The Anteaters could be preoccupied by the absence of redshirt freshman goalie Pat Barton, who did not make the trip after spraining his ankle during warmups for the Brown game, Sept. 23. Barton opened the season with three straight shutouts and five straight wins. Next came a 1-0 double-overtime loss to Loyola of Chicago and a 2-2 tie with Brown. Both of those teams, as well as San Diego State, which the ’Eaters battled to a scoreless tie Saturday, are teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last season.
“Those were [three] teams with a little more confidence than the teams we played earlier,” Kuntz said.
Helping bolster Kuntz’s confidence has been the play of junior midfielder Matt Murphy, who leads the team with 11 points (five goals and one assist). Murphy, the Big West Midfielder of the Year last season and a third-team preseason All-American this year, had double the points of the two next most productive teammates, freshmen Amani Walker and Spencer Thompson. Murphy had 10 goals and five assists in 2006.