San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University women's soccer team scored three times in a span of 101 seconds late to break open a close game and roll to a program-record fifth consecutive victory, 4-0, over the United States Air Force Academy at Spartan Stadium on Friday night, September 25.
With the victory in the finale of a season-long three-game homestand, the Spartans improve their overall record above the .500 mark at 5-4, overturning an 0-4 start to the campaign. This is the first five-match win streak in the program's 15-year history. San Jose State is above the .500 mark at the nine-game point for the fourth time. Air Force drops to 2-7-1 with the loss.
The clean sheet was the fourth in a row for San Jose State, matching the school record from 2006. The team's shutout streak is now at 390:47, approaching the school standard of 446:57.
Redshirt junior Nina Butera, the reigning Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, made five saves to record her third straight individual shutout and eighth of her career. Her evening included a pair of critical one-on-one stops on either side of the halftime break, while the result was still very much in doubt. The San Jose native out of Presentation High School has a personal-best shutout string of 345:47.
Butera's former high school and current Spartan teammate, fourth-year senior co-captain Roxy Kamal, produced her first collegiate two-goal game to cement her team's latest triumph. Katie Bonadies, a redshirt junior forward and San Jose State's other co-captain, had one goal and one assist, while sophomore midfielder Shanelle Furner assisted on the first two scores.
Kelsey Lord, a true freshman out of Livermore, Calif., tallied the night's first goal, which proved to be her first collegiate game-winner, just 3:32 into the second period. Furner's shot from distance smacked against the left post behind Falcon goalkeeper Charity Blanton, and rebounded back toward the penalty spot, where Lord confidently placed her one-time shot into the net for a 1-0 lead the Spartans would refuse to relinquish.
At 82:01, freshman Shannon Righetti (San Jose, Calif./Pioneer HS) took the second of back-to-back corner kicks from the left, and the ball bounced around the six-yard box on the far post, with Bonadies the last to make a play on it before reaching the back of the net for the 2-0 advantage. Furner was credited with the assist, giving her a two-assist match for the first time in her career, and helpers on three successive Spartan goals over this week's two home triumphs.
Just 31 seconds later, junior Kim Johnston, out of San Jose's Leigh High School, found her teammate on the left wing, and Kamal didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on a laser into the right-side netting as the Spartans took command, and sprinted to the near sideline to embrace fourth-year assistant coach Craig Winans, who played at Air Force during his collegiate days.
San Jose State wasn't done yet, as a mere 70 seconds after that, Bonadies connected with Kamal, this time on the right wing, with the Presentation product launching another long-distance effort which lofted over Blanton and into the lower left corner of the goal.
For the match, San Jose State out-shot Air Force, 25-7, including 16-3 in the second half. Kamal and fellow senior Emmy Belding accounted for five shots apiece, with the latter standout equalling her single-game major college high from earlier this year.
Three players made their debuts after the fourth Spartan goal, highlighted by senior Angela Nunez, who saw the first action of her major college career after enduring a total of 11 knee operations in recent years, in and around stints at De Anza College and Santa Clara University, She, too, like Butera and Kamal, played her prep soccer at Presentation after a freshman season at Cupertino's Monta Vista High School. True freshmen Munvir Dhillon (San Jose, Calif./Piedmont Hills HS) and Helen Phan also appeared for the last five minutes of the match.
Blanton, a freshman, finished with five saves in net for Air Force. Stephanie Patterson had a team-high four of the Falcons' shots, with three attempts on goal. It was Patterson who twice was turned away by Butera, first at 15:10 with the match still scoreless, with the Spartan goalie diving low to her left for the save, and then again during a 1-0 game in the second half, with Butera going to her right to keep the freshman off the scoresheet.
Furner almost turned in her first goal of 2009 in the 51st minute, being the first to reach a ball from the right and heading it past Blanton toward the open Falcon net, only to get denied by sophomore defender Amber Sikora's headed team save on the goal line.
The Spartans had several other opportunities to break a scoreless deadlock over the first 45 minutes. In the seventh minute, Belding latched onto Lord's pass and put her shot wide to the right. In the 23rd minute, Furner made a slick move to free herself up for a long-distance effort which Blanton stopped to her left. Four minutes later, Kamal and Belding hooked up on the right, with Belding's attempt necessitating a finger-tip save out of Blanton, again to her left. Belding also had a good chance in the 77th minute wind up wide to the left of goal.
San Jose State now has just one week left to prepare for its 2009 Western Athletic Conference opener. The Spartans fly to Honolulu, Hawaii, on Thursday morning, October 1, and play at the University of Hawai'i on Friday night, October 2. Kick-off is set for 10:00 p.m. Pacific time.
Air Force (2-7-1) - 0 0 - 0
San Jose State (5-4) - 0 4 - 4
SJSU - Kelsey Lord (3) (Shanelle Furner), 48:32
SJSU - Katie Bonadies (2) (Shanelle Furner), 82:01
SJSU - Roxy Kamal (3) (Kim Johnston), 82:32
SJSU - Roxy Kamal (4) (Katie Bonadies), 83:42
AF - 7
SJSU - 25
AF - 6 (Charity Blanton-5; Team-1)
SJSU - 5 (Nina Butera-5)
AF - 3
SJSU - 7
AF - 6
SJSU - 3