Men's soccer looks to end two-game losing streak

Tony Chang looks to return
to the Spartan line up this week.
SJSU at Santa Clara–Thursday, Sept. 19, 7:00 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium
SJSU at UC Irvine–Sunday, Sept. 22, 2:00 p.m. at Irvine, Calif.

SJSU at Cal Poly–Thursday, Sept. 26, 7:00 p.m. at San Luis Obispo, Calif.
SJSU vs. Loyola Marymount–Sunday, Sept. 29, 5:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium

The Spartans (2-3-0) are looking to get back on the winning track after dropping two games. The injury bug is challenging the Spartans this season and is hampering head coach Gary St. Clair’s ability to put a consistent line-up on the field. With three consecutive road games this month, the Spartans will have to work hard to win.

The 25th-ranked Santa Clara University men's soccer team picked up its first shutout and second win of the season Saturday night in Buck Shaw Stadium with a 3-0 win over Alabama A&M. The team is averaging 4.33 goals per game and has held the opposition to an average of one goal per game. Seven different Broncos have scored a goal so far this season. Jamil Walker leads the team with nine points (4 goals, 1 assist). In three games, goalkeeper Steve Cronin has allowed just three goals and has recorded four saves.

The UC Irvine Anteaters (4-1-1) won two games this past week and will be inactive until the meeting with San Jose State. They defeated the Sacramento State Hornets, 3-2, in Sacramento and shut out the San Francisco Dons, 1-0. On Friday, sophomore Dardo Acuna led the Anteaters with two goals including the gamewinner on a penalty kick in the 61st minute against the Hornets. The lone goal scored on Sunday was by Kyle Close in the 59th minute off a cross from Scott Bowman against the Dons. Seven Anteaters have scored a goal and three share the lead with two apiece. Dardo Acuna, Kyle Close and Lerato Simelane all have two goals this season. Cameron Rossi has three shutouts between the pipes and allowed just six goals with 22 saved so far.

Intercollegiate athletic teams from Santa Clara University and San Jose State University have increased incentive to win when they play each other with the creation of a rivalry series, Santa Clara Director of Athletics and Recreation Cheryl L. Levick and San Jose State Director of Athletics Chuck Bell announced in conjunction with Dean Munro, the executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority.

The annual winner of the series, presented in association with the San Jose Sports Authority, will be determined by a points system based on head-to-head competition in the 13 sports in which the two schools compete. The head-to-head winner of each sport receives a predetermined number of points for that particular school. The winner of the series will be announced at the final scheduled competition between the two schools.

The Santa Clara-San Jose State cross-town rivalry takes on a whole new meaning beginning with this upcoming game. San Jose State has the overall lead of 27-20-2 in the all-time series, but the Broncos had a successful run in the 1990s winning eight of the 10 games played. The Spartans beat the Broncos, 2-0, in 2000, but Santa Clara took last season’s match, 2-1, in overtime. Looking at a 0-0 score after regulation, San Jose State’s Lars Lyssand scored in the 87th minute and needed to hang on for less than three minutes for the win. Santa Clara came right back, scoring in the final minute of the game to send it to overtime. Less than 10 minutes into overtime, the Broncos’ Anthony Chimienti skipped the ball past the Spartan goalkeeper for the win.

The Spartans hold a slight 10-7 advantage in the all-time series. San Jose State has won the last two games played, including last year’s 2-1 win at Spartan Stadium and a 1-0 win in the first round of the 2000 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships. The teams began competition in 1985 with no more than three consecutive wins for either team.

Several injuries have hampered the Spartans from playing at 100 percent this season. Most recently, the team was dealt a tough blow as the team’s starting goalkeeper, senior Dan Benton, suffered a lacerated kidney in practice late last week. Benton is progressing on schedule, but will be unable to begin practicing again for approximately two weeks. From that point a potential return date would be evaluated. Senior midfielder Tony Chang suffered a hip flexor strain against CS Northridge and has returned to practice and may be cleared to return to the lineup this week.

The Spartans dropped two games last week after winning the previous two matches. In a bizarre ending to a close, physical match the San Jose State University men’s soccer team lost on an own goal in the final minute of double-overtime to visiting Alabama A&M Friday night at Spartan Stadium. With less than a minute on the clock and a potential tie on, the Bulldogs were setting up for a free kick just outside the penalty box. The Spartans were able to stop the initial shot, but the ball rattled of the Spartan defenders and into the team’s own net. The team’s luck did not change on Sunday as the Spartans lost to USF in a 2-0 shutout in a match Sunday night at Negoesco Stadium. San Francisco played the majority of the contest with a one-man advantage due to a Spartan red card issued in the ninth minute of the match.

Four different Spartans have scored a goal this season, but the only player to score more than one is freshman Randy Poggio who has three on the season. Junior Francisco Martinez scored his first goal of the season and of his career against Alabama A&M on Friday. Junior Kohta Gaines and senior Frank Sanfilippo also have a goal this year. Poggio also has two assists, Martinez has one and sophomores Frank Mata and Rawlston Masaniai each have one on the season.

With the injury to senior Dan Benton and just one other goalkeep on the roster, Coach St. Clair had to activate freshman Michael Lawrence to have another keeper. Sophomore Eddie Dominguez has made the last two starts for the Spartans and has allowed five goals and made six saves in nearly 200 minutes in goal. Benton was 2-1 with a 0.93 goals against average and two shutouts in three starts. Lawrence, a freshman form Las Vegas, Nev., was originally placed on the redshirt list.

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.