The Cukar Corner: 2009 Men's Soccer Blog 9

Nick Cukar is a fourth-year senior on the 2009 San Jose State University men's soccer team. He is a local product out of Millbrae, Calif., and Capuchino High School. The Spartan co-captain has struck for 20 goals in his career from his left outside midfield spot, with an incredible 11 of them game-winners. The 2008 second-team all-region and first-team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selection is a kinesiology major.

San Jose State is back at Spartan Stadium this week for two final home matches for the 2009 season. On Friday night, October 30, San Jose State hosts UNLV in the second half of a Spartan Soccer doubleheader, after the 5:00 p.m. Senior Night contest between the Spartan women and rival Fresno State. The men then welcome perennial conference power New Mexico on Sunday, November 1. Kick-off is slated for approximately 1:00 p.m. on Senior Day, following a special ceremony honoring Cukar and senior teammates Brian McGuire, Oscar Monjaras and Colby Moore. That match can be heard live, free of charge, here at SJSUSpartans.com.

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. One ticket gets you into both ends of Friday's twin bill. San Jose State students can attend all matches for free 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.

Blog Entry #9 (Thursday, October 29)

Hey all, Spartan soccer fans! I'm here with another installment of The Cukar Corner! We had yet another road trip scheduled this past weekend. This trip was our toughest in terms of traveling, playing and weather conditions. Having a game Friday night in Bakersfield, and a game Sunday in Seattle, created one of the more interesting and difficult travel plans.

We started off by flying Thursday to Burbank, and driving two hours north to Bakersfield, where it was 80 degrees out. On the way to Bakersfield, in my van, Omri (Brinner) fell asleep, as did I. However, I woke up just in time, as Brian (McGuire), our trainer, Daryl (Finch), and Jon (Lester), were planning to scare those of us who were sleeping by yelling as loud as they could, pretending to be in an accident. However, being the Israeli vet that he is, Omri did not get scared at all, only opening his eyes like nothing had happened. What a shame. It would have been great if it worked.

We were unable to get a training session in due to our late arrival into Bakersfield, so we had a light walk-through on Friday morning that consisted of 3-v-1 possession grids, some finishing, and defending corner-kick tendencies of Cal State Bakersfield.

We played under the lights in Bakersfield, where the weather was not bad at all. We gave up a controversial penalty kick in the first two minutes of the game. However, this did not hold us down, as we were able to hold our composure and overcome the deficit by scoring another set-piece goal coming off the head of Josh (Boemecke), then on a great follow run by Justin (Castro) to put my chip back-post into the net, and getting Josh's great second goal, which came off of yet another set piece, where he volleyed a bullet upper-shelf. We ended up conceding a goal off a set piece, which we were not happy about, as we have worked hard to limit those.

I ended up scoring a goal that came off a great clearance header from Omri (who had come into the game due to Josh's issued red card that made the game 10-v-10), and I was able to create a breakaway and score, but not before the defender trying to bring me down ended up ripping my shorts. This was an interesting game for me, because in the first half, a defender had tussled with me as I was making a run, and tore a massive hole in my jersey, and then my shorts got ripped on my goal. It goes to show you how intense these highly-competitive battles are in conference games.

On Saturday, after getting a great, crucial conference victory away, we trained at 8:00 a.m. in Bakersfield, because we were to be traveling all day to Seattle, leaving us virtually no time to train up there. We had another two hours to drive back to Burbank for a flight to San Jose, and then to Seattle. This time, DJ Daryl created a great CD with some quality songs, as the radio stations down there weren't satisfying Omri's musical tastes, leading to the claim that SoCal radio is terrible. We had a layover in San Jose on our way to Seattle, which added to the weird travel that having Cal State Bakersfield and Seattle entering the MPSF this year has created. After getting our vans in Seattle, we drove to our hotel, but not without another installment of American Idol with Bobby Jackson. This time, Bob sung a heartrending song, 'Hero' by Mariah Carey, which he matched quite well, tone for tone. I personally think he should sing at the Spartan Student-Athlete Talent Show (in December) to win us our second title.

Seattle was a cool city. I really liked the look, as it reminded me a little bit of San Francisco, with the atmosphere, closeness to the water, and the hills within the city. The weather was a bit colder in Seattle than Bakersfield, topping out at 55 degrees. Big difference!!! On the way to the game on Sunday, my van featured an interesting conversation with our volunteer coach, Dan Benton. Dan has recently told us that he and his wife are going to have a baby, so a few of us (Bobby, mostly) jokingly suggested names for his child-to-be, and some potential names came out of the discussion! Congratulations to you, Dan, and your wife. I wish you all the best.

As for the game itself, it was a difficult one, as the field conditions were poor. The field was like a mud pit due to the rain on Thursday. This gave (Seattle) a tremendous homefield advantage, as they were able to move the ball quite well in the muddy grass, while we were having some difficulty doing so. We got a great goal from Little Oscar (Yniguez) late, which is all we needed to get the six points (on the trip) and maintain the conference lead like we set out to do at the beginning of the road trip. Great weekend, boys, with solid defense and a great attack. Let's keep it up and get that top spot in the conference tournament in Denver!!!

Our key this week is to take things one game at a time. First up, we have this Friday night versus a dangerous UNLV team that will be looking to get things rolling before the MPSF Tournament comes in two weeks. I hope you Spartan Soccer fans can come out this weekend, as these will be the final two home games of my Spartan career, along with Brian (McGuire), Colby (Moore), and Oscar "Fish" (Monjaras). We would love to get as much fan support as we can! Tell all your soccer-fan friends to come out, as we are looking to stay undefeated at home and in conference!

See you there, and GO SPARTANS!

-Nick

2009 San Jose State Men's Soccer Blog Entries

August 15 - Nick Cukar, Senior Co-Captain

August 25 - Nick Cukar, Senior Co-Captain

August 30 - Nick Cukar, Senior Co-Captain

September 9

September 17

September 29

October 14

October 21

October 29