Kansas City, Kan. - San Jose State University’s Nick Cukar was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Far West All-Region second team on Wednesday, December 10.
Cukar, a native of Millbrae, Calif., and graduate of Capuchino High School, was one of 11 players and four midfielders named to the second team, with 11 more selected to first and third teams. Two other players from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, senior UNLV midfielder Lamar Neagle and junior New Mexico forward Justin Davis, made the second team. Four MPSF players, including a trio of standouts from league champion Denver, were third-team picks.
Cukar gives San Jose State and long-time head coach Gary St. Clair all-region selections in back-to-back years, after senior forward Ismael Ibarra was a first-team honoree a season ago. Previous all-region distinctions went to Nelson Diaz in 2005 and Frank Sanfilippo in 2003.
Cukar, the only Spartan to start all 18 matches in 2008, remarkably produced his team-leading totals of nine goals for 18 points, from his left-sided midfield position. His career-best nine strikes was also good enough for a share of the top spot in the MPSF, with Neagle. Cukar tied for second in the league in total points. Of his 50 shots on the year, 24 were on goal.
Perhaps Cukar’s most impressive stat, however, was the fact that seven of his nine goals were of the game-winning variety, leading the MPSF by a comfortable margin. Cukar scored the winners in seven of the nine Spartan victories. Following the 4-1 home triumph over Sacramento State in San Jose State’s season finale on Saturday, November 15, Cukar became the second Spartan ever to garner College Soccer News National Team of the Week distinction. He is a two-time MPSF Brine Player of the Week for his career.
The Spartans ended the season unbeaten in their last six matches after an 0-4 start to the MPSF slate via four one-goal losses, the first three of which were on the road. San Jose State won four in a row at the back end of that stretch, finishing with an above-.500 overall record for a second year in a row, at 9-5-4, and an above-.500 MPSF mark (5-4-1) for the first time since 2005. San Jose State wound up alone in third place with 16 points, behind first-time champion and the MPSF’s lone NCAA Championship representative, Denver, and New Mexico.