San Jose, Calif. - San Diego State University struck for a 54th-minute goal and withstood a furious late charge to edge San Jose State University, 1-0, in a non-conference women's soccer match at Spartan Stadium on Friday night, August 28.
At the 53:26 mark, senior forward Jessica Gordon, who gave the Spartans fits for much of the evening from the left flank, provided an accurate cross from that side which junior teammate Cat Walker got her foot to from close range toward the back post, guiding the ball into the open net for her first goal of the year and the only score of the match.
The Spartans had four opportunities in quick succession to knot the match over the final three minutes, with senior forward Emmy Belding involved in each play. At 87:15, her turn-around volley went wide to the right of the Aztec goal. Seconds later, junior center back Brittany Boehm played a perfect through ball that Belding just missed latching onto. At 88:04, this time it was a Belding header that SDSU goalie Aubree Southwick caught for a save. With under a minute left to play in regulation, Belding's intended pass up the middle of the field and toward the penalty box to freshman teammate Kelsey Lord was also parried away at the last moment.
Belding and Lord were also in on what was arguably San Jose State's best chance to score in the first half, though the play did not result in one of its four shots in the period. A beautiful combination play in the 22nd minute by Lord and sophomore forward Michelle Haughey got Belding running onto a ball at goal, but Southwick was just a slight bit quicker to it as it rolled toward her penalty area.
Walker almost made it 1-0 in favor of the visitors within a minute of the first-half whistle with a shot that went wide to the left. In the 12th minute, Walker's left-sided cross was shot high and over the bar from right in front of the goal, by senior forward Heather Vandevanter. Four minutes later, junior Spartan goalkeeper Nina Butera had to dive to her left to save a shot by Gordon.
Butera, a native of San Jose, made seven saves over the 90 minutes. Southwick, a Danville product who earned Freshman All-America honors two years ago, was credited with two stops while notching her second shutout of the early season in goal.
The Aztecs out-shot the Spartans on the night, 17-7. Four of Walker's five shots were on goal, with both totals serving as game highs. Belding and fellow senior Hallsie Pacheco had two shots apiece for the home side, with the duo accounting for the only two shots on goal. Pacheco and sophomore center back Jessica Ingram each had steady games in the middle of the field.
San Jose State was without the services of sophomore midfielder Lauren Sanchez of San Jose's Archbishop Mitty High School, due to an injury suffered in practice this week. The Spartans also lost freshman left back Kelsey Costan to injury early in the second half.
Freshman midfielder Shannon Righetti, another San Jose product out of Pioneer High School, made her collegiate debut as a first-half substitute after herself missing last week's opener with Santa Clara through injury.
With a second straight shutout loss at home to open the season, San Jose State falls to 0-2. San Diego State moves to 2-1 on the year ahead of a showdown this Sunday afternoon, August 30, at No. 4 Stanford.
San Jose State next faces a season-long four-game road stretch, beginning with a pair of short trips north to the University of San Francisco odwalla Nike Classic next weekend.
San Diego State (2-1) - 0 1 - 1
San Jose State (0-2) - 0 0 - 0
SDSU - Cat Walker (1) (Jessica Gordon), 53:26
SDSU - 17
SJSU - 7
SDSU - 2 (Aubree Southwick-2)
SJSU - 7 (Nina Butera-7)
SDSU - 6
SJSU - 2
SDSU - 9
SJSU - 16