Spartan women's soccer team to host a pair of scrimmages

The 2001 edition of the San Jose State University women's soccer team will host a pair of scrimmages this Saturday and Sunday on the SJSU practice field, located near 10th and Alma Streets.

The Spartans will play the University of the Pacific Saturday at 1:00 p.m., then meet an SJSU alumni team Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

San Jose State's regular-season begins on Sunday, Sept. 2, with a 7:30 p.m. game against Santa Clara at Spartan Stadium.

Season outlook:

It has been said that “success breeds success.” New head coach Tamie Grimes hopes that is the case with the San Jose State University women’s soccer team.

Last year as interim head coach, Grimes directed the Spartans to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Playoffs. Both were firsts for the six-year-old program.

“I definitely think it’s helped our program,” said Grimes about last season’s postseason success. “It kind of put San Jose State (women’s soccer) on the map.

“Our goal now is to, on a consistent basis, be an NCAA playoff team.”

With the returning nucleus – including three players who were named to the pre-season WAC all-conference team – and her first recruiting class, Grimes thinks that goal is reachable this season. “I think and hope our record will be better than last year,” said Grimes, whose squad was 10-13-1 overall and 3-3-1 in the WAC last fall. “I hope we can make the (NCAA) playoffs.”

Heading the list of returnees is senior midfielder Kristina Jacob, who was the WAC Tournament MVP last year and is the top returning scorer. “She is one of the best players to play at San Jose State,” Grimes said.

Two defenders, Ryanne Banks and Cynthia Harrah, and junior goalkeeper Eryn Meyer were the pre-season all-WAC selections.

Along with Meyer, returnee Trisha Forni, also a junior, senior transfer Annemarie Hennes and freshman Erin Lavey give the Spartans plenty of depth and experience in the net. “I’m confident that with the people we have we will have a presence in the net,” said Grimes.

On defense, Banks, who sat out last season with an injury, Harrah and returnee Jessica Hernandez are joined by two junior college transfers, Amanda Watson and Alyson Ratzburg, and freshmen Veronica Hernandez – Jessica’s sister – and Amy Banuelos. “I think we have strong players in the back,” Grimes said. “Cris (assistant coach Cris Gilmore) and I feel that success starts with defense.”

Jacob heads the midfield unit and will be “our go-to person,” Grimes said. Another returnee is Mariko Yoshihara. Other midfielders include transfer Marie McCann and freshmen Jessica Korpela and Heather Dickinson. Korpela “should strengthen our midfield,” Grimes said.

The Spartans have a plethora of forwards on the roster. Jeane Sunseri and Kelly Pryor both saw plenty of action last season. Emily New, Vanessa Afonso and Christina Morrison return after sitting out last fall.
The list of newcomers is led by freshman Alaina Chandler. “She is a big-time goal scorer, something we’ve been lacking,” Grimes said. Transfers include Kerry Blaschke, who Grimes said has good speed and is very strong, and Alyson Ratzburg, who played on the same club team as Kristina Jacob. “Ali is an outstanding player. She is a more mature, saavy player,” said Grimes. Two other transfers, Kim Ponce and Janice Roux, complete the list of forwards.

The Spartans were picked to finish second in the WAC in a pre-season coaches poll. Grimes said the favorite is SMU, the defending regular-season champion. “SMU’s always been the frontrunner. After that it’s anybody’s ballgame. It’s a crapshoot for 2 through 7,” Grimes said.

The conference lost one team (TCU) but gained two in Boise State and Rice. Boise State moved to the WAC from the Big West Conference while Rice is a first-year program.