Brenes' Brace Bakes Bakersfield In 3-2 Victory

San José, Calif. – San José State stepped into conference play and promptly stepped out with an impressive 3-2 victory over visiting CSU Bakersfield on Saturday night at the Spartan Soccer Complex. 

The first-place Spartans got a boost from midfielder Nicolas Brenes as the junior tallied his first two goals of the season to help lift the club to the top of the WAC table. 

"It was a great team win," said Brenes after the victory. "We needed that to boost our confidence and that's what we want to do every match from here on out." 

After playing challenging opponents of various strength and style early in the season, the tough non-conference schedule prepared the team well for its WAC opener on Saturday. A balance between steady attacking and strong defense allowed SJSU to jump out to a 3-0 advantage early in the second half. 

"I think the key to winning any game is getting three goals ahead," joked head coach Simon Tobin. "We were able to hold on and that pleased me. We were quite comfortable for most of the match and the result is the only thing that matters."

The first half saw San José State dominate on offense, taking eight shots to just six from its opponents. The team would grab the lead in the 17th minute as Brenes found just enough space in the box, collecting a pass from Omar Lemus before flicking the ball into the back of the net. 

Back-to-back goals in quick succession early in the final 45 helped stake the Spartans to a lead that it would never relinquish. Midfielder Danny Sanchez notched his second of the season in the 49th, netting a banger from 25 yards out that looped over the goalkeeper's head into the far right corner of the net.

Six minutes later it was Brenes again, beating the keeper one-on-one from the top of the box to give the club its largest advantage of the season. 

Refusing to go quietly into the night, the Roadrunners battled but were turned away time and time again by freshman keeper David Sweeney. Sweeney would go on to make four saves (ending the night with nine total) in the match's final nine minutes to record his first victory of the season. 

"We needed that one," Tobin said. "We're into conference play now and nothing else matters except these 11 league games. We want to win each one and get back to that conference tournament." 

With the victory, the program improved to 3-1-3 in conference openers since joining the WAC and has earned a result in each of its last five league lid-lifters. 

The Spartans now have six days off before returning to the pitch on Friday to play host to Kansas City. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. at the Spartan Soccer Complex.