The San Diego State men’s soccer team is in an unfamiliar position.
Currently unbeaten in its last seven games and 2-0 in Pacific-12 Conference play thus far, SDSU is ranked No. 24 in the latest College Soccer News poll.
SDSU’s No. 24 rank is its highest since ranking No. 21 on Aug. 28, 2006.
The Aztecs (7-1-2, 2-0 Pac-12) are also ranked No. 28 by Top Drawer Soccer and No. 4 in the latest NSCAA/Continental Tire Far West Region poll, which is tied for the second highest in head coach Lev Kirshner’s 12-year tenure. UCLA is ranked third and is tied with SDSU atop the Pac-12 Conference standings.
On Friday, the Aztecs will take their No. 24 ranking and seven-game unbeaten streak into Corvallis, Ore. to take on the Oregon State Beavers (3-5-1, 1-0).
The Beavers, who are coming off an upset win against No. 22 University of Washington, are 1-3 at home this season. This bodes well for the Aztecs, who are 2-1 on the road.
“At the end of the day, this team plays extremely well on the road,” Kirshner said. “We travel very well. We expect great efforts from here on out. We want to win a championship. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home or on the road, if you’re going to win a championship, you have to win.”
The Beavers have struggled on offense so far this season, scoring only 11 goals in nine matches, while giving up 16 goals to opponents.
Oregon State’s leading scorers are sophomore midfielder Alex Eckerson (3 goals), junior forward Emery Welshman (2 goals) and freshman forward / midfielder Mike Reckmeyer (2 goals).
Defensively, redshirt senior goalkeeper Steve Spangler leads the Beavers with 35 saves on the season and two shutouts.
SDSU, on the other hand, has scored 20 goals this season, while only allowing eight goals from opponents. The Aztecs also hold a large advantage in the shot attempts category against opponents, 186-83.
Offensively, SDSU has six players with two or more goals this season. Redshirt sophomore forward Jordan Ongaro leads the team with four goals.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Blake Hylen anchors the defense, with 28 saves on the season and three shutouts.
If the Aztecs continue to play well on the road and are able to brave the potentially wet, cloudy weather expected this weekend, they should be able to stay undefeated in the Pac-12 Conference standings and improve their national ranking.