By Miranda Valenzuela, Contributor
On Saturday afternoon, the SDSU Sports Deck was packed with lively UCLA and San Diego State fans as the eighth-ranked Bruins defeated SDSU 3-1 on Senior Day. While the Aztecs (10-7-2, 3-6-1 Pac-10) concluded their season with a loss, five seniors were celebrated for their efforts.
Goalkeeper Brad Byrns, midfielder Khadim Diouf, defender Falke Verwer and forwards Raymundo Reza and Michael Rocha all played their last regular season game for SDSU.
“We will definitely miss the seniors,” assistant coach Matt Hall said. “We are proud of the game they played today.”
In the first half, the Bruins (14-4-1, 8-2 Pac-10) took control of the match as Andy Rose scored the first goal just six minutes into the game off of a penalty kick. The ball just barely flew past Byrns’ fingertips and sank into the net.
Bruin goalie Brian Rowe had two saves leading up to halftime while Byrns had none.
“Their keeper made great saves,” Hall said. “We could have improved there. We have to get sharper in the defensive third and attacking third; that is where games are won or lost.”
In the second half, the Aztecs came out energized and increased their shot attempts from five during the first half to 11. Still, UCLA fought back and sophomore forward Chandler Hoffman scored the second goal of the game during the 61st minute off of an assist by Eder Arreola and Victor Chavez.
Finally, in the 72nd minute, freshman forward Miles Byass scored the lone goal for SDSU after taking a pass from midfielder Casey Meuser.
“I thought (the second half goal) would get us back in the game, but it didn’t,” Byass said. “It’s a bittersweet feeling to lose like this, especially on Senior Day.”
As the remaining minutes of the game clock ran down, the Aztecs poured on the pressure taking more shots and making an effort at better defense. However, it was not enough as UCLA forward Reed Williams scored the third and final goal of the game during the 79th minute. SDSU clearly outshot the Bruins 16 to 12, but only Byass’ shot was successful.
“I think that today’s game sums up our season. We didn’t get the win, but we outplayed the team,” Byass said. “We outplayed UCLA today and we deserved to win, but didn’t get it.”