San Jose, Calif. - Nicole Irwin and Kelly Madej each tallied their first goals of the season, but San Jose State University was unable to hang onto a 2-0 second-half advantage, falling to visiting Eastern Washingon University, 3-2, in a non-conference women’s soccer match at Spartan Stadium on Sunday, September 30.
San Jose State is now 1-7-2 overall on the year. Eastern Washington, located in Cheney, Wash., evens its record at 4-4. The Eagles were the fourth and final member of the Big Sky Conference that the Spartans will face in the 2007 season. It was the first-ever meeting between the programs.
Irwin, the reigning Western Athletic Conference “Offensive Player of the Year,” celebrated her birthday with her first goal of 2007 and 15th of her college career at 15:37. The senior midfielder took a pass from junior defender Brittny Beshore on the left side of the field, and cracked a trademark left-footed blast from approximately 23 yards out that found the upper left corner of the goal to the right of junior Eagle goalkeeper Ashley Renz.
The first 45 minutes were otherwise mostly uneventful, with the Spartans holding a 6-1 shot advantage at the break. The first EWU shot of the afternoon and lone attempt of the entire first half, came at 27:33 into the game, with senior forward Cyeeta Mott’s shot saved by redshirt freshman Spartan goalie Nina Butera. Butera also came out of her goal to slap away another Eagle threat before Mott could get a foot to the ball.
Late in the period, Madej put in a cross from the right side that deflected off the head of EWU sophomore Chelsey Hannesson and came off the crossbar.
Just 3:37 into the second half, the Spartans extended their lead to 2-0 when Madej took a throw-in from freshman Danielle Drago, took a couple of dribbles into the six-yard box down the goalline on the left side, and hammered in a shot from close range for her first collegiate goal.
“It felt so good,” said the native of Santa Clara, Calif., who attended nearby Archbishop Mitty High School. “I recovered from four knee surgeries and this was my first goal since I have been here (at San Jose State). It was about time. It felt amazing. I just hugged my teammates and said finally.’
Drago, out of San Mateo, Calif., and Saint Francis High School, was credited with the assist for her first collegiate point.
In the 53rd minute, Butera fouled Mott inside the Spartan penalty box to give the visitors a penalty kick, which junior Abby Jensen converted for her second goal in as many games.
Eastern Washington equalized in the 68th minute, with Jensen again providing the scoring. The ball found Jensen in the middle of the penalty area from the left wing. Her initial shot was saved by Butera, but Jensen put away the rebound.
The game-winner came at the 82:39 mark when junior Lauren Koelzer found Mott on a through ball, with the latter player shooting from the right side of the penalty box into the left corner of the goal for a 3-2 edge. The Eagles hung on the rest of the way.
Butera finished with seven saves. Sophomore forward Roxy Kamal, who like Butera is a San Jose native and was a teammate of the goalie at Presentation High School, shared the game high with four shots to lead the Spartans. Irwin and junior forward Jessica Scott added three shots apiece.
Renz stopped three shots for Eastern Washington, while Jensen and Mott each took four shots.
“In the first half, we played well, but were flat in the second,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Siracusa. “I’m not sure why. (Eastern Washington) adjusted to us at halftime, launched balls over the top and stretched us. We didn’t deal with it very well.
“I was really happy that Kelly Madej scored her first college goal.”
The Spartans conclude a season-long four-game homestand with a pair of non-conference games in the coming week. San Jose State hosts area rival Saint Mary’s College on Friday, October 5, at 3:00 p.m. on Spartan Field, and UC Irvine on Sunday, October 7, at 5:00 p.m. inside Spartan Stadium. The latter game will serve as the first half of a Spartan soccer doubleheader, with the SJSU men scheduled to open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play against Sacramento State at approximately 7:00 p.m.
Eastern Washington (4-4) - 0 3 - 3
San Jose State (1-7-2) - 1 1 - 2
SJSU - Nicole Irwin (1) (Brittny Beshore), 15:37
SJSU - Kelly Madej (1) (Danielle Drago), 48:37
EWU - Abby Jensen (2) (penalty kick), 52:59
EWU - Abby Jensen (3) (unassisted), 67:17
EWU - Cyeeta Mott (3) (Lauren Koelzer), 82:39
EWU - 15
SJSU - 16
EWU - 3 (Ashley Renz-3)
SJSU - 7 (Nina Butera-7)
EWU - 0
SJSU - 2
EWU - 9
SJSU - 10