San Diego State Men’s Soccer Downs UNLV, 3-1
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego State men’s soccer team won its third straight game on Friday as it defeated UNLV, 3-1, at Montezuma Road. With the victory, the Aztecs improve to 4-2-1. The Rebels, meanwhile, fall to 2-6-1.
San Diego State got out of the gates quickly and dented the scoreboard first. Senior Jose Altamirano sent in a cross from the left side and found an incoming Evyn Hewett on the opposite side. The sophomore took the pass and headed the ball into the net from four yards out. The ninth-minute goal was Hewett’s first of the season and Altamirano notched his third helper of 2012.
The Aztecs controlled the tempo for the entire half and nearly recorded their second goal of the game in the 14th minute when captain Kevin Bick sent into a shot from close range, but UNLV goalkeeper Joe Vitale denied the attempt. Then two minutes later, junior Casey Meuser fired off a laser that Vitale ultimately corralled.
In the 19th minute, Bick found Altamirano, who went back to Bick and connected with Morgan Sacco. The junior from Greeley, Colo., sent a shot toward the goal from 22 yards out and just missed hitting the crossbar.
Eleven minutes later in the 30th minute, however, Blake Wise sent in a rocket from 40 yards out and found the back of net over the leaping Vitale. The goal was his first of the year and the assist was credited to Sacco for the third time this season.
UNLV’s top chance came in the 38th minute when Jose Mendoza sent in a shot, but like three previous Rebel attempts, which were non-threatening, SDSU goalkeeper Blake Hylen turned it away.
The game moved into the second half with the Aztecs ahead, 2-0, and both teams struggled to get anything going offensively in the opening minutes.
The Rebels, however, found themselves in a run-out situation and the Aztecs were flagged for taking down the UNLV player while he was in the box. Julian Portugal took the penalty kick and converted to bring the visitors to within one of SDSU in the 54th minute.
The UNLV goal gave the Rebels life and they were very aggressive offensively. Over the next eight minutes, UNLV outshot the Aztecs, 7-1, but only two required Hylen to make a save. The keeper finished with nine saves on the night.
Following the brief onslaught of Rebel attempts, San Diego State took control of the game on both sides of the field. The Aztecs outshot UNLV, 5-0, and attempted to two corner kicks over the next 10 minutes, and SDSU got the insurance goal it needed in the 74th minute. Altamirano fooled the UNLV defense and found Bick, who slotted his shot into the lower left corner from 15 yards out.
The Aztecs kept UNLV at bay the rest of the way and only allowed two Rebel shots after the Bick goal. All told, San Diego State held UNLV to a pair of shots in the final 28 minutes, 10 seconds.
SDSU, which has defeated UNLV four straight times, finished the game with a 24-19 advantage in shots and held a 12-10 edge in shots on goal. San Diego State also attempted six corner kicks, while the Rebels only had one.
The Aztecs return to action Friday, Sept. 28, when they start Pac-12 Conference play at California. First tap is set for 4:30 p.m. PT.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Blake Wise is the Man of the Match for his effort in San Diego State’s victory over UNLV. The junior from Frisco, Texas, took one shot and made it count with a 40-yard blast that sailed over the leaping goalkeeper and tickled the nylon. Wise was on the receiving end of a Morgan Sacco pass and the midfielder picked up his first goal of the campaign. At the final horn, Wise, who earned his fourth start of the season, logged 71 minutes.
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