Women's Soccer Suffers Late-Goal Loss To Gaels

San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University women’s soccer team out-shot Saint Mary’s College, 25-14, including 15-4 in the second half, but a goal at 86:01 gave the visiting Gaels a 1-0 victory in non-conference action at Spartan Field on Friday, October 5.

San Jose State is now 1-8-2 on the year, with one more non-conference contest left before opening Western Athletic Conference play at Fresno State next Friday, October 12. Saint Mary’s, the third and final West Coast Conference team the Spartans will face this season, improves to 5-4-2. San Jose State had won the last two meetings between the area rivals, both in overtime.

Though the Spartans had the shot advantage, and earned four corner kicks to zero by Saint Mary’s, they could not find the goal they needed. With just under four minutes remaining in regulation, junior Gael midfielder Stefani Rocco played a ball down the right side of the field to freshman forward Alex Ciliento. Ciliento ran onto it and touched it past Spartan goalkeeper Nina Butera before calmly shooting into the empty net for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

A game-high nine of the Spartans’ 25 shots came from forward Jessica Scott, who is second on the all-time San Jose State list now with 150 attempts, and has 28 shots over her last four games.

Both teams had several long-range scoring attempts during the early part of Friday’s game on what was a windy afternoon in San Jose. The first chance from close-in came from Saint Mary’s in the 13th minute, when junior forward Mika Matsui crossed from the right and sophomore forward Allie Weiner put a point-blank header on it that went straight at Butera for the save.

Four minutes later, the Spartans earned the first corner kick of the afternoon, which ultimately resulted in a close-range shot from the right diagonal by senior midfielder Nicole Irwin that was saved by Gael goalie Tara Larson, one of eight stops for the sophomore. Within two minutes, Irwin had another attempt from the goalline blocked out of bounds by Larson for another corner.

Saint Mary’s was not called for its first foul until the 52nd minute of the game. On the ensuing free kick, Spartan Liz Behlen found fellow junior Brittny Beshore, but Beshore’s shot toward the near post was again saved by Larson. Butera wound up with three saves in net for SJSU.

Senior forward Kelly Madej, fresh off scoring her first career goal against Eastern Washington last Sunday, earned her second start as a Spartan and first of the season. Three players made their collegiate debuts in the match. True freshman Kim Johnston, out of Los Gatos, Calif., and Leigh High School, entered as a first-half substitute with 18 minutes to go in the period. Another true freshman and local product, Lauren Ng-Pinkerton, a San Jose native out of Santa Teresa High School, and redshirt freshman Natalie Malone, entered the contest together in the 57th minute. Lauren is the younger sister of current Spartan senior Erica Ng-Pinkerton.

Ng-Pinkerton in particular had a couple of nice contributions to the match. Her cross from the left wing with 15 minutes left in the game found Scott on the opposite side, with Scott banging her low shot off the outside of the back post. Less than a minute later, she slotted a deep through ball that Scott latched onto, but the junior’s attempt on goal was high.

The Spartans conclude a season-long four-game homestand against UC Irvine this Sunday, October 7, at 5:00 p.m. inside Spartan Stadium. The match 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.

Saint Mary’s (5-4-2) - 0 1 - 1
San Jose State (1-8-2) - 0 0 - 0

SMC - Alex Ciliento (5) (Stefani Rocco), 86:01

SMC - 14
SJSU - 25

Goalkeeper Saves
SMC - 8 (Tara Larson-8)
SJSU - 3 (Nina Butera-3)

Corner Kicks
SMC - 0
SJSU - 4

SMC - 4
SJSU - 8