MPSF Tournament Field Set, Host Lobos Top Seed

Mike Mota, UNLV

Oct. 29, 2012

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NO. 10 NEW MEXICO (14-3-0 Overall, 7-2-0 MPSF) has clinched the MPSF Tournament No. 1 seed with two road wins last weekend, 3-0 over Seattle U and 1-0 at San Jose State. Kyle Venter scored the game's only goal in the 33rd-minute at SJSU. The Lobos have registered five consecutive shutout victories (465 minutes), and host Houston Baptist in the regular season finale Saturday (Nov. 3), before hosting and advancing to the MPSF Semifinals.

UNLV (6-12-1 Overall, 4-5-0 MPSF) knocked off Air Force in overtime, 3-2 at home last Friday. Senior defender Mike Mota had the first two-goal game of his career, including the OT winner three minutes in. All five goals in the game were scored after halftime. Already owning a spot in the MPSF Tournament, the Rebels can be seeded as high as fourth with a win at home Friday vs. CSUB, coupled with SJSU and Denver not winning Saturday.

CSU BAKERSFIELD (8-4-5 Overall, 5-3-1 MPSF) blanked Denver, 2-0, and tied Air Force, 1-1 at home this past weekend in the home finales. National Player of the Year Candidate Gyasi Zardes assisted in each game. The Roadrunners have clinched a share of the Pacific Division Title, and takes it outright with a win or tie Friday (Nov. 2) at UNLV, or an SJSU loss or tie. CSUB can also earn the two seed with a win and an Air Force tie or loss.

AIR FORCE (8-7-3 Overall, 5-2-2 MPSF) sealed a postseason bid and will finish second in the Mountain Division. The Falcons fell in overtime at UNLV, 3-2, though managed a 1-1 tie at CSU Bakersfield, as Matt Underwood collected 13 saves. That total is the most by an MPSF goalkeeper since 1998, and third most all-time in the conference. Air Force visits Denver to close the regular season, where a win means a two seed and quarterfinal bye.

DENVER (9-5-3 Overall, 4-4-1 MPSF) split on the road last week, shutting out UNLV, 3-0. All three goals were scored in the second half, assisted twice by Zach Bolden in the 48th and 50th-minutes. The Pioneers host Air Force in the regular season finale Saturday, and will then be seeded anywhere from four through six in the MPSF Quarterfinals. Denver holds the two-way tiebreaker over San Jose State and UNLV (1-0 head-to-head games).

SAN JOSE STATE (7-8-1 Overall, 4-4-1 MPSF) bounced back from the tight loss to No. 10 New Mexico with a 2-0 blanking of Houston Baptist. Steve Sanchez had the 27th-minute game-winner for his team leading ninth goal. The Spartans host Seattle U Saturday before partaking in MPSF Quarterfinal action. San Jose State holds the two-way seeding tiebreaker over CSU Bakersfield (2-0 head-to-head games), but not Denver (0-1 head-to-head games).

SEATTLE U (3-12-1 Overall, 1-7-1 MPSF) Michael Roberts, coming off the bench, scored his first goal as a 63rd-minute game-winner last Friday to lift the Redhawks to their first MPSF victory, 2-1 at home over Houston Baptist. Marshall Kosaka and Chase Hanson assisted. Seattle U, who also lost 3-0 at home to No. 10 New Mexico Sunday, travel to San Jose State Saturday to wrap up the 2012 season.

HOUSTON BAPTIST (4-9-2 Overall, 2-5-2 MPSF) dropped a pair at Seattle U. 2-1, and San Jose State, 2-0, and has been eliminated from playoff contention. Mark Gendi assisted Zach Pierce in Seattle. The Huskies compete in their season finale at regular season champion and nationally-ranked New Mexico Saturday (Nov. 3).

MIKE MOTA MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK

UNLV senior defender Mike Mota (Las Vegas, NV/Chaparral HS) rallied the Rebels to a 3-2 victory over then first-place Air Force. Down 2-1 in the 68th minute, off a free kick, Mota fired a shot through the wall to tie the game. After another foul and free kick for UNLV in overtime, Mota again took the kick from outside the box, and again sent a blast to the back of the net for the golden goal and 3-2 overtime win for the Rebels. It was Mota's first two-goal game of his career, the second game-winner of his career, and the first golden goal of his career.¬

Also Nominated: Kyle Venter (UNM); Matt Underwood (AF); Gyasi Zardes (CSUB); Steve Sanchez (SJSU)...