Men’s Soccer falls to USD Toreros in a 3-2 defeat

Senior Midfielder Pablo Pelaez kicks the ball against a UC Irvine defender

San Diego State men’s soccer team lost 3-2 in their first game of the season to the University of San Diego on Friday night.

A USD goal in the 67th minute by Miguel Berry proved to be the difference on the SDSU sports deck during “Light the Night,” where the first 500 fans were gifted light-up bracelets. Berry finished with two goals on three shots and led his team to a victory.

Aztec goalkeeper and redshirt sophomore Harrison Skinner was tested often tonight.

“On that third goal I saw their number nine [Berry] coming down the field I thought we had a chance to foul him earlier in the midfield. He went through our defense and he was able to tuck it by me.”

Harrison Skinner

Emotions ran high as the cross-town rivals battled for San Diego bragging rights, multiple yellow cards were handed out throughout the match.

A crowd of over 1,600 people was rewarded with a seesaw match. SDSU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, due to a free kick by senior midfielder Pablo Pelaez.

“I feel disappointed [and] out of words. We usually do well against USD. It’s a tough one to swallow in front of all these amazing people that came out, but that’s soccer and we’ve got to move on from this and there is a game in two days we get to look forward to.”

Pablo Pelaez

17 minutes later, the Toreros tied the game 1-1 thanks to a Ross Meldrum goal. But only five minutes later, the Aztecs retook the lead thanks to a Tristan Weber score, making it 2-1 in the 64th minute.

In the end, the Aztecs had numerous missed scoring opportunities all throughout the game.

Aztec midfielder Keegan Kelly attempted to set teammates up throughout the night, but they did not return the favor.

“We could’ve gotten a better result, but the guys worked hard; I think we were prepared for this game. At the end of the day, we need to look in the mirror and look at ourselves and see what we need to improve on because this is back to back. We controlled the game and we can’t get the result we want.”

Pablo Pelaez

Due to missed opportunities, the Aztecs gave up two straight goals, which put them too far out of reach during the latter stages of the game.

Head coach Lev Kirshner, who is in his 20th season, pointed to the two goals made by USD’s Barry.

“We didn’t contain him [Berry], the kid picks up a ball at midfield on a dubious no call and he just runs right down the gut of our team. [He ran] 55 yards right down the middle and the second goal basically the same thing, but he only ran 35 yards so we did not just contain that well and getting ourselves isolated too often we made him look very good tonight.”

Lev Kirshner

SDSU men’s soccer team will play again at UNLV tonight at 8:00 pm.

SDSU cheer team at halftime of the SDSU vs USD game on Aug. 30, 2019.
Photo: Daniel Farr/KCR College Radio
Written by: Daniel Farr

Breven’s Blog: 2019 Summer Recap

Panoramic view of Petco Park in East Village with a sunset backdrop

What a long and eventful summer it has been for San Diego’s sports teams. Let’s run it back.

It all began with San Diego State pole vaulter Bonnie Draxler finishing her Aztec career on a high note with a silver medal at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Another Aztec made headlines the following week. Men’s Basketball player Jalen McDaniels was drafted in the second round by the Charlotte Hornets.

Former Aztec Kawhi Leonard won his second NBA championship and NBA Finals MVP with the Toronto Raptors as they beat the Golden State Warriors in six games. One month later, he joined Paul George and signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

The San Diego Padres continued to build hype with the duo of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. on the left side of the infield. Tatis Jr. impressed fans, coaches, and media personnel with his acrobatic plays both at shortstop and on the base paths. However, the Padres lost Tatis Jr. to injury last week and he might be done for the season. Padres’ fans and members of the organization liked the aggressiveness and tenacity he has had, thus far in 2019. Also, first baseman Eric Hosmer has continued to find his stroke and is hoping to finish the season strong. He is currently second in the National League among first baseman with 139 hits (as of Aug. 19).

The Padres traded away a clubhouse guy in Franmil Reyes for Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect Taylor Trammel before the July 31 trade deadline. The Padres’ fans will always love you, Franmil.  

Even Major League Baseball’s famous rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees took the field for the first game ever played in Europe. I appreciate how professional sports (i.e. MLB, NFL, NBA, etc) are expanding internationally as people are becoming more accepting of American sports.

In addition, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates brought back memories to their Little League days by playing in Williamsport, Pa.

The MLB All-Star Game took place in Cleveland and Padres’ closer Kirby Yates represented the team. Although the National League did not win, Yates had the opportunity to hang out with some friends and enjoy a game with the best players in the sport.

Back to the Aztecs, men’s basketball player Nathan Mensah needs surgery to heal an injured hand. He is expected to make a full recovery before the season begins in November. 

SDSU Football is in full swing with their first game on Aug. 31 against Weber State. They have moved to a spread offense, so the formations; however, what stays the same are the plays. The spread will help the lineman know who to block faster, especially for the running backs like Juwan Washington and Chase Jasmin. 

In the world of golf, former Aztec Xander Schauffele qualified to play in one of the sport’s most historic events, the President’s Cup. He has continued to play exceptional heading into the final tournament of the year, the PGA Tour Championship, this weekend. He finished eighth in the FedEx Cup Standings. 

