Men’s soccer ranked 21st in nation in latest Coaches Poll

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SDSU Athletics

Senior Tevinn Roux (Courtesy of SDSU Athletics)

by Justin Cox, Contributor

Heading into Pac-12 conference play undefeated, the Aztec men’s soccer team (3-0-2) was ranked No. 21 in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll. 

This is the first time the Aztecs have been nationally ranked since 2016, which is also the last time the team made an NCAA tournament appearance. 

Led by a strong defense and sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Castro, the Aztecs have posted four shutouts in their five games, leaving Castro tied for the most shutouts in the nation and a top-five mark in team goals average against, (.184) and save percentage (.944).  

The Aztecs secured shutout wins over CSU Northridge, UC Davis, and CSU Bakersfield, all Big West opponents. The ties came against No. 17 Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly. The games have been tight, as the Aztecs have only scored more than one goal once this season in their game against CSU Northridge and battled LMU to a 0-0 draw in Santa Monica. 

The most dramatic coming against UC Davis as junior forward Blake Bowen found the back of the net in the final seconds of the 89th minute. 

To make up for their lack of scoring, the Aztec’s defense has been stout as only Cal Poly has been able to crack Castro and the Aztec’s backline for the lone goal surrendered this season in their 1-1 tie. 

Head coach Ryan Hopkins commented on the team’s defense after Sunday’s game against CSU Bakersfield. 

“Our guys buy into the team defending concept,” Hopkins said. “It starts with our attackers and they have to sacrifice a lot of their attacking to get results for us, and then, of course, we have our midfielders, backs, and a fantastic goalkeeper in Jacob Castro so we’re really thrilled on that side of the ball.” 

Along with their national ranking, the Aztecs are ranked No. 2 in the Far West region, only behind Pac-12 foe Washington, who is No. 3 in the country. 

The Aztecs begin Pac-12 play this week undefeated for the first time since 2005 as they will host California and No. 23 Stanford at the SDSU Sports Deck. 

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