Woodland, Calif. - San Jose State University’s Nick Cukar has been named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Brine Co-Player of the Week for the week of November 3-9.
Cukar (Millbrae, Calif., Capuchino HS) is the third Spartan to be recognized by the MPSF with its weekly award in 2008, and second straight after senior goalkeeper Richard Mann had garnered joint honors last Monday, November 3. This also marks Cukar’s second career selection.
Cukar scored all three of San Jose State’s goals, including both game-winners, in a pair of home victories against UNLV and four-time defending MPSF champion New Mexico.
Against UNLV on Friday, November 7, Cukar opened the scoring in the 37th minute, taking a pass from Oscar Yniguez in a wide-open position on the left flank and hitting his shot past a diving Rebel goalkeeper to the far post. Just 2:41 into the first overtime period, a throw-in deflected off a UNLV defender, and Cukar was there to put the ball in the back of the net from close range and give his side the 2-1 triumph. It was his first multiple-goal game of 2008 and second of his college career. Cukar provided a team-high five shots, and equaled his collegiate best with a game-high three shots on goal in a season-high 88 minutes played.
On Sunday, November 9, Cukar helped San Jose State end New Mexico’s four-year reign atop the MPSF with a 1-0 victory. Cukar scored the lone goal early, at 4:38, running onto a perfect through ball by Hiroki Akiyama, ahead of a pair of Lobo defenders, and slotting his one-time shot past the goalkeeper. Both of his shots in the match were on goal. It was the Spartans’ first win over UNM in San Jose since 1997, and snapped a six-game overall losing skid to the Lobos.
Cukar leads the Spartans with eight goals, including an MPSF-best six game-winning goals, and paces the team in total points with 16. Sunday’s strike was also the 14th of his career, nine of those now game-winners. Cukar is the only Spartan to have started all 17 matches in 2008, and has started all 36 since the 2007 opener.
The Spartans are unbeaten in their last five matches. Sunday’s defeat of New Mexico assures them of an above-.500 overall record for a second year in a row, and puts them even again in the MPSF at 4-4-1. San Jose State is alone in third place with 13 points, two behind second-place New Mexico.