Although this summer is finally coming to an end, the major sports teams did not disappoint and kept fans on their toes. It was fun and I can’t wait for what the 2019-20 school year has to offer.

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Blog: Aztec Hall of Fame Class Announced

Image of the SDSU Sports Hall of Fame

This past week, the San Diego State Athletic Department announced the five newest members of the Aztec Hall of Fame.

Let’s take a closer at these former Aztecs

First is former baseball head coach, Jim Dietz.

Dietz coached the Aztec baseball team for 31 seasons and by retirement, finished with 1,231 wins and a .620 winning percentage, good for seventh nationally among active Division I coaches in 2002. Some players Dietz coached include 1996 Golden Spikes Award winner, Travis Lee; Tony Gwynn, Bud Black, Mark Grace, and Bobby Meacham. In 1979, he guided the team to its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Second is former men’s basketball player Xavier Thames.

Thames graduated in 2014 and in his senior season, he led the team to a Mountain West regular-season conference championship and an NCAA Tournament Appearance, reaching all the way to the Sweet 16.

During the 2013-14 campaign, Thames was the Mountain West Player of the year, an AP All-American Honorable mention, an NABC First-Team All-District Team, a two-time National Player of the Week and a Bob Cousy Award Finalist

A transfer from Washington State, he played 97 games, recorded 1,232 points and 316 assists. Thames was part of three NCAA Tournament teams and in his senior season, he once had a streak of 190 minutes without turning over the ball.

Third is former track star Shanieka Thomas (Ricketts), who graduated in 2014.

Thomas was a three-time triple jump national championship, a two-time runner-up in the triple jump and a three-time United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Athlete of the Year. In the Conference, she was 2013 Mountain West Female Athlete of the Year and a nine-time MWW champion for both indoor and outdoor track. 

She currently holds the SDSU record for indoor and outdoor triple jump. 

Fourth is former women’s basketball player Jené Morris.

Morris graduated in 2010 and led SDSU to its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance at the 2010 NCAA Tournament. 

She averaged 15.8 points per game and ranks fifth on the career points list with 1,499. 

Morris became the first lady Aztec to hear her name during the WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever as the 11th pick in 2010.  In addition, she became the first Aztec player to get at least 100 steals in a season twice.   

Last is former men’s soccer goalie Tally Hall, who graduated in 2006.

Hall was a two-time All-American and a two-time first-team NSCAA All-Far West Region member. He also holds single-season records in save percentage (88.9%, which led the country in 2005) and 0.49 goals-against average. Hall was part of two NCAA Tournament teams in 2005 and in 2006.

After his time as an Aztec, he played 10 years in Major League Soccer, including eight with the Houston Dynamo and a 2011 All-Star.

The five former Aztecs will be officially inducted into greatness during Hall of Fame weekend, October 11-12.

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Blog: Tony Gwynn’s Early August Successes and Defeats

Tony Gwynn swings and hits a baseball

Early August meant a lot to Mr. Padre.

August 6 was his mother’s birthday and on that same day 26 years ago, he recorded his 2,000 career hit at Qualcomm Stadium. Six years later to the day in 1999, he would record his 3,000-hit in Montreal.

But 25 years ago, the 1994 Major League Baseball season was good and bad.

The strike ended the season (including the Montreal Expos’ franchise and Michael Jordan’s baseball career), and to add more fuel to the fire, it was the first time since 1904 that the World Series was not played. The National League, however, won the All-Star Game for the first time in six years (Gwynn scored the winning run).

In addition, the hitters did not allow the season to go into a full disappointment. For example, Gwynn had a season for the ages, as he attempted to achieve a feat that has not been accomplished since 1941 – have a .400 batting average by the final game.

The strike stopped Gwynn from accomplishing a historic feat.

August 11, 1994, was the final day of the season due to the strike and Gwynn finished six points behind a mark that has inevitably stood since San Diegan Ted Williams hit. 406 for the Boston Red Sox, 78 years ago. He missed .400 by just three hits. 

Before Gwynn passed away in 2014, the question arose: Would he have hit .400 in ’94?

With (supposedly) six weeks left in the regular season, Padres fans and those who followed Gwynn (media personnel, MLB executives, etc.) knew that nothing would stop him from achieving that feat. 

Nothing but a strike that would end the season early.  

Gwynn finished the 1994 season with a .394 batting average, 165 hits, 35 doubles, 79 runs, and (only) 19 strikeouts. He had an on-base percentage of .454 and a slugging percentage of .568. He also finished seventh in the National League MVP voting but received one of his seven Silver Sluggers that season.

The key stat that stands out, besides the batting average, is the strikeouts.

Just 19 strikeouts. Today, 19 strikeouts for a player comes within a few weeks. But Tony Gwynn was that good to put the ball in play and not go down by way of the ‘K’. 

The Hall of Famer only struck 434 times in his career and struck out three times only once during his career. Some players get to 434 strikeouts in 2.5 seasons. Never once did Gwynn strikeout to the arguably-best pitcher of his generation, Greg Maddux, which Gwynn hit .429 off him.

So the question is not just, “What if Tony Gwynn hit .400 in 1994,” but it is, “Could you imagine the season Tony Gwynn could have ended up with had the entire season been played?”

Written by: Breven Honda