Denver, Colo. - The San Jose State men's soccer team found themselves down 1-0 after the first half for the second game in a row at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championship Tournament.
Last night they made a stirring comeback and defeated Sacramento State 4-2, but tonight, against the No. 1 team in the nation New Mexico (17-0-2), the result was not as kind. The Spartans (9-8-3) lost 3-0, ending their season and the collegiate careers of seven players.
In the 37th minute New Mexico's Carson Baldinger took a shot which was blocked by the Spartans defense, but the bouncing deflection went to Kyle Venter who put it past San Jose State keeper Jonathan Lester for a 1-0 lead.
For the half the Spartans were narrowly outshot, 5-to-4, but San Jose State put all four shots on frame.
"We missed some very good chances early on," head coach Gary St. Clair said. "We had the right game plan for New Mexico and pushed, pushed, pushed to score, but the goal was closed to us tonight."
Steven Sanchez and Dylan Murphy led the Spartans attack with three shots each. Murphy paced San Jose State with three on frame, getting two of them in the first half. Nick Cashmere and Roberto Casteneda had the Spartans other two shots on goal in the half.
In the second half, New Mexico again had a single shot advantage on the Spartans 9-to-8. But, just two of San Jose State's attempts reached Lobo keeper Lane Javier, who replaced starter Victor Rodriguez. New Mexico put seven of their shots on frame and got two second half goals.
At the 58:43 mark, the Lobo's Michael Green sent a free kick to the back post, Adrian Mora Delgado slipped behind the Spartans defense and slotted it in for a 2-0 lead.
The final goal came in the 64th minute. Devon Sandoval took a free ball in the box after a defensive miscue and beat the defense for an unassisted tally and a 3-0 New Mexico advantage.
For the game, Lester made five saves. He finishes the season with 105, which places him sixth on the program's single-season list. For his career, Lester made 225 stops, good for fourth place on the San Jose State career saves list.
Casteneda, Cashmere, Alan La Spina, Omri Brinner, Craig Hertler and Dan Addiego also made their final appearances in Spartan blue and white.
"I can't say enough about the character of our team this year. I would do the whole thing over again with these guys. We faced a lot of adversity, but they never gave up. It is always a bitter feeling when you know the season is over, but in a few days that will go away and we will start preparing for next year."