The San Diego State men’s soccer team left for the Bay Area on Thursday to take on Stanford and Cal for a weekend of Pacific-12 Conference play. The Aztecs hoped to return to San Diego on Sunday night with two victories in their pocket. Instead, they returned home with none.
Friday night in Palo Alto, Calif. Stanford scored three unanswered goals in the final 70 minutes of play to give the Aztecs a 4-1 defeat.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. SDSU, ranked No. 27 in the latest College Soccer News poll, played last season’s NCAA quarterfinalist, Cal, to a 1-1, double-overtime draw.
“It is pretty disappointing,” senior co-captain Daniel Steres said. “We actually played pretty well, especially on Friday, but had some mistakes on defense that led to goals and just couldn’t find the back of the net on many of our chances on offense.”
The tie gives the Aztecs a 10-5-3 record overall and a 4-4-1 record in Pac-12 play. SDSU also now owns a 3-1-1 record against teams that made last year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Aztecs outshot Cal 18-17, including a 6-3 advantage in two overtimes, but were unable to score late.
Redshirt senior midfielder Gemechu Abraham scored his first career goal as an Aztec. Redshirt sophomore midfielder John Pegg had four shots on offense to lead SDSU, while sophomore forward Miles Byass had three attempts. Redshirt senior Justin Davies, junior Ata Ozbay, and sophomore Casey Meuser each contributed two shots.
Now it is time for the Aztecs to take a step back and refocus in preparation for the last game of the regular season, a home game against nationally ranked Pac-12 champion UCLA at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Aztec seniors Abraham, Pedro Adan, Byron Boyken, Davies, and Steres will be honored in a pregame ceremony.
“UCLA is always a big game for us,” redshirt junior Chance Marden said. “We always circle it on our schedule; it’s a must-win. Also, it’s senior day and we need to send our seniors out with a win.”