Men's soccer looking to win MPSF championship and earn NCAA berth

The MPSF championship will be determined by a six-team postseason tournament at University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), November 14-17. The MPSF Championship Tournament will be seeded off the MPSF conference finish after single round-robin play. The No. 7 MPSF finisher will not qualify for championship play.
Seeding: Record: MPSF/Overall
#1 New Mexico 5-1-0/15-3-0
#2 San Jose State 5-1-0/11-8-0
#3 UNLV 4-2-0/11-7-0
#4 Sacramento State 2-3-1/5-9-4
#5 Denver 2-4-0/8-11-0
#6 Air Force 2-4-0/8-9-1
Eliminated – San Diego State 0-5-1/4-12-2

MPSF First-Round - Thursday, November 14
4:00pm MST Game 1: #3 UNLV vs. #6 Air Force
6:30pm MST Game 2: #4 Sacramento State vs. #5 Denver
Note: #1 & #2 earn first-round byes

MPSF Semifinals - Friday, November 15
4:00pm MST Game 3: #2 San Jose State vs. Winner Gm 2
6:30pm MST Game 4: #1 New Mexico vs. Winner Gm 1

MPSF Championship - Sunday, November 17
1:00pm MST Championship Match only:
Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

The Spartans (11-8-0, 5-1-0 MPSF) suffered just one loss in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches played this season. The only loss came against tournament host New Mexico in overtime. The Spartans tied Fresno State, 0-0, through four overtime periods, but lost a penalty kick tiebreaker, 3-2. The Spartans took the MPSF crown in 2000 advancing to the NCAA tournament for just the second time in nearly 25 years and are looking to make a habit of making NCAA tournament appearances. San Jose State earned a berth in 1998, two years later in 2000 and are looking to continue the two-year pattern.

Thirteen different players have a goal this season, and eight have had a multiple-goal season. Scoring leaders Randy Poggio and Tony Chang each stand at 10 points with four goals and two assists. Johnny Gonzalez and Eric Rodriguez each have seven points. Frank Mata and Andiry Budnyy are next with six points. Senior captain Frank Sanfilippo is at five with Fausto Villegas and Tomislav Jozinovich right behind with four points.

Locked in their top position last week reversing their No. 8 and last place seeding in the 2001 MPSF Championship Tournament at Fresno. Of course the Lobos went on to win the MPSF Championship and made it to the second-round of the NCAA tournament where they lost to NCAA top-seed SMU 2-0 in Dallas. Sunday UNM traveled to Las Vegas only to get shut out 2-0 and fall out of the national rankings. The Lobos still have an outstanding 15-3 record to fall back on while defending their MPSF Championship on home turf this weekend. UNM has a first-round bye and will play the winner of the #4 Sacramento State vs. #5 Denver match on Friday at 6:30pm MST.

No. 3 seed UNLV’s victory over the Lobos proved productive when combined with Sac State’s loss to San Jose State bumping up the Rebs and knocking Sac down one notch. UNLV was paced by senior forward Kelly Frederick who nailed a first-half penalty kick for the game winner in the 26th minute. The Rebs play Air Force Thursday at 4:00pm in quarterfinal action.

No. 4 seed Sacramento State came from behind to knot the score against SJSU with a David Fraser goal off his own penalty kick rebound with less than 10 minutes in regulation only see the Spartans rally with just over a minute left in the first OT period. The Hornets hope to sting Denver in the 6:30pm match Thursday.

No. 5 seed Denver pulled out a 2-1 double overtime home win over Air Force when senior Pioneer forward Nic Hartman nailed the golden goal in the 102nd minute of play. Denver will play Sac State at 6:30pm MST on Thursday.

No. 6 seed Air Force dropped the double overtime match to Denver to and will face UNLV 4:00pm MST in the first game of the tournament on Thursday... SAN DIEGO STATE lost its last game of the season 4-2 at home against Gonzaga. Aztec senior forward Tyler Tinling tallied a goal and an assist in his final collegiate match to pace SDSU.

San Jose State senior defender Frank Sanfilippo (San Diego, CA; University HS) was named MPSF Brine "Player of the Week" for the week of Oct. 18-20 after leading the Spartans to a 3-0 record last week while orchestrating a Spartan defense that allowed only two goals. San Jose State has won its last four contests and currently leads the conference with a 2-0 record.

Former Spartan All-American defender and current MLS player Ryan Suarez was one of 23 players U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has chosen in preparation for the international friendly against El Salvador on Sunday, November 17 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Suarez was a dominant fixture for the 1997-2000 Spartans and was instrumental in the team’s 20-1-1 season in 2000, the year he was named an All-American. Suarez has been playing with the Dallas Burn of the MLS for the past two seasons and was named a starter for the 2002 MLS All-Star game.

Former Spartan Isaias Bardales and current member of the MLS Champion Los Angeles Galaxy celebrated the team’s first championship with a 1-0 overtime win against the New England Revolution this past Sunday. Bardales played for the Spartans in the 1999 and 2000 seasons before joining the Dallas Burn. He signed in the off season with Los Angeles.

Gary St. Clair is in his 13th season at the helm of the Spartan men’s soccer team. St. Clair has revitalized a Spartan program that stagnated in the late 80s. As one of the only two coaches to reach the 100-win plateau in the 75 year history of the program, St. Clair entered the 2002 season with a 114-104-18 coaching record a the major college level. Six of his teams have posted a winning record, including a 20-1-1 record in 2000. His first winning record was in 1993 when the Spartans posted a 9-7-2 record. It was the first time in 10 years the program posted a winning record. The 1976 graduate of San Jose State was a goaltender for the 170 through 1973 teams. He is currently tied for the school’s career record with 18 shutouts.

The 2002 season marks the 75th anniversary of men’s soccer at San Jose State University. The school first fielded a squad in 1927 and has been going strong since then. Over the years the Spartans have enjoyed success in many areas. The school has produced 24 All-Americans, a Hermann Award winner (Mani Hernandez, 1968), 35 winning seasons, a 20-win season in 2000, 13 NCAA tournament appearances including seven consecutive from 1966-71 and many other incredible memories. The 2002 Spartans will look to add another winning season, the fifth in a row, as the team hopes to challenge for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title and another appearance in the NCAA tournament.