Sweeney Shutout Sends Spartans To 3-0 Victory

San José, Calif. – A trio of goals and the team's second shutout of the season led San José State to a huge 3-0 victory over second-place Utah Valley on Friday at the Spartan Soccer Complex. 

The Spartans have enjoyed one of the best home field advantages in the conference this season, outscoring their opponents 14-5 in WAC home games. 

"That was everything we're all about," said head coach Simon Tobin after the victory. "We kept the tempo high and played together as a club all night."

The pretty play began pretty quickly as senior Jeff Dukes staked his side to an early advantage in the match's 11th minute. 

Playing in his penultimate home game as a Spartan, the defender was able to sneak behind the Wolverine defense and head home a beautiful ball played into the box by sophomore Finlay Wood. The header marked Dukes' first goal of the season and the second of his collegiate career. 

The next 60-plus minutes were fraught with tension as freshman goalkeeper David Sweeney was able to save shot after shot to preserve his team's slim lead. 

It was the club's offense that picked him up in the latter stages of the match as forward Rodolfo Castro scored two goals in as many minutes to put the match on ice. 
Castro's first came on a bullet off a free kick taken from just outside the box, curling over the wall and past the keeper into the right corner of the net. He then gave SJSU some more insurance two minutes later, powering home a perfect pass from defender Omar Lemus for his team-high eighth goal on the 2019 campaign. 

Castro's seven goals and 16 points in conference play currently leads the WAC in both categories. 

Following the flurry of goals, Sweeney would end the night on a high note by preserving his shutout with a penalty kick save at the death. The freshman ended the evening with 11 saves while facing 18 shots from the visitors. 

"I just told my defense they need to be big and compete out there," Sweeney said when asked about his play. "They did their job and it made my job pretty easy." 

San José State's offense finished the match with six of its eight shots being put on frame. Castro and Wood ended up leading the team with three shots a piece. 

The team is now back to .500 in league play and sits in a tie for fifth place on the WAC table heading into its final four games before the conference tournament. It has now tallied a pair of home shutouts in conference play this season, the program's most since the 2015 campaign.

The Spartans have just one day off before returning to the pitch on Sunday to play host to Air Force. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. in what will be the team's final regular season home match this season.