attaining a split of the two-game season series between the teams, the Spartans thus vault over the Rebels and into sole possession of third-place in the MPSF standings. UNLV had won the previous meeting at home by the identical score of 2-1.
Less than three minutes into the first overtime, the Spartans earned a throw-in on the left side in the Rebel defensive third. Redshirt freshman left back Dan Addiego took the throw, with the ball finding its way to Cukar’s foot on the near post. The junior outside midfielder and native of Millbrae, Calif., snuck a clever shot to senior UNLV goalie Hawk Mummey’s right and into the back of the net to give his side the victory at 92:41.
Cukar had opened the scoring at 36:33, taking a pass from freshman teammate Oscar Yniguez in a wide-open position down the left flank, and beating Mummey’s diving effort to the far post. Colby Moore was also credited with an assist on the play, his team-leading sixth.
The visiting Rebels equalized seconds before the halftime break, at 44:06, when Allen Hardison notched his first collegiate goal. The freshman transfer gained the ball on the left side of the penalty box, from senior defender Keegan Uderitz, dribbled past the tackle of one Spartan defender to the inside, and put his shot low and to the far post away from senior San Jose State net-minder Lewis Sweeney.
Beyond the goals, San Jose State had the best offensive chance over the first 45 minutes, with a flurry in front of goal in the ninth minute. The play started very similarly to the opening goal, with Yniguez finding Cukar loose down the left wing. Mummey sprawled out to his left to deflect Cukar’s low attempt to the far corner, before also knocking away Ricky Dorrego’s shot on the rebound. Yniguez entered the fray late and put a third effort high over the bar.
UNLV’s chances were mostly limited to long-range attempts by Neagle during the first half. The MPSF’s leading scorer heading into the contest with nine goals, had all six of his shots before the break, and was held without a shot by the Spartan defense over the final 47:41.
The Spartans almost broke the tie early in the second period. At 48:27, Moore’s effort required a diving, finger-tip save by Mummey to his right. A first-time shot by Yniguez less than a minute later off a nice pass by Cukar, went narrowly wide to the right.
In the 72nd minute, San Jose State went on a four-on-two attack into the Rebel penalty area, led by sophomore holding central midfielder Josh Boemecke, with Cukar, Dorrego and Moore alongside him. The ball eventually found Cukar, whose hard shot clanged off the crossbar. Ninety seconds after that, Boemecke passed to Robert Jackson, who gave to Moore, with the junior striker’s shot attempt blocked by a UNLV defender.
Sweeney finished with five saves in goal for the Spartans, while Mummey had four. Cukar’s five shots were a team high behind Neagle’s game-high six shots for UNLV, though only one was on goal. Moore added four shots, while Yniguez had three.
San Jose State won despite having just 15 players in uniform, with all 13 field players seeing action, including a brief collegiate debut for redshirt freshman midfielder Aria Vossoughi at the end of the first half. Kachiside Madu and Brent Young each earned their first collegiate starts, at right back and forward, respectively. A fourth redshirt freshman, Sky Cutler, played a career-high 56 minutes off the bench. The product of Archbishop Mitty High School, normally a defender, played mostly in holding central midfield. Madu stayed on the field for all 93 minutes.
San Jose State now remains at home and awaits the visit of four-time defending MPSF champion New Mexico (9-5-2, 5-2 MPSF) this Sunday, November 9. Kick-off inside Spartan Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m. The Lobos are in second-place with 15 points.
UNLV (8-6-1, 3-4 MPSF) - 1 0 0 - 1
San Jose State (7-5-4, 3-4-1 MPSF) - 1 0 1 - 2
SJSU - Nick Cukar (6) (Oscar Yniguez, Colby Moore), 36:33
UNLV - Allen Hardison (1) (Keegan Uderitz), 44:06
SJSU - Nick Cukar (7) (Dan Addiego), 92:41
SJSU - 15
UNLV - 4 (Hawk Mummey-4)
SJSU - 5 (Lewis Sweeney-5)
UNLV - 10
SJSU - 4
UNLV - 12
SJSU - 7