San Diego, California - The San Diego State men’s soccer team hosts the 2014 Courtyard Marriott San Diego Central Aztec Soccer Tournament this weekend, beginning with a matchup against No. 25 Clemson on Friday, September 5, starting at 7 p.m. PT at SDSU Sports Deck. The Aztecs conclude tournament play on Sunday, Sept. 7, when they play host to No. 19 Denver at 1 p.m. PT. Admission to each match is free, while Friday night’s contest will also be streamed live on the Mountain West Network. Live stats for both matches will also be available on GoAztecs.com.
It also will be the Alumni Family and Friends Weekend on Montezuma Road, as SDSU will host its annual alumni game on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m. PT, on the Sports Deck. The eventful weekend begins with a neutral-site matchup between No. 17 UC Irvine and No. 19 Denver on Friday at 3:30 p.m. PT, and wraps up with another neutral-site match between UCI and Clemson following the SDSU-Denver contest on Sunday.
Friday night’s contest against Clemson will be Youth Soccer Night, with a free sunglasses giveaway to the first 1,500 fans in attendance as the Aztecs “Light the Night” at Montezuma Road. Fans are encouraged to attend and “Stack the Deck” against the Tigers in an attempt to break the all-time attendance record of 2,212 at SDSU Sports Deck.
San Diego State is coming off its first victory of the season, defeating Buffalo, 1-0, at home on Sunday. Sophomore forward Forrayah Bass (Leeds, England) scored the game-winning goal in the 74th minute after gathering the ball while streaking down field, before knocking it through the left side of the net from straight on and 10 yards out. It was the first goal of the season for both Bass and the Aztecs, as the sophomore finished the contest with a game-high four shots and three shots on goal. SDSU fell to Bakersfield, 1-0, on Aug. 29.
The Aztecs have protected their home field well in recent seasons, as the Men of Montezuma are an impressive 13-5-2 in non-conference home matches since the beginning of the 2010 season. In addition, San Diego State is 4-3-1 against ranked non-conference opponents since the start of the 2009 campaign, including a decisive victory over No. 16 University of San Diego last season.
San Diego State had nine freshmen log their first minutes on the collegiate level in two matches over the weekend, while sophomore transfers Bass, Pablo Vasquez (Madrid, Spain), Mark Revell (San Diego, Calif.) and Matt Callahan (Newton, Mass.) each made their first appearance in an Aztec uniform. Senior defender and team captain Evyn Hewett (La Palma, Calif.) played all 180 minutes in the Aztecs’ fist two matches of the season, while junior defender Casey Phillips (Tempe, Ariz.) started both contests and is second on the team among position players with 165 minutes played. Redshirt freshman Adam Allmaras (Carlsbad, Calif.) played all 180 minutes in the net over the weekend, recording two saves and allowing just one goal.
Through two matches, the Aztecs have outshot opponents 22-15, including a dominant 17-5 advantage in the second half. San Diego State has now won four-straight matches when scoring first and four-consecutive matches when leading at any point in a contest. In addition, the Aztecs have won their last three matches when either ahead or tied at halftime, and have won two-straight when scoring last in a match.
There is a long history between San Diego State and Clemson, as the two teams played in the 1987 National Championship match, which Clemson won on its home field, 2-0. SDSU is 1-1 all-time against Clemson, with the most recent matchup being an Aztecs’ 1-0 overtime road victory in 2012. In the Lev Kirshner era (Since 2000), SDSU is 1-2 against teams currently in the ACC.
SDSU is 2-5-1 all-time against Denver after suffering an overtime road loss to the Pioneers, 2-1, last season. The last time the Aztecs faced a ranked Denver team was in 2001, when SDSU topped No. 25 DU, 2-0. San Diego State is 3-6-1 all-time against current members of the Summitt League, as the Aztecs are also 1-1 all-time against Oral Roberts.
No. 25 Clemson
The Tigers enter Friday night’s match 1-1 overall after suffering an overtime road loss to rival South Carolina, 2-1, on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Clemson qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2013 before losing in the first round to Elon in penalty kicks. Senior Ara Amirkhanian and sophomore Thales Moreno have each recorded a goal this season for the Tigers, while junior T.J. Casner has an assist. Clemson also returns junior defender Kyle Fisher, who was a third-team all-ACC selection a season ago. The Tigers are coached by Mike Noonan, who is in his fourth season at the helm. He was previously the head coach at Brown for 15 seasons, after being a four-year starter and two-time first-team All-American at Middlebury College in Vermont.
No. 19 Denver
The Pioneers enter Friday’s match against No. 17 UC Irvine with a 2-0 record after defeating CSU Northridge, 2-1, and Navy in overtime, 2-1, over the weekend. Sophomore Eric Kronenberg leads Denver with two goals, while senior Teddy Mullin and junior Karsten Hanlin have each recorded one apiece. The Pioneers finished 13-3-4 overall, breaking a school-record for wins, and won the Summitt League championship in its first year in the conference in 2013, before falling to Louisville in penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Denver is led by Bobby Muuss, who is in his eighth season as head coach after winning SL Coach of the Year last season. He was previously the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Wake Forest after winning a Division II National Championship with Southern Connecticut State as a player.