Finishing the regular season with a flurry of shutouts, San Jose State University hopes to ride its recent wave of success into the upcoming Western Athletic Conference men's soccer tournament.
Seeded #4, the Spartans (7-10-1, 5-4-1 WAC) host UTRGV (7-6-3, 4-4-2 WAC) in a first-round match, Wednesday, November 8, 1:00 p.m. at the Peter Johann Memorial Field on the UNLV campus. The WAC Digital Network will provide live coverage.
San Jose State won five of its final six matches, four of them by shutout and three of the four blank sheets on the road. The Spartans were winless in five road contests before finding the winning formula on October 15 with a 1-0 win at Houston Baptist.
Simon Tobin. "As always with tournaments, a lot of it is momentum. So, we'll be feeling as good as any other team. "Winning five of the last six takes us into the WAC Tournament of any of the teams there. That gives us a little bit of a buzz, a little bit of the confidence about finishing the season strong," said San Jose State head coach
"Seeing every team (in the regular season), we feel good about where we are against any of the teams."
Throughout the season, Tobin reminded people he had 16 new players on the squad. He went through three goalkeepers before settling on sophomore David Heredia for the last seven matches. Heredia's 1.51 goals against average was skewed by a 5-2 loss at San Francisco in his season debut on September 22 and a 4-0 loss to WAC regular season champion Air Force. Other than those two contests, he allowed six goals in eight matches and was in the goal for the four shutouts in WAC action.
Only seven players scored a goal for San Jose State in the regular season. Jeremy Romero was the team leader with nine, fourth best in the WAC. Defender Andy Rios was next with three, two of them on penalty kicks. The Spartans played five 1-0 matches winning three of them.
"We had a tough schedule which is reflected in our RPI (#105). We're ahead of some traditional powers such as UC Irvine (#117) and UC Santa Barbara (#139) on the West Coast. I knew we had a little bit of a tough time. Even in conference opening up with Seattle U., Utah Valley away and UNLV, these were three of the tougher games we were going to play. We made a statement on the road in Texas for three games and that seemed to carry over. That gave us a lot of confidence," Tobin added.
"Winning the last game against Bakersfield before going to the tournament, gives us another impetus."
San Jose State has its highest seed in a WAC Tournament since joining the conference in 2013. The Spartans seek their first WAC Tournament victory since 2013 and face a UTRGV team for the second time in 2017. San Jose State got a second-half goal by junior Andrew Mendoza for a 1-0 regular season road triumph.
The winner advances to the semifinal round against #1-seed Air Force (14-1-3, 8-0-2 WAC) in a November 10 contest at 1:00 p.m. The conference tournament championship contest is Sunday, November 12, at 1:00 p.m.