THIS WEEK - SPARTANS OFF TO DENVER FOR MPSF TOURNAMENT
The San Jose State University men's soccer team flies to Denver, Colo., this Wednesday afternoon, November 11, for the 2009 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament. The six-team event will be hosted by the University of Denver at its brand-new, grass-surface facility, University of Denver Soccer Stadium, Thursday through Sunday, November 12-15. The Spartans, now an even 9-9-1 following three narrow one-goal losses in a row to conclude the regular season, will train at their normal time of 3:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, with an earlier session on Wednesday before boarding their flight. As the third seed, San Jose State contests the tourney's opening game against No. 6 UNLV (7-6-4) on Thursday afternoon, November 12, beginning at 3:30 p.m. PST. If the Spartans advance, No. 2 New Mexico awaits in Friday's second semifinal at 6:30 p.m. PST. Sunday's title game, with the MPSF's automatic NCAA Championship berth at stake, kicks off at 12:00 p.m. PST. San Jose State, which in fact is the defending MPSF Tournament champion, having won the last installment back in 2003, knows it needs to also win this year's tourney in order to extend its season into NCAA play for the first time since that 2003 campaign.
2009 MOUNTAIN PACIFIC SPORTS FEDERATION TOURNAMENT
#3 SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY (9-9-1, 4-3 MPSF)
vs. #6 UNLV (7-6-4, 1-4-2 MPSF)
UNIV. OF DENVER SOCCER STADIUM, DENVER, COLO.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 3:30 P.M. PST
Every game of the 2009 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament will have live stats courtesy of JumpTV and NeuLion at DenverPioneers.com, with links also available at SJSUSpartans.com. Just click on Live Stats under Live from the top menu bar on the front page, or on Schedule/Results from the men's soccer page, and access the live stats from there. No audio or video will be available.
#3 SAN JOSE STATE (9-9-1, 4-3 MPSF) vs. #6 UNLV (7-6-4, 1-4-2 MPSF)
UNLV enters the MPSF Tournament coming off of a 2-0 loss at New Mexico last Saturday night, November 7. The Rebels' only conference triumph this season came at Spartan Stadium on Friday, October 30, when the lone goal of the contest was tallied by Will Ziegahn in the 75th minute on a header off a left-sided cross by Roberto Farfan. UNLV is 4-3-2 away from home this season.
The Rebels are led by freshman forward Nick Marshall with 17 points from seven goals and three assists. Junior forward partner Stephen Sifuentes has 16 points from seven goals and two assists. Neither player appeared in the first meeting in San Jose, with Marshall serving a one-game suspension for a red card he received at Air Force the previous Sunday. Freshman Zach Kupfer has contributed 12 points from five goals and a pair of assists. Junior Roland Swanson has played every minute of every game in goal for the Rebels, with a 1.38 goals-against-average, 35 saves and five shutouts.
Thursday's match will mark the second post-season meeting between these teams. They played to a 3-3 draw in an MPSF Tournament semifinal in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2002, with the second-seeded Spartans advancing after penalty kicks. Mario Sanchez is in his fourth year as the head coach at UNLV.
SPARTANS RALLY BUT DROP HEARTBREAKER IN REGULAR-SEASON FINALE
San Jose State stormed back from a 3-0 halftime deficit in its 2009 regular-season finale on Saturday, November 7, only to give up the deciding goal a mere 14 seconds after clawing its way to a 3-3 deadlock in the 82nd minute. Down 3-0, Robert Jackson officially started the Spartan fight-back with a goal at 58:24, beating the Hornet goalie to a right-sided cross from Josh Boemecke. Nick Cukar tallied the next two goals, both with solid right-footed strikes from inside the penalty area, at 66:21 and 81:13, respectively, to knot the score. Boemecke, Colby Moore and Christian Romero, a true freshman and Sacramento native who entered the match at right back and provided a huge boost of energy over the final 45 minutes, all were credited with two assists on the day. San Jose State out-shot Sacramento State on the afternoon, 17-14, and even had an Oscar Yniguez shot smack off the crossbar while chasing a one-goal deficit. Jonathan Lester and Tyler Newman each played 45 minutes and made two saves apiece. The result snapped a four-game road win streak for San Jose State, and evened the 2009 season series between the Northern California rivals at 1-1, following the Spartans' 2-1 home triumph on October 8.
MPSF TOURNAMENT RETURNS
Sacramento State is the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular-season champion for the first time since 2001. The Hornets are thus the top seed and one of two first-round bye recipients at this week's MPSF Tournament in Denver, Colo. The conference tournament is back in the fold for the first time since the Spartans won it as the top seed in Sacramento, Calif., in 2003. The league's automatic NCAA Championship berth will now go to the tournament winner, and not the regular-season champion. First-year members Cal State Bakersfield and Seattle were not eligible for this year's MPSF Tournament, so the six-team field has been set all year long in Sacramento State, New Mexico, San Jose State, Air Force, UNLV, and host and defending conference champion Denver. The Spartans are the No. 3 seed.