SAN DIEGO -
The San Diego State men's soccer team defeated Houston Baptist, 3-2, in front of a raucous SDSU Sports Deck-record 2,212 fans Friday night. The game, which was the program's first under the lights at Montezuma Road, marked the Aztecs' home opener and the win upped their record to 1-1-1. The Huskies, meanwhile, drop to 2-2.
SDSU wasted no time as it scored in the third minute when Jordan Ongaro scored his second of the season. The sequence started when Evyn Hewett came streaking down the left-center part of the field and found Aztec captain Ata Ozbay in the attacking third. The San Diego State senior then sent a cross into the box where Ongaro was waiting and the junior knocked it in on the right side.
The game went back and forth for the next 37-plus minutes with the Aztecs dictating the pace. SDSU tacked on another goal less than five minutes before intermission as Tyler Smith scored his first of the season in the 41st minute. Robbie Freise started the scoring play by finding Jose Altamirano. Shortly thereafter, the San Diego native, Altamirano, connected with Smith, who headed the ball into the upper left corner as the home-standing Aztecs entered the half ahead, 2-0.
The first 13 minutes of the second half were scoreless until Houston Baptist cut its deficit in half when Kristopher Tyrpak found the back of the net. Kyle Herbison passed it to Tyrpak, who sent a laser that ultimately hit the post and ricocheted across the goal line.
Despite losing the shutout, San Diego State went the other way and got the goal back in the 62nd minute. Blake Wise sent a cross that went from left to right and Kody Duff punched it in from four yards out on the right side to give the Aztecs its original two-goal cushion back.
Later in the 75th minute, HBU got within one goal of leveling the score when Christian Cruz found an opening in the lower right corner. Cruz's second of the season was assisted by Zach Pierce.
With more than 15 minutes left in regulation, the Aztecs' defense tightened up and continued the offensive pressure on Husky goalkeeper Kevin Suarez, who entered the game in the 69th minute. Following the HBU goal, San Diego State did not allow another shot or allow the Huskies a corner-kick opportunity. The Aztecs, however, kept the ball in the attacking third and ultimately, earned their first victory of 2012.
SDSU outshot Houston Baptist, 16-7, and held an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. Duff led all players with four shots overall and three on goal. Wise and Smith, meanwhile, had three shots apiece with Smith putting two on net.
Tim Peitsch played all 90 minutes in his first start of the season and finished with one save. The backline of Hewett, Robbie Freise, Travis Nicklaw and Tyrone Martin also played the full 90 minutes in front of Peitsch.
At halftime of this special night, the University honored the 1987 San Diego State team that advanced to the NCAA title game. The 25-year reunion brought out nine members of that squad, including World Cup participant Eric Wynalda and head coach Chuck Clegg.
The win and halftime ceremony took place in front of a facility record crowd that included more than 50 men's soccer alumni, faculty, staff, friends, family, Aztec sports team, the Marching Aztecs and the men's soccer student support group, the Aztec Army powered by The Show.
San Diego State returns to the pitch on Saturday when the annual alumni game gets underway at 11 a.m. PT at Montezuma Road. The Aztecs' next regular season game will be Sunday at 1 p.m., when Ohio State visits SDSU Sports Deck as part of the Courtyard Marriott San Diego Central Soccer Tournament. Following the OSU-SDSU game, USD and Houston Baptist will take the field at 5 p.m. PT.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Tyrone Martin is the Man of the Match after earning the start and playing the full 90 minutes of a very physical game. The sophomore routinely thwarted multiple Houston Baptist attacks and teamed with his backline teammates from preventing the Huskies from getting easy offensive looks. Martin was the anchor of a defense that did not allow HBU to attempt a shot in the final 15:06 with SDSU holding a one-goal lead.