Dan Perez, Senior Staff Writer
Two new heroes who couldn’t be at more different points in their educations stepped up for the San Diego State men’s soccer team to help SDSU (8-5-2, 2-4-1 Pac-10) go unbeaten during the weekend. On Friday, graduate student Falke Verwer saved a tie for the Aztecs against No. 12 California with his second goal of the season while true freshman forward Miles Byass recorded the only goal in a tight 1-0 victory against Stanford on Sunday.
“I can’t tell you how good this feels man,” Verwer said. “To be able to go out on the field and contribute, it’s awesome. I’m lucky that I got the chance to do my part for this team.”
Verwer received his opportunity in a rematch against Cal on Friday in which SDSU was struggling to find the back of the net. The Golden Bears went up early, scoring in the 10th minute and held that lead for more than 70 minutes until Verwer took a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Jose Altamirano and launched a header past the Cal goalkeeper.
“I was so ecstatic to score, the play just worked out perfectly,” Verwer said. “(Daniel) Steres was at the near post and Jose (Altamirano) sent a beautiful ball in and I just beat the defender and put everything I had behind the ball.”
The Aztecs dominated the last 100 minutes of the match, outshooting the Golden Bears 26-9, with a 16-2 advantage through the last 65 minutes, and an 8-3 corner kick advantage.
A controversial play came before Verwer’s goal, as Byass pushed the ball up in the 75th minute to force a two-on-one and was fouled flagrantly just outside the box, and the Cal defender received a yellow card even though the SDSU bench screamed for a red.
“Miles (Byass) is my player so I think it should have been a red, of course,” head coach Lev Kirshner said. “To have him taken out like that in a scoring opportunity, we all thought it should have been a red. But the official gave me his statement and it had merit, but that play could have had a drastic effect on the rest of the game if it had been a red.”
Byass continued to be a force up front on Sunday, scoring his first career goal and securing a win for the Aztecs. Byass used his speed to slip past the Cardinals’ defense and took a pass from freshman midfielder Casey Meuser and beat Stanford’s goalkeeper in the far post.
“These games over the weekend are a good show to see how much we’re learning and improving from the first half of the season,” Kirshner said. “We’re creating pressure and scoring chances but we need to play with more desire and fight. We’re a good team and we are hanging with and beating top teams; we just need to keep fighting and we won’t be disappointed with the end results.”