Men's soccer heads to Sacramento State with NCAA berth at stake

San Jose, Calif.---The San Jose State University men's soccer team continues its pursuit of an NCAA Tournament berth this week when the Spartans take on Sacramento State on the road in their final regular-season contest of 2005.  Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. Sunday, November 13, at Hornet Field.

See this week's notes for more information.

THIS WEEK: San Jose State (10-5-3, 6-2-1 MPSF) vs. Sacramento State Hornets (9-6-2, 4-4-1), Nov. 13, in Sacramento at 1 p.m.

The Spartans take on Sacramento State on the road in their final MPSF and regular-season contest of 2005. The Hornets are unbeaten at home at Hornet Field in 2005 with a record of 7-0-1.

LAST WEEK: Spartans Defeated by New Mexico 3-1, Tie UNLV 2-2 vs No. 2 New Mexico: The Lobos scored the first goal of the night at 1:05 on a through ball from David Gualdarama that was passed to Brandon Barklage. The Spartans tied the game at 51:21 when Dylan Pender scored his second goal of the season when he put a ball in the net which was knocked free in the box. With the score tied for much of the second half, New Mexico’s Jeff Rowland scored his 13th goal of the season at 79:57 when he redirected a shot taken by Brandon Moss. The Lobos cinched the win on a penalty kick by Andrew Boyens at 81:58. “It was a very, very hard-fought game by two very good teams,” head coach Gary St. Clair said. “The score was not indicative of how close the game was. Our players are obviously disappointed, but they’re a very good team and so are we. Now we just have to try to win the conference and make the NCAA Tournament.”

vs. UNLV: The Spartans got up early with goals by forward Johnny Gonzalez at 10:17 and 19:04 in the first half. It was Gonzalez's fourth and fifth goals of the season. The Rebels came back late with goals from Rod Dyachenko and Martin Kenny at 79:30 and 88:27 of the second half. Neither team was able to capitalize on opportunities over the two 10-minute overtime periods, leaving the final score tied. "The game was disappointing, especially on Senior Day," head coach Gary St. Clair said. "It was a tough weekend overall for us, but I'm proud of these guys. They still play with a lot of heart and I'm as proud of them now as I have ever been."

Sacramento State defeats UNLV 2-1 in OT With less than 20 seconds remaining in the first period of overtime, senior Ricky Rodriguez sent a ball through the UNLV defense that set up junior forward Ryan Rhoads one-on-one with Rebel goalkeeper Brett Hafeman. Rhoads touched the ball past Hafeman and was in alone before Hafeman pulled him down in the box, setting up Ramirez’ penalty kick.

Sacramento State Ties No. 2 New Mexico 1-1 in Double Overtime The Hornets outshot the Lobos, 17-13. The Hornet defense limited the MPSF’s leading scorer Jeff Rowland to just two shots on goal. Sacramento State was led by Rhoads’ four shots on goal. New Mexico’s Lars Loeseth scored at 15:11. The Hornets scored the equalizer at 28:32 on a goal by Eliot Ricks-Chambers. Neither team scored again, leading to the tie.

How the MPSF Standings are Shaping Up: San Jose State remained two points clear of second-ranked New Mexico in the latest Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, with 19 points. The Lobos also settled for a tie, 1-1, at Sacramento State on Sunday, and are now at 17 points. San Jose State has one conference game remaining, and can finish with as many as 22 points. New Mexico, with two games to go, has a maximum of 23 possible points. The team with the greatest point total at the end of regular-season play, earns the MPSF's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Spartans were featured in an article in the San Jose Mercury News last Friday.

Excerpt from “New Mexico poses stiff test for SJSU men’s soccer team,” printed in the San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 4, 2005

By Dylan Hernandez

Mercury News

Gary St. Clair has been men's soccer coach at San Jose State for 16 years and ``I don't think there has been a bigger game'' than the one tonight at Spartan Stadium, he said. New Mexico is coming to play the Spartans. New Mexico is the No. 2-ranked team in the country. New Mexico has lost just one game -- to SJSU, of all things. The Spartans are the surprise team of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, and beyond. Their 6-1 record (10-4-2 overall) has them atop the MPSF standings and in line for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Last season, the Spartans were 5-13-1, their worst record in 14 years. To rebuild the team, St. Clair brought in 10 transfers, nine of them from community colleges. He gave chances to a couple of walkons, Gavin Wenyon and Hiroki Akiyama. And he looked overseas. That led him to Ed Brand of London. Brand spent 10 years in the youth system of English Premiership club Chelsea and represented his country at the under-17 level. Brand had reached the age when players either make the first team or are released, and fell into the latter group. Instead of signing with a smaller club -- England's second-tier League Championship or third-tier League One were likely destinations -- Brand hooked up with an agency that sends players to universities abroad. Brand said he thought the physical and direct style of American college soccer would help him develop aspects of his game he was told he had to improve. Brand is only 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. Alongside senior Dylan Pender, Brand has anchored a Spartans defense that has given up only 20 goals. Nelson Diaz, a part-time starter as a transfer from San Francisco City College last season, is the leading scorer with eight goals. Ismael Ibarra, a transfer from Hartnell College, has five goals and five assists. ``This is a whole new team,'' Diaz said, acknowledging surprise at the success. ``We had to get to learn to play with each other. We're still learning."