SDSU men’s soccer heads to Ohio to take on Wright State

by Jocelyn Moran, Staff Writer

After falling to UC Berkeley 4-3 and No. 3/2 Stanford University 3-1 in the Bay Area last weekend, San Diego State men’s soccer will take a break from the Pac-12 to visit Wright State on Halloween this Saturday.

The matches against Cal and Stanford featured poor defense and low energy from SDSU in the first half.

However, the Aztecs managed to turn both games around on defense and allow just one goal in the second half.

“We’ve got to come out with the same energy offensively,” head coach Lev Kirshner said. “We’ve been a little bit unorganized in the backline and we’re not closing spaces well. We change that around in the second half, and it’s quite evident in the success we have when we do the proper things.”

Keeping the backline tight will be essential for SDSU in its next match in order to avoid early goals.

The Aztecs are now 1-6-0 in Pac-12 play and 6-7-2 overall. However, they have an impressive 54-27-13 record against nonconference teams since joining the Pac-12 in 2005.

SDSU lost 3-2 against Wright State in 2013 and then came back and beat them 3-2 in 2014. Both games were played at the Sports Deck.

This season, the Raiders sit third in the Horizon League standings with a 4-3-1 conference record and a 9-5-1 overall record.

SDSU will need to dominate offensively as Wright State averages .93 goals against and 1.67 goals scored per game.

“It is a matter of us moving the ball quickly, having the courage to get to the box and taking the shot and clinically taking care of our runs,” Kirshner said.

The Aztecs have proven success when they score early. They have scored the first goal in all six of the matches they have won in the season.

SDSU  is slightly behind Wright State with a 1.4 goals-scored-per-game average. However, the Aztecs have one of the most scattered offenses in the Pac-12 with 10 different players scoring so far.

They are tied with UCLA and one behind Cal for first in the conference in that category.

Redshirt-junior defender Travis Nicklaw’s impressive goal against Cal last Friday from 25 yards out ended up first on the list of the Pac-12 Network’s #12BestMoments of the Week for Oct. 19-25.

Redshirt-senior forward Rene Reyes continues to be a threat offensively, with five goals and 30 shots in the season.

Sophomore forward Jeroen Meefout is tied with Reyes with 30 shots and has been able to step up in the last couple of matches. He scored SDSU’s only goal against Stanford on Monday and provided an assist against Cal on Oct. 16.

SDSU’s biggest threat Saturday will be Wright State freshman midfielder Jackson Dietrich, who is tied for the team lead in scoring with 12 points from three goals and six assists. He was also named the No. 35 best freshman player in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.

Wright State junior forwards Eric Lynch and Peguy Ngatcha have also been impressive, with five goals this season.

Both the Aztecs and the Raiders will both look to bounce back after dropping heartbreaking matches.

SDSU fell to Cal in double overtime last Friday after a vigorous attempt to tie in the second half. Wright State fell to Bowling Green State on Tuesday after leading with 16 minutes left in the game.

“We expect to win no matter who we’re playing against,” Kirshner said. “We have the same expectations whether it’s a conference or a nonconference team.”