Men’s soccer downs Belmont, 2-1, to kick off Courtyard San Diego Central Aztec Soccer Classic

Junior+midfielder+Hampus+Bergdahl+attempts+to+kick+the+ball+around+a+Stanford+defender+during+the+Aztecs+2-0+loss+to+the+Cardinal+on+Nov.+4+at+the+SDSU+Sports+Deck.
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Men’s soccer downs Belmont, 2-1, to kick off Courtyard San Diego Central Aztec Soccer Classic

Junior midfielder Hampus Bergdahl attempts to kick the ball around a Stanford defender during the Aztecs 2-0 loss to the Cardinal on Nov. 4 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

Junior midfielder Hampus Bergdahl attempts to kick the ball around a Stanford defender during the Aztecs 2-0 loss to the Cardinal on Nov. 4 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

File photo

Junior midfielder Hampus Bergdahl attempts to kick the ball around a Stanford defender during the Aztecs 2-0 loss to the Cardinal on Nov. 4 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

File photo

File photo

Junior midfielder Hampus Bergdahl attempts to kick the ball around a Stanford defender during the Aztecs 2-0 loss to the Cardinal on Nov. 4 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

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San Diego State men’s soccer defeated Belmont 2-1 on Sept. 6 at the SDSU Sports Deck of Courtyard San Diego Central Aztec Soccer Classic.

The Aztecs earned their second victory of the regular season following their overtime win against UNLV on Sept. 2 to bring their record to 2-1.

“I was very happy with our victory tonight,” head coach Lev Kirshner said. “(Belmont has) got a heck of a team that made things difficult for us.”

Three games into the regular season, the Aztecs have pumped out a total of eight goals, which shows improvement on offense.

“Last year we were having trouble with scoring,” sophomore midfielder Arturo Chavez said. “This season, we have a great attacking team, so we’re excited to see what we can do.”

To put things into perspective, the Aztecs scored a total of 16 goals in all competitions last season.

“Goals are always good you need them to win games,” Chavez said. “However, we’re giving up too many goals, and if we want to play championship level competition, we’ve got to lock down defensively.”

Belmont took the lead in the first minute after junior midfielder Esteban Lestido made a run past the defense and fired a shot into the net.

After conceding early, SDSU sophomore goalkeeper Max Watkin racked up a career-high four saves.

“Max is a competitive guy, and his nature drives this team with confidence,” Kirshner said.

The Aztecs leveled things up in the 11th minute when senior Adam Vargas provided a cross to junior forward Tevenn Roux who deflected the ball towards senior midfielder Pablo Pelaez for the finish.

“I heard Pablo say to let the ball hit the ground, so when it did, I flicked it on and let my captain take the shot,” Roux said.

The North Carolina native tallied his third assist in a row and leads the team in assists overall.

“The victory is more important than scoring to me,” Roux said. “An assist is just as good as a goal.”

However, the Bruins refused to go down without a fight. Their counter attacks made things shaky in the closing stages of the first half, earning them three straight corner kicks.

The Aztecs had to put up with tremendous pressure but were fortunate enough to head into the locker room with an even score line.

SDSU doubled their lead in the 57th minute thanks to Pelaez, who whipped a low shot free kick in from 30 yards out.

What appeared to be a routine save turned out to be a nightmare for Bruin junior goalkeeper Nicolo Dini.

The power on the shot was strong enough to deflect off Dini’s gloves and creep the ball past the line on goal.

“We got to recover and get our minds ready for (Detroit Mercy),” Chavez said. “If we do that, we’ll come out strong and get a result like we did tonight.”

The Aztecs look to defend and repeat as Courtyard San Diego Central Aztec Soccer Classic champions when they face Detroit Mercy on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at the SDSU Sports Deck.

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