Men's Soccer Takes Win Streak Into Conference Play

The San Jose State University men's soccer team takes a three-match winning and four-match unbeaten streak into the start of the 2009 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule this weekend. The Spartans close a season-long three-game homestand beginning with defending first-time MPSF champion University of Denver (3-5-2) on Friday night, October 16. Kick-off under the lights inside Spartan Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m. The Spartans, now 5-6-1 overall, then play host to the United States Air Force Academy (5-3-1) in another league contest on Sunday afternoon, October 18, beginning at 1:00 p.m. San Jose State plays four of its last seven regular-season games at home inside Spartan Stadium, where it is an undefeated 3-0-1 this year and 7-0-1 over its last eight dating back to a 3-2 overtime loss to Denver last October 17. The Spartans are 6-3 in MPSF openers this decade, including a perfect 4-0 in San Jose.

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LIVE AUDIO will provide free on-line audio coverage, live from Spartan Stadium, for five matches. The home draw with Santa Clara on Sunday, September 27, marked the premiere. During the remainder of the 2009 men's soccer season, on-line audio broadcasts will be available for key Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches with defending champion Denver (10/16), Air Force (10/18) and New Mexico (11/1). Former KSJS (90.5 FM) sports director and current Spartan Athletics sports information assistant Shawn Murphy calls the play-by-play. Air time is slated for 15 minutes prior to each kick-off. Please click here to access the broadcasts.

Live stats are available for all San Jose State home soccer matches, courtesy of JumpTV and NeuLion, at Just click on Live Stats under Live from the top menu bar on the front page. Fans can also click on Schedule/Results from the men's soccer home page and access the live stats.

SAN JOSE STATE (5-6-1, 0-0 MPSF) vs. DENVER (3-5-2, 0-0 MPSF)
Denver, which broke a four-year run by New Mexico atop the conference with its first MPSF title in 2008, has had its season almost mirror that of the Spartans' thus far. DU lost its first two matches of 2009, away from home to formidable Atlantic Coast Conference opponents NC State and Duke, then produced a five-match unbeaten streak, prior to its current three-game skid. The Pioneers are coming off a 2-1 home loss last Saturday, October 10, to Missouri-Kansas City, which was beaten by the Spartans' Sunday opponent, Air Force, 6-3, in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday, October 12. DU is 1-4-1 away from Denver.

DU lost 2008 MPSF Newcomer of the Year Sam Garza early in the season to injury. The team is being led offensively by freshman forward Alex Tarnoczi, who has six goals and one assist for 13 total points. Sophomore midfielder Jarod Stigall, who scored twice inside Spartan Stadium against San Jose State a year ago on October 17, including the overtime winner, has six points from two goals and two assists. Junior Joe Willis (1.46 GAA, 44 saves, two shutouts) has started all 10 matches in the Pioneer net.

This decade, San Jose State holds an 8-7-1 series edge, with the teams even at 4-4 in San Jose. Denver had won five straight, however, including three in a row in overtime, prior to the 3-3 double-overtime draw in Denver, Colo., in the last meeting on October 31, 2008. Of the 15 most-recent match-ups before the tie, nine have been one-goal affairs, including six overtime decisions. The Spartans last beat DU in Denver, 2-1 in overtime, on October 30, 2005. Their last series win in San Jose came one week before that, 3-1.

Bobby Muuss, the 2007 and 2008 MPSF Coach of the Year, is 23-16-8 in his third campaign as the Denver head coach. In 2008, he led the Pioneers to their first NCAA post-season berth since 1970.

SAN JOSE STATE (5-6-1, 0-0 MPSF) vs. AIR FORCE (5-3-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Air Force has won back-to-back games for the second time this season. The Falcons previously had a four-match unbeaten streak earlier in the year. They, like the Spartans, were at the HBU Classic in Houston, Texas, blanking Howard, 4-0, on Friday, October 2, before their second match with host Houston Baptist was cancelled two days later due to poor field conditions. Air Force knocked off Missouri-Kansas City, 6-3, at home on Monday, October 12, getting two goals from senior forward Josh Rhynard. The Falcons open the MPSF slate at Sacramento State on Friday, October 16, before paying Spartan Stadium a visit.

Rhynard leads the team with nine points from three goals and three assists. Steven Noller, himself a senior forward, and sophomore forward Garrett Getschow, also have three scores apiece. Kevin Rosser, a senior midfielder out of San Jose's Bellarmine College Prep and former teammate there of current Spartan senior Colby Moore, has six points from one goal and a team-best four assists. Air Force has alternated in the net between senior Jim Gullo (1.12 GAA, 23 saves, two shutouts) and freshman Mike Mauro (1.67 GAA, 15 saves, one shutout). The Falcons are 2-3 this season away from home.

Since the beginning of the 2000 season, the series between these teams is 10-4-1 in favor of the Spartans, including 5-2-1 in San Jose. The Spartans swept last year's meetings, winning each by the identical score of 1-0, both times on Nick Cukar strikes. Nine meetings this decade, excluding a 1-1 tie in 2001, have been decided by one goal, with four overtime decisions and six by the score of 1-0.

Doug Hill is in his third season in charge of the men's soccer program at Air Force.

In a rare non-conference meeting between area and conference rivals, San Jose State came from behind in the second half to top visiting Sacramento State here on Thursday night, October 8, by the final score of 2-1. The Hornets opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, with the Spartans wasting little time in answering, as Oscar Yniguez converted a penalty kick less than two minutes later after Colby Moore was cut down in the penalty box. It was a third goal this season for the sophomore midfielder, all coming from dead-ball situations. Senior standout Nick Cukar eventually found the winner, heading a left-sided Ricky Dorrego corner kick into the far netting in the 70th minute. It was his first game-winner of 2009 and 11th of his career, among his 19 total goals. He now leads the team with four on the year.

San Jose State has a season-long and current league-best three-match win streak heading into this weekend's opening games in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Spartans are unbeaten over their last four in all, going 3-0-1 during this stretch, with three of the four results coming in shutout fashion. The Spartans ended the 2008 season on a six-game unbeaten run, with five victories and a road draw.

The Spartans also still maintain an eight-match home unbeaten streak since late in the 2008 season, going 7-0-1 and out-scoring opponents, 19-4, during that stretch. They are 3-0-1 at Spartan Stadium in 2009, after concluding the 2008 campaign with home wins over MPSF foes Air Force, UNLV, New Mexico and Sacramento State. The Spartans, who finished an impressive 7-1-2 in San Jose in 2008, picked up right where they left off in 2009, with a 4-1 home triumph over then-No. 24 UC Davis on Opening Night on September 1. A 5-0 demolition of Notre Dame de Namur (9/16), a scoreless draw with Santa Clara (9/27), and a 2-1 win over Sacramento State (10/8) have since followed.

San Jose State is 6-3 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation openers this decade, including a perfect 4-0 at home. The Spartans twice have begun the league slate against Denver, as they do this Friday night, October 16. They topped the Pioneers, 1-0 in overtime, in San Jose on October 18, 2002, and dropped a 3-1 decision in Denver, Colo., on October 1, 2004.

After wrapping up this season-long three-match homestand over the weekend, San Jose State goes back on the road the following week, to face two first-year league members. The Spartans play at Cal State Bakersfield on Friday night, October 23, at 7:00 p.m., and at Seattle University on Sunday afternoon, October 25, at 1:00 p.m. The Spartans beat both teams in non-conference contests a year ago.