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: Reflecting on the Life of Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn swinging a bat

Sunday was not just Father’s Day for Tony Gwynn Jr. That day marked five years since the passing of his Dad, Anthony Keith Gwynn, a legend in San Diego.

Gwynn came to SDSU on an unpredictable basketball scholarship, but once his basketball coach let him play baseball, he would be lights out both on the hardwood and on the diamond. The Long Beach native was a star point guard and still hold the records for most assists in a season (221), assists per game (8.2) and in a career (590). In Gwynn’s final game as an Aztec basketball player, he would have a career game, posting 16 points and 16 assists against New Mexico in 1981.

Although he came to SDSU as a basketball player at Montezuma Mesa, he still wanted to contribute to the Aztec baseball team. When he got the OK to play baseball from former SDSU basketball head coach Tim Vezie in his sophomore year, he became a two-time All-American. He would go on to play with teammates that would go on to play or partake some role in Major League Baseball (MLB), including MLB umpire Kerwin Danley (Gwynn’s roommate at SDSU), former pitcher and Colorado Rockies Manager Bud Black, former player and coach Bobby Meacham, and former player and two-time World Series Champion Al Newman. Gwynn received Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors in both basketball and baseball, making him the only athlete in WAC history to accomplish that feat.

Before professional sports were a televised event, Gwynn was able to accomplish things that only few people have ever achieved.

In June of 1981, Gwynn would get drafted by the then-San Diego Clippers (now Los Angeles Clippers) and the San Diego Padres on the same day. Gwynn would choose to stay in San Diego and play for the Padres. He would make his debut one year later in July of 1982 and from that moment on, he would wear the brown and gold, the blue and orange and the pinstripes up until his final season in 2001.

For 20 seasons, Gwynn was known for his hitting, but during his first slump he started a trend – video. In 1983, he was in a slump and asked his wife to get a camera to film his at-bats. From then on, he would never have a slump like what he went through and it was the beginning of video in the game of baseball. With Gwynn initiating the aspect of film in the sport (in terms of looking back and studying the video), people would call him “Captain Video.” Gwynn would finish his 1983 season with a batting average .309 and for the next 18 years of his career, he would never hit below .300. In 1984, it was a great year for the Padres and Gwynn himself. He would go to his first All-Star Game, win his first batting title and go to his first World Series.

As Gwynn would continue to go to All-Star Games, he would also win batting titles, Silver Sluggers and receive Gold Gloves.

When the 1990s came around, he would continue to get better by talking to retired players, such as Hall of Famers Joe Morgan and Ted Williams. After his conversations with both of them, his best year were on the horizon. From 1994 to 1997, he led the National League in hits three times, won four batting titles, went to four All-Star games and only struck out 79 times in those four years. And in those four years, he had a slash line of .371 (batting average)/.415 (on base percentage)/.511 (slugging percentage), an ideal spot for hitters, the iconic .300/.400/.500 line. His batting average would also include getting a chance at hitting .400 in 1994, the closest anyone has accomplished that feat since Williams hit .406 in 1941. Gwynn would finish with a .394 batting average in a shortened-season due to a strike.

In 1998, Gwynn and Padres would have another magical run in the postseason, like what they through in 1984.

They would win 98 games and the division, beat future Hall of Famers like Randy Johnson from the Houston Astros, who won 102 games in the NL Division Series. Then, they outlasted the Hall of Fame trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz from the Atlanta Braves, who won 106 games to get to the World Series and face a New York Yankees team that won 114 games during the regular season. At the end of the 2001 season, Gwynn would call it a career as he would finish with a .338 lifetime batting average, record 3,141 hits, go to 15 All-Star games, win five Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and eight batting titles. Another thing he also won was respect; respect from players, coaches, fans and the media from around Major League Baseball because of the humbleness and person that he was, more than a baseball player.

Gwynn’s favorite memory came from the postseason and that was hitting a home run at (old) Yankee Stadium in Game One of the World Series. He cared about his family; he wanted to stay in America’s Finest City and not be traded or take a new contract in a different city. He spent his career in one town for an entire career, was a part of two World Series teams and will forever known as “Mr. Padre.” After Gwynn finished his baseball career, he would continue being on the field by coming back to Montezuma Mesa to be the head coach of the Aztec baseball team beginning in 2002.

In 2007, he would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. by getting 97.6% of the ballot.

Gwynn will forever be known as “Mr. Padre” and an Aztec For Life. Ever since he came to San Diego in 1977, he never wanted to leave the city and the fans never wanted him to leave. It was the bond that he was able to create with players, coaches, fans and the media that made him stand out. June 16 has been a day to never forget Tony Gwynn for Padre fans, Aztec fans, and MLB fans that admired him.

Written by: Breven Honda