Moraga, Calif. - A pair of goals by Nicole Martinez, including the overtime game-winner, gave the San Jose State University women’s soccer team a 2-1 victory over Saint Mary’s College in a non-conference game at Saint Mary’s Stadium on Wednesday, September 20.
In the first sudden-victory overtime period, sophomore Spartan forward Liz Behlen took a free kick from the left side following a Saint Mary’s foul. Senior tri-captain Cristin Murphy met the kick with a header at the far post. The ball hit off the crossbar, with Martinez, also a senior tri-captain, heading in the rebound for the win at the 96:13 mark.
BACK-TO-BACK OVERTIME WINS OVER RIVAL GAELS
Martinez’s goal gave the Spartans an overtime victory over their area rivals for the second year in a row. Nicole Irwin’s long-distance blast in the second overtime made a 3-2 winner out of SJSU at Spartan Stadium on October 26, 2005, for its first triumph in seven tries in the all-time series. Wednesday’s defeat marks the Spartans’ first win over the Gaels in Moraga, in five tries.
Martinez had tied the score in the 50th minute, with assists going to both Murphy and sophomore forward Jessica Scott. Murphy passed to Scott, who hit a one-time through ball down the center of the field. Martinez sped onto it, and though appeared to be pulled by the final Gael defender, managed to keep her balance and continue toward goal. Her low shot from inside the right side of the penalty box from about five yards out, beat Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Tara Larson on the near post for a 1-1 scoreline.
Though both teams had numerous opportunities to score in either half, extra soccer eventually needed to be played to decide the result. Saint Mary’s had opened the scoring in the 34th minute on an unassisted goal from 25 yards out by Mallory Lee, her first of the season. The best first-half scoring opportunity for San Jose State was created by Scott, as her left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area, came back off the crossbar midway through the period.
With her two goals, Martinez now shares the team lead on the season with Scott, each player with three to their credit. It was the first multiple-goal game of Martinez’s Spartan career, and the first for an SJSU player in 2006.
“Today was super exciting for me,” remarked Martinez. “Last year, I just had one goal, so it’s great to have two in one year, much less one game. That was one of my goals for the season, to have a multi-goal game. This win, especially coming on the road, gives us a lot of confidence as we go into our next game at Pacific on Friday.”
Scott’s assist was her second in as many games this season, both in similar fashion, after having produced eight goals but zero assists through 24 games to begin her college career.
TWO MORE ASSISTS PUT MURPHY ATOP CONFERENCE RANKS
Murphy posted the second multiple-assist game of her Spartan career, with the other one coming in the 3-2 defeat of Saint Mary’s a year ago. She now has five assists on the season to lead both the Spartan team, as well as the Western Athletic Conference.
Redshirt freshman Marissa Dayton played the entire game in goal for San Jose State, making three saves in each half for a total of six on the afternoon, including several clutch stops in the first half in particular, to keep it a one-goal deficit. Larson made three saves for Saint Mary’s.
The Spartans were outshot for the game, 25-13, but registered all three shots of the overtime period. SJSU did not have a corner kick on the afternoon, while the host Gaels took seven.
“We came out a little slow, but we picked it up in the end,” said junior Heidi Romswinckel-Guise, who started her second straight game at center back for the Spartans. “Especially in the overtime, we had all of the possession, which was key. We were all over them.”
Said San Jose State head coach Dave Siracusa, “This was great. Saint Mary’s came out with a completely different style of play. They attacked more and were fast up top. In the first half, they had their opportunities. Marissa Dayton came up big and made some big saves for us, just like she did at LMU. At halftime, we talked about keeping the ball on the ground, and about effort and putting more effort into the game. The players turned it around. We got a lot of life off the bench from Nicole Martinez. This was a character win for us.”
With the win, San Jose State improves its overall record to 3-4-1. Saint Mary’s falls to 1-6-2 on the year, as the Gaels’ winless streak stretches to eight games.
The Spartans make another local road trip this Friday, September 22, traveling to Stockton, Calif., to take on an in-form University of the Pacific squad that is 6-1-1 to start the season. Kick-off at Stagg Memorial Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.
San Jose State (3-4-1) - 0 1 1 - 2
Saint Mary’s (1-6-2) - 1 0 0 - 1
SMC - Mallory Lee (1) (unassisted), 33:44
SJSU - Nicole Martinez (2) (Jessica Scott, Cristin Murphy), 49:54
SJSU - Nicole Martinez (3) (Cristin Murphy), 96:13
SJSU - 13
SMC - 25
SJSU - 6 (Marissa Dayton -6)
SMC - 3 (Tara Larson-3)
SJSU - 0
SMC - 7
SJSU - 11
SMC - 19