THIS WEEK - SPARTANS OPEN SECOND SEASON UNDER LEIGHTMAN
The San Jose State University women's soccer team opens the 2009 season at home this Friday night, August 21, against top area rival Santa Clara University. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. for the first official San Jose State athletic contest on the brand-new FieldTurf inside Spartan Stadium.
Jeff Leightman enters his second season in charge of the Spartan women's program, and 12th year as a collegiate head coach, with 16 letterwinners and all but one starter back from 2008.
SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
vs. NO. 22 SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY (0-0, 0-0 WCC)
SPARTAN STADIUM, SAN JOSE, CALIF.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 7:00 P.M.
Live stats are available for all San Jose State home soccer matches inside Spartan Stadium, and most road contests, at SJSUSpartans.com. Just click on Live Stats under Live from the top menu bar on the front page. Fans can also click on Schedule/Results from each soccer home page and access the live stats from there.
SAN JOSE STATE (0-0, 0-0 WAC) vs. NO. 22 SANTA CLARA (0-0, 0-0 WCC)
(SCU Leads Series, 13-0)
Santa Clara is ranked No. 22 in the preseason National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas poll, released on August 11, and has been picked to finish third behind Portland and University of San Diego in the West Coast Conference in a vote by its head coaches. The Broncos are coming off a down year without post-season play for the storied program, as they completed the 2008 campaign at 4-12-4.
The Broncos return 10 seniors and boast another strong recruiting class, rated the WCC's best. Among those back are senior preseason All-WCC picks Kiki Bosio, Katherine Reynolds and Dani Potts. Reynolds is a defender and two-time All-WCC performer who was included among 45 players nationally on the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List for 2009. Bosio was a first-team All-WCC selection her first two years in the program.
San Jose State has never beaten or tied Santa Clara in 13 previous meetings between the schools. The Broncos hold a 55-7 advantage in goals scored in the series. This is the second year in a row in which the South Bay foes open the season against each other in San Jose. Last August 22, in Jeff Leightman's debut as the Spartan leader, the visiting Broncos came away with a 3-0 victory. The teams have faced off once each year with the exception of the 1996 season. Santa Clara has taken all six matches at Spartan Stadium.
Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith is 342-102-34 (.751) heading into his 23rd year at the helm.
Heading into its 15th women's soccer season, San Jose State is 2-11-1 in openers. The Spartans are 2-5 at home in those contests, with wins in their inaugural match in 1995 against UC Santa Cruz (5-2), and in 2003 against Pacific on Spartan Field (2-1). San Jose State is 6-7-1 all-time in home openers.
Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year candidate Emmy Belding returns as San Jose State's top offensive threat in 2009. As a junior transfer from Cabrillo College in 2008, the native of Aptos, Calif., led the Spartans in virtually every statistical category for a field player. She was the only San Jose State player to start all 20 games, and tallied 17 total points from eight goals and one assist. Belding was credited with taking 39 shots. Three of her goals were game-winners among the team's five triumphs on the year.
SEARCHING FOR A WINNING SEASON
In 2009, San Jose State will be looking for its first winning season in a decade, since completing the 1999 campaign at 12-7-1 overall. The Spartans went 3-2-1 in Western Athletic Conference play that year under head coach Philippe Blin, and were knocked out on the first day of the WAC Tournament, 1-0, by Fresno State in Dallas, Texas.
San Jose State goalkeeper Nina Butera heads into her fourth season in the Spartan program as last year's Western Athletic Conference leader in save percentage. The San Jose native stopped 59 shots on goal and allowed just 12 of them to reach the back of the net, for a percentage of .831. Butera's 1.05 goals-against-average was a single-season school record. She started 11 of 13 matches played.
San Jose State will be captained in 2009 by fourth-year players Roxy Kamal and Katie Bonadies, both local products out of San Jose (Presentation HS) and Los Gatos (Los Gatos HS), respectively. Kamal is a senior, having earned letter awards in each of the past two years, while Bonadies is listed as a junior after having redshirted her initial 2006 campaign.
The Spartans have two other seniors on the 2009 roster in fourth-year midfielder Hallsie Pacheco and second-year striker Emmy Belding. Center back Brittany Boehm and goalkeeper Nina Butera are fourth-year redshirt juniors like Bonadies.
Boehm, out of San Ramon, Calif., and California High School, is the president of the Spartan Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for 2009-10. She also represents San Jose State on the Western Athletic Conference SAAC.
Head coach Jeff Leightman is carrying 27 players on the 2009 San Jose State roster. All 27 Spartans hail from the state of California, with a third of them, nine in all, San Jose natives. The squad has just two players from Southern California, in sophomore defender Kelsy Holm (Alta Loma) and freshman forward Laura Hill (Sierra Madre).
SPARTAN ACADEMIC SUCCESS
San Jose State produced an all-time program high of 10 Academic All-Western Athletic Conference selections a year ago. Those players were Emmy Belding, Katie Bonadies, Shanelle Furner, Kelsy Holm, Kim Johnston, Roxy Kamal, Lauren Moniz, Lauren Ng-Pinkerton, Lauren Sanchez and Angela Santoro. Brittany Boehm earned the distinction in 2007, with Johnston and Ng-Pinkerton both now two-time honorees.
HEAD COACH JEFF LEIGHTMAN
Jeff Leightman is in his second season in charge of the San Jose State University women's soccer program. He has compiled an overall record of 107-77-5 over 11 years as a collegiate head coach. His previous 10 seasons came at alma mater Binghamton (N.Y.) University.
In 2009, Leightman is joined on his coaching staff by fourth-year assistant Craig Winans and volunteer assistants Ivan Bandov and David Lovercheck. Colin Corstorphine is an operations volunteer.
2009 SPARTAN SOCCER TICKET INFORMATION
For the San Jose State University soccer programs throughout the 2009 season, cost of admission for matches inside Spartan Stadium is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for kids aged 12 and under, $1.00 for kids in soccer jerseys, and free for students with a valid Tower ID card. Groups of 20 or more receive a discounted rate. Gates open one hour prior to kick-off. Admission is free for any matches played at Spartan Field.
SPARTANS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH IN PRESEASON POLL
San Jose State was picked to finish sixth in the 2009 Western Athletic Conference race in a preseason vote by the league's nine head coaches. The Spartans received 28 points. Defending regular-season champion Utah State was the preseason favorite for the first time in the Aggies' history, earning 61 points via five first-place votes. Hawai'i was second in the poll with two first-place votes toward 53 points. Fresno State, last year's WAC Tournament winner and automatic NCAA Championship qualifier, was picked to place third with 49 points and the final two first-place nods. Boise State (45) and Nevada (39) were also chosen to place higher than San Jose State. LA Tech, Idaho and New Mexico State round out the poll.
In 2009, San Jose State returns 16 letterwinners, and all but one starter. A year ago, the Spartans went 5-11-4, improving their overall winning percentage from .238 in 2007 (4-15-2) to .350, with seven true freshmen and one redshirt freshman each drawing at least 11 starts over the course of the season. San Jose State qualified for its fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference Tournament.