Women's Soccer Opens Spring With Two Wins

It has already been an impressive spring for the San Jose State women’s soccer team, and the first day of spring was only a week ago.
The Spartans opened their spring slate on March 18 with two wins, a 3-0 victory over host Saint Mary’s (Calif.), and a 1-0 defeat of California – a team that spent time in the national Top 25 last fall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“It was nice to play two top programs and come out with two clean sheets,” said San Jose State women’s soccer head coach Jeff Leightman about the team’s spring-opening wins. “We were much sharper than I thought we’d be. Our players worked hard for each other. It was a group win.”
The Spartans will play five more games this spring, all in the coming month of April. The spring schedule will culminate with an Alumni game on April 29.
Against California on March 18, Kacey Gricius notched her first goal as a member of the program on a strong, low shot in the middle of the first half to give the Spartans the 1-0 victory.
“Emily (Pryor) made some good saves, key saves. It was a good soccer match,” said Leightman, who will enter his fifth season at the helm of the Spartans next fall. “We were very pleased that that was our first spring game. We haven’t been successful in our first spring game since I’ve been here.”
When the Spartans faced Saint Mary’s, the Gaels’ 3-0 win over them on September 25 was still very much in the front of their minds – Certainly motivation to help the Spartans earn a 3-0 win of their own.
“It was big because we lost to them 3-0 this fall,” said Leightman. “I thought our energy was good. We scored 10-15 minutes into the game. As soon as we scored I think our energy jumped up another level.”
Last season’s leading scorer Kelsey Lord got the scoring going for San Jose State with a goal off a pass from Catherine Ruder, a freshman that started all 19 games for the Spartans in the fall.
“It was a great tackle (by Ruder) and great vision. Hard-nose attacking to tactical passing,” said Leightman.
Leightman observed that in Lord’s scoring chance, she faced her defender and waited for an opening instead of immediately taking a shot – signs that spring practices are translating into game situations.
“Probably in the fall (Lord) would have taken a shot, but she took on her defender,” said Leightman. “It was good soccer. It’s exactly what we work on all the time. We didn’t create the same amount of quality attacks in the fall as we have (already) this spring.”
March 18 – vs. California (W, 1-0); at Saint Mary’s (W, 3-0) April 6 – CAL STATE MONTEREY BAY, 4:30 p.m. April 14 – CAL STATE FULLERTON, 3 p.m. April 22 – at Santa Clara, TBA April 28 – SAN FRANCISCO, 1 p.m. April 29 – ALUMNI, TBA