The San Diego State Men’s Soccer team created waves this Friday when the Aztecs (2-0-1) defeated No. 1 ranked University of Akron by a score of 1-0. SDSU senior defender Travis Nicklaw scored the lone goal in the 61st minute from the penalty spot after midfielder Thom Van dem Burg was brought down in the box while teasing the Zips defenders with his mazy dribbling skills.
Longstanding Aztec head coach Lev Kirshner summed up the feeling after the match as, “Ecstatic. The boys earned every piece of this grass tonight to get that victory. They did so well, I’m so proud of their effort.”
This is the first time that a team led by Kirshner, currently in his 17th year as head coach at State, has defeated a No. 1 ranked opponent. The last three attempts at such a task resulted in narrow single-goal losses.
The victory against Akron, while competitive, was well-earned. SDSU could have been up at the halftime interval, having hit the post twice in the opening period. The Aztecs held the Zips (2-1) to just six shots all game (compared to the 42 registered by the Zips in their first two matches), and goalkeeper Adam Allmaras extended his clean sheet run to 277 minutes.
“This isn’t a fluke,” Kirshner said. “This is a very good (SDSU) team that has bought into the Aztecs culture that we’ve fought really hard to regain. Akron is a very good team, and so are we.”
Late in the match the Aztecs began looking to kill the game by bleeding the clock. Tempers flared when Akron’s Victor Souto was sent off for flailing a fist at Jeroen Meerfout as the SDSU player held the ball in the corner of the field, bleeding away the clock.
Kirshner had previously spoken about his happiness with his team this season, and despite the injuries to and unavailability of key players, the Aztecs are off to a promising start to the 2016 season.
“We (will) get on to the next one, but we’re going to enjoy this one tonight.”