SEATTLE- Seattle University men’s soccer's season came to an end Wednesday, as San Jose State rallied to advance on penalty kicks in the first round of the 2018 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Wednesday night. Noe Meza, Kees Westra, and Connor Noblat scored in the win at Championship Field.
”Credit to San Jose State for not quitting,” said Coach Pete Fewing. “One of the great things about sports is the lessons it teaches. The wins feel great and these losses really cut deep.”
SU (13-6-1) got out to a 3-0 early in the second half, but the Spartans answered with three goals in the final 16 minutes of regulation, forcing overtime. Neither team found a winner in OT, setting up penalty kicks to determine who would advance.
Josh Adachi made a save in penalties and Meza, Anthony Ayala, Hal Uderitz, Cody Buchanan, and Robbie Landeros each converted as the session moved to the eighth round. SJSU made a stop on the ensuing shot and then converted its chance, ending a wild night at Championship Field.
In the first half, SU was able to get out and play its preferred free-flowing style. Sergio Rivas used his terrific dribbling and passing skills to set up his teammates all over the field.
In the 19th minute, Hamish Ritchie sent in a cross from the offensive left side. The ball found Meza, who pounded a shot off the SJSU goalkeeper that crossed the goal line for a 1-0 advantage.
The hosts continued to assert their will on the game, challenging the Spartans’ back line for the majority of the frame. In the 36th minute, SU earned a corner kick. Rivas put in a ball to the middle of the box, where Westra nodded it down and into the back of the net on the right side for a 2-0 margin. Westra became the 13th different Redhawk to score a goal in 2018.
Seattle U came out of halftime with a similar mindset and quickly cashed in. Rivas found a dashing Cody Gibson, who carried the ball forward and then crossed in to Noblat, who touched in a third goal to give the home side more breathing room in the 47th minute.
SJSU rallied, however, scoring twice in 44 seconds to set up the dramatic finish.
Earlier Wednesday, UTRGV beat UNLV, 4-1, to secure its spot in the semifinals. Grand Canyon scored in overtime to take out Utah Valley, 1-0, and move on to a semifinal date with top-seeded Air Force on Friday.