Men's Soccer Opens With UC Davis Tuesday Night

The San Jose State University men's soccer team hosts the Aggies of the University of California, Davis, in the 2009 season opener for both programs this Tuesday night, September 1. Kick-off on the new FieldTurf inside Spartan Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.

The Spartans are coming off a 2008 campaign in which they finished 9-5-4 overall and 5-4-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. San Jose State enters the new season on a four-match win streak dating back to the end of its six-game unbeaten run of 5-0-1, all against league foes, to close 2008. UC Davis was an NCAA Division I Championship participant in each of the past two years, since reclassifying up from Division II. The Aggies went 13-5-4 last  season, and are members of the Big West Conference.

vs. UC DAVIS (0-0, 0-0 BWC)

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SAN JOSE STATE (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) vs. UC DAVIS (0-0, 0-0 BWC)
UC Davis, like San Jose State, had only one exhibition tune-up ahead of its season opener. The Aggies tied former California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) foe Chico State, 1-1, at home on Sunday, August 23, finding an equalizing own goal in the 87th minute after the Wildcats had earned a penalty-kick goal in the first half.

The Aggies, ranked No. 29 nationally at the time, were 2-0 winners at home over the Spartans a year ago on September 14. UCD has lost 73 of that team's 101 total offensive points, however, namely forward Quincy Amarikwa, currently with the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. Sule Anibaba and Dylan Curtis are also gone. Anibaba and Amarikwa accounted for the two UCD goals in last year's win over San Jose State, with Curtis assisting on both scores. Junior goalkeeper Ryan McCowan, who posted eight shutouts a year ago while leading the Big West in goals-against-average at 0.87, is back, as are Paul Marcoux and Chris Beville. They are the only three starters among 10 total returners.

UC Davis is led by Dwayne Shaffer, the 2007 Big West Conference Coach of the Year who is now in his 13th year in charge of the Aggies, with a career overall record of 129-84-23.

Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year candidate Nick Cukar is back as San Jose State's top offensive threat in 2009. As a junior left-sided midfielder in 2008, the native of Millbrae, Calif., led the Spartans with 18 total points from nine goals, an incredible seven of them game-winners in his team's nine triumphs. Cukar was a second-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas All-Far West Region and first-team All-MPSF selection.

In addition to Cukar, 2008 second-team All-MPSF striker Colby Moore returns for his fourth and final year after pacing the league with eight assists as a junior. Josh Boemecke, a junior holding central midfielder now in his second year as a Spartan following a transfer from Saint Louis University, garnered All-MPSF honorable mention in 2008.

Two other seniors, Oscar Monjaras and Brian McGuire, as well as junior right-sided midfielder Ricky Dorrego, will also have a large hand in San Jose State's fortunes on the field in 2009.

Following Tuesday night's opener with UC Davis, the Spartans will travel to Corvallis, Ore., this Thursday, September 3, for their first road action of 2009, at the OSU/Nike Challenge, hosted by Oregon State University. The Spartans will face the host Beavers at Paul Lorenz Field beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 4, followed by Houston Baptist University on Sunday afternoon, September 6, at 11:00 a.m. The latter contest will mark the first of two meetings with the HBU Huskies in 2009.

San Jose State surrendered an early goal but stormed back to take a 5-1 decision over Cal State Monterey Bay in its only exhibition tune-up ahead of the 2009 campaign, last Friday, August 28, at Spartan Stadium. Nick Cukar scored each of the first two goals, in the eighth and 23rd minutes, to overturn a fifth-minute opener by the visitors. Robert Jackson, Steven Sanchez and Oscar Yniguez rounded out the scoring, with Jackson and Sanchez finding the back of the net within 16 seconds of each other in the 39th minute. Sanchez, a freshman, also assisted on the final tally. Colby Moore assisted on the opener, while Eric Angell and Ricky Dorrego were each in on what proved to be the game-winner by Cukar.

Tyler Newman and Jonathan Lester played 45 minutes apiece in goal, with neither sophomore having to make a save. In all, eight players who were not with the Spartans last fall, appeared in the match.

San Jose State takes a four-match win streak and six-match unbeaten run, all against conference foes, into its 2009 season opener against UC Davis on Tuesday, September 1. The Spartans concluded the 2008 campaign on a tear following four straight one-goal losses (two in overtime) to begin the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation slate. The streak included wins at Air Force and at home over UNLV, New Mexico and Sacramento State after a 1-0 defeat of Air Force and a 3-3 tie at first-time MPSF champion Denver.

For the San Jose State University soccer programs throughout the 2009 season, cost of admission for matches inside Spartan Stadium is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for kids aged 12 and under, $1.00 for kids in soccer jerseys, and free for students with a valid Tower ID card. Groups of 20 or more receive a discounted rate. Gates open one hour prior to kick-off.