San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men's and women's soccer teams have combined on an incredible 17-game, 65-day unbeaten stretch as of Monday, October 19.
The Spartan soccer squads have virtually forgotten how to lose, with second-year head coach Jeff Leightman's women's program still on an 11-match run during which they have gone 8-0-3. It has long-supplanted San Jose State's best previous unbeaten stretch of five games.
San Jose State is 8-4-3 overall after an 0-4 start, and alone in second-place in the Western Athletic Conference with 11 points from a 3-0-2 league mark, two points behind New Mexico State (9-5-1, 4-0-1 WAC). The Spartans own a share of the 10th spot again in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) West Region poll.
Gary St. Clair, in his 20th campaign, has his men's team on a six-game unbeaten streak, the last five of which have all been victories. They are back above the .500 mark for the first time since September 4, at 7-6-1, and sit in a three-way tie for first-place atop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings through the opening weekend of league play.
The San Jose State soccer teams are without a blemish thus far in October, with the men a perfect 5-0, out-scoring opponents, 7-1, and the women at 3-0-3. Along the way, the women have eclipsed program standards for longest win streak (six games), most consecutive shutouts (five games), longest shutout streak (491:18) and longest road unbeaten stretch (six games).
Plenty more superlatives can be extracted from this recent period, but the defensive numbers in particular are gaudy. The Spartan men have allowed a single goal over their past six games, for a goals-against-average of a miniscule 0.16 as a team and for sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Lester individually. Lester, a sophomore native of Fort Worth, Texas, is in his first season in the program after a transfer from Southern Methodist University, and was named on Monday, October 19, as a MPSF Co-Player of the Week for the first time.
The Spartan women, meanwhile, have given up just five goals over their last 11 matches, for a goals-against-average of 0.42, with all but 45 minutes being played by redshirt junior net-minder Nina Butera, a San Jose product out of Presentation High School. Fellow junior Danielle Anderson played the second half of the 8-0 demolition at Howard on September 13. Butera is on pace to shatter her own single-season school record, currently with a 0.75 goals-against-average. Butera and Lester (0.71) lead their respective conferences in that category.
Combined, the two teams have posted a 0.33 goals-against-average during their runs.
Those that weren't present at Spartan Stadium this past weekend, missed redshirt sophomore midfielder Justin Castro's game-winning free-kick goal to cap a thrilling 1-0 win for the men over defending league champion Denver with a mere 37 seconds left in double overtime in their MPSF opener on Friday night, October 16. The San Jose State programs have gone 9-2-2 together on the brand-new FieldTurf inside Spartan Stadium, with the men an undefeated 5-0-1.
Remaining opportunities to see the Spartan soccer squads in action this season are fleeting, but a handful of key conference match-ups still remain on the horizon. The women take their 11-match run up against WAC foe Idaho this Friday night, October 23, with kick-off set for 7:00 p.m. The final three home tilts will come the following weekend, with a Spartan Soccer doubleheader on Friday, October 30, featuring Senior Night for the women against the rival Bulldogs of Fresno State at 5:00 p.m., and capped by MPSF men's action between San Jose State and UNLV. The Spartan men will take on perennial power New Mexico on Senior Day on Sunday, November 1.
Individual game tickets for Spartan Soccer are $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for youth aged 12 and under, and $1.00 for youth in soccer jerseys. San Jose State students can attend all matches free of charge with a valid Tower ID card. Groups of 20 or more receive a discounted rate. Gates open one hour prior to the start of each match.
This Friday's critical meeting with the Idaho Vandals, will mark the 2009 debut of San Jose State women's soccer on the Gold Zone at SJSUSpartans.com, with live on-line audio, free of charge. Shawn Murphy handles the commentary. Air time is slated for 6:45 p.m.