San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men's soccer team closed out the 2007 season with its annual team banquet on Tuesday night, December 11. The banquet honored the successes of the team and its individual players. The Spartans were 10-9-0 on the season, 5-5-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and finished in third place in the conference. Ismael Ibarra, Ed Brand, Hiroki Akiyama, Julio Gonzalez and Nick Cukar were all recognized by the conference for their efforts, but head coach Gary St. Clair took time to honor his players for their dedication on and off the field.
The first awards given were the Coaches' Awards. These awards are voted on by St. Clair, associate head coach Ron Smare and assistant coach Chris Behler to select the student-athletes that they felt were major contributers to the team's success this season. Junior co-captain Richard Mann received the first award. Mann started and played in nine games for the Spartans this season, recording 33 saves. Mann' work ethic, leadership and ability on the field earned him the respect of his peers and coaches.
The second Coaches' Award went to senior Savio Carrijo. The story of Carrijo this season moved St. Clair. The two spent many months discussing Carrijo's fate for this season, debating his return to the field. In the end, Carrijo chose to stay and proved to be a great asset to the team. The striker from Brazil played in 18 games this season and tallied a goal and as assist for the Spartans.
The Top Newcomer, Most Valuable Defensive Player, Most Valuable Offensive Player and Most Valuable Player award are all voted on by the student-athletes. Earning the recognition as Top Newcomer was junior goalkeeper Lewis Sweeney. The transfer student joined the Spartans this season and made an immediate impact. Lewis started and played in 10 games, posting three shutouts. The keeper made 50 saves for the Spartans and recorded a 1.38 goals against average.
The Defensive MVP award was awarded to Oscar Monjaras. The sophomore helped the Spartans to record five shutouts on the season with his stellar ability in the backfield. Monjaras started 13 of the 15 games he played in and marked some of the top players in the conference. In MPSF play, the Spartan limited opponents to a 1.78 GAA.
Gonzalez earned the team's Offensive MVP award. The senior striker was third on the team in offense with 13 points. Gonzalez scored six goals and dished out one assist in the 17 games he played in. During MPSF play, Gonzalez tallied two goals and one assist for five points. Gonzalez's play at forward earned him Third Team All-MPSF honors.
For the first time in the history of the men's soccer program there was a tie for the team MVP award. Ibarra and Brand both earned the respect of their teammates with their leadership on and off the field. Ibarra led the Spartans on offense with 21 points in 19 games. The senior notched nine goals and three assists in overall play and five goals and one assist in conference play.
Brand was a pillar for the Spartans on defense. The junior co-captain helped San Jose State to its 10-9 record and to its five shutouts. The England native led the Spartans in MPSF play, helping the team to two shutouts in conference and a 1.78 GAA. Brand also contributed to the Spartans' offense with two goals for four points on the season.
The banquet also honored the team's seniors for their contributions over the years. Carrijo, Gonzalez, Ibarra and Jacob Morrison were all recognized in front of their families and friends for all that they did while wearing Spartan Blue and Gold.