Men's Soccer Ties UNLV in NCAA Tourney, Falls in PKs, 6-5

AJ Vergara scored his second goal of the year on Thursday vs. UNLV in the NCAA Tournament.
Nov. 17, 2016

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SAN DIEGO -- The No. 19/15 San Diego State men's soccer team battled UNLV to a 1-1 draw in double overtime on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in front of 1,468 fans at SDSU Sports Deck.

However, it was the visiting Rebels who advanced in the bracket after edging the Aztecs in penalty kicks, 6-5. Despite the conclusion, SDSU finished one of its most memorable seasons in program history with a 9-4-6 record, while UNLV moves to 10-11-2 on the year.

The Aztecs dominated the stat sheet in the first half, outshooting the Rebels 12-4, while owning a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks. Despite the disparity, UNLV still took a 1-0 lead into intermission courtesy of Adam Musovski, who headed in Oscar Velasquez's high arcing free kick in the 30th minute.

SDSU took seven of the first eight shots of the night, but were unable to find the back of the net. The Aztecs' best scoring opportunity occurred in the 14th minute, when senior Michael Sauers found a seam in the Rebel defense and launched a blast from 25 yards away. However, the ball struck the middle of the crossbar and Travis Nicklaw's follow-through attempt rolled left of the target.

The Aztecs also had a two chances with time winding down in the opening period. Winston Sorhaitz tried to sneak a shot just inside the right post that was deflected away by UNLV goalkeeper Enrique Adame. On the subsequent corner kick, Dallin Cutler threaded the ball to the same spot in front of the net, but Jeroen Meefout's header sailed over the bar as the clock hit zeroes.

With momentum still on their side, SDSU's tenacity finally paid off in the early moments of the second half when AJ Vergara took a pass from Sorhaitz and dialed up from long range and fired a laser into the upper left side of the goal past the outstretched arms of Adame.

That would be the final tally of the evening as the pendulum slowly began to sway towards the opposing side. Still, Aztec netminder Adam Allmaras kept things level with a pair of saves in the final 10 minutes of regulation and also came up with another stop in the first overtime, finishing with six for the game.

Neither team threatened in the second extra period as Musovski's header in the seventh minute drifted harmlessly off target, setting the stage for SDSU's first shootout since 1989.

Shortly thereafter, the two adversaries went through eight rounds of penalty kicks before Velasquez drilled home the winner to send the Rebels into the second round, where they will square off against Denver on Sunday.

For the match, SDSU recorded a season-high 18 shots and 11 corner kicks. Individually, the Aztecs were led by Daniel Sagno, who finished with four attempts, while Meefout finished with three shots of his own. In addition to Allmaras, defenders Kyle Adams, Matt Callahan and midifielder Ernest Reyes played full time on Thursday.

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