Men's Soccer Hosts MPSF Foes Denver, Air Force

THIS WEEK - SPARTANS RETURN HOME TO FACE DENVER, AIR FORCE
The San Jose State University men’s soccer team returns home this week for two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches that are critical to their post-season aspirations. The Spartans are 4-4-3 overall and are still searching for their first league win or point at 0-3 in MPSF play.

First up this weekend is Denver University (5-5, 3-0) on Friday night, October 17, with kick-off set for 7:00 p.m. inside Spartan Stadium. The game, the Spartans’ first at home in 26 days since a 2-1 win over Seattle back on September 21, will match up the MPSF’s only perfect team, with the Pioneers at 3-0, against the league’s only winless side. On Sunday afternoon, October 19, San Jose State welcomes Air Force (3-8, 1-2) into Spartan Stadium for a 1:00 p.m. start.

San Jose State is coming off a season-long five-match road stretch that saw it go 1-3-1, as the Spartans dropped consecutive one-goal decisions to open the conference slate after the road series had started off promisingly at 1-0-1 at rival Santa Clara and Cal State Bakersfield.

Last weekend, San Jose State lost at four-time defending conference champion New Mexico, 1-0, on a goal less than two minutes into overtime, and at UNLV, 2-1, on a score with just over one minute left in regulation. The Spartans had previously allowed a 77th-minute goal in a 1-0 defeat at Sacramento State in their MPSF opener back on Sunday, October 5.

San Jose State enters the weekend as the only remaining team in the MPSF that has gone undefeated at home (3-0-2). Denver, which is receiving votes in the latest NSCAA/adidas Far West region poll, is 1-4 away from home, while Air Force is 2-4.

After this weekend, San Jose State will take a week off and resume MPSF action at Denver Denver and Air Force on Friday, October 31, and Sunday, November 2. The team will then host UNLV on Friday, November 7, on Spartan Field, and New Mexico on Sunday afternoon, November 9, inside Spartan Stadium.

GAME #12
SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY (4-4-3, 0-3 MPSF)
vs. DENVER UNIVERSITY (5-5, 3-0 MPSF)
SPARTAN STADIUM, SAN JOSE, CALIF.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 7:00 P.M.

GAME #13
SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY (4-4-3, 0-3 MPSF)
vs. AIR FORCE ACADEMY (3-8, 1-2 MPSF)
SPARTAN STADIUM, SAN JOSE, CALIF.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1:00 P.M.


LIVE STATS
Live stats are available free of charge for all San Jose State men’s and women’s soccer matches played inside Spartan Stadium throughout the 2008 season at SJSUSpartans.com. Just click on Live Stats under Live from the top menu bar on the front page. Fans can also click on Schedule/Results from each soccer home page and access the live stats from there. Links are also made available at the same locations for live stats for most road contests.

SPARTANS DROP TWO NARROW DECISIONS AWAY FROM HOME
San Jose State fell in two tough matches at New Mexico and UNLV last weekend on late goals. The Spartans first maintained a scoreless draw at four-time defending MPSF champion New Mexico at the UNM Soccer Complex for 91-plus minutes on Friday night, October 10, before succumbing to a headed goal at the 91:58 mark of the first overtime period. Lewis Sweeney made seven saves, while Efrain Burgos, Jr., led all players with seven shots.

On Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, Nev., the Spartans lost for the first time in a game in which they scored first. Burgos, Jr., provided the 1-0 halftime lead with a 15-yard rocket into the upper corner of the Rebel net at 29:01. UNLV stormed back with two strikes over the final 16:08, however, the winner coming with just 92 seconds left in regulation, to steal a 2-1 victory. Colby Moore assisted on the Spartan goal, with Sweeney collecting three more saves.

SAN JOSE STATE (4-4-3, 0-3 MPSF) vs. DENVER (5-5, 3-0 MPSF)

(Series Tied, 8-8)
Denver is coming off a 1-0 win at Air Force in its lone match last week on Saturday, October 11, to remain perfect in conference play. The Pioneers, now winners of three straight, are receiving votes in the latest NSCAA/adidas Far West poll.

Sophomore goalkeeper Joe Willis, the MPSF Brine Player of the Week for September 29-October 5, has kept three clean sheets already in league action this year, with DU gaining back-to-back-to-back 1-0 victories after allowing 13 goals over its first seven matches. The last two of those game-winners have come from senior forward Kyle Christensen, including a 59th-minute strike at Air Force. Freshman forward Sam Garza, and junior midfielder Collin Audley, the MPSF Player of the Week back on September 15, were credited with assists. Willis made three stops. For the season, Audley and senior defender Colin Jones pace DU with seven points apiece.

San Jose State has lost four straight to Denver in a series that is tied all-time, 8-8. Last year, the Spartans dropped both meetings in overtime, by the identical score of 2-1. In Denver, Colo., on October 29, Ed Brand tied the match on a penalty kick with just 16 seconds left in regulation, but then-freshman Ryan Aweida’s second college goal, his second of the match, at 93:14 in the extra period, gave the home side the win. Both scores came on headers off of corner kicks. Lewis Sweeney made five saves for San Jose State. At Spartan Stadium on Sunday, November 4, on Senior Day, the Pioneers got goals from Christensen (19:45) and Audley (94:39) around a 21st-minute equalizer from Ismael Ibarra, with Nick Cukar assisting. Sweeney made seven stops.

The Spartans’ last win over the Pioneers came in Denver on October 30, 2005, 2-1 in overtime. Their last victory over DU in San Jose was exactly one week earlier that same season, 3-1.

Denver head coach Bobby Muuss is 15-9-4 in his second year in charge of the Pioneers.

SAN JOSE STATE (4-4-3, 0-3 MPSF) vs. AIR FORCE (3-8, 1-2 MPSF)
Air Force will be playing its first MPSF road match of the season at Sacramento State on Friday, prior to paying Spartan Stadium a visit on Sunday. In their last game, the Falcons were edged at home, 1-0, by Denver on Saturday, October 11. Air Force previously won September’s BSC Armed Forces Classic in Birmingham, Ala., with wins over Navy (1-0) and Army (2-1).

Air Force is led by junior forward Steve Noller. The MPSF Brine Player of the Week for September 15-21, has nine points from four goals and one assist. He had his four-game goal-scoring streak ended in a 4-0 home loss to New Mexico on Sunday, October 5. Only two other Falcons have goals on the year, freshman midfielder Zach Brinlee and sophomore defender Ryan Robinson each with one. Junior goalkeeper Jim Gullo matched his career high with eight saves against Denver. He has played every minute in goal for AFA, posting a 1.73 goals-against-average with 50 saves and a pair of shutouts.

San Jose State and Air Force have split their two-game season series the past four years, with sixth of those eight games decided by one goal, four of them needing overtime to decide matters. They have not tied since a 1-1 draw in San Jose on November 2, 2001. In 2007, each team won away from home, with the Spartans taking a 3-1 decision in Colorado Springs, Colo., on October 19, and the Falcons returning the favor at Spartan Stadium, 3-2, on November 2, during a stretch of three consecutive overtime losses for San Jose State.

San Jose State’s last win over Air Force in San Jose was in Spartan Stadium on October 15, 2006, by the score of 1-0 in overtime.

Now in his second season at the helm, Doug Hill has compiled an overall record of 8-20-1.