Women's Soccer Preview:
San Jose State (8-6-1, 2-1-1 WAC) has two matches on tap this week, as the Spartans are scheduled to host Nevada (6-8-2, 1-4-0 WAC) on Friday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. and Utah State (8-4-5, 4-0-1 WAC) on Sunday, October 24 at 1:00 p.m. It will mark the team's first weekend to host two Western Athletic Conference matches this year. Both matches will be played at Spartan Stadium and gates will open 1 hour prior to the start of the contest. Tickets for each match are $5 for adults, $3 for youth (12 & under) and $1 for youth in jersey. SJSU students get in for free with student ID.
Fans can follow both games via Live Stats at SJSUSpartans.com. Links can be found under the Live Stats button on the front page.
Scouting The Wolf Pack:
Led by first-year head coach Missy Price, Nevada is coming off one of its best seasons in program history where the team set a program record for conference wins in a season (5) and advanced to the final of the WAC Tournament for just the second time in school history. Nevada returns seven seniors and three all-WAC Tournament performers along with key returners, Natalie Ratnavira and Jill Erickson who were named to the WAC Preseason Team. Nevada dropped a pair of one-goal outcomes this past week losing 2-1 in overtime to Boise State on October 17 and 1-0 on October 15 against Idaho. Natalie Ratnavira and Erin Smith lead the team in scoring with four goals apiece. Goalkeeper Marie Cove averages a .837 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.09.
The Series With Nevada:
San Jose State leads the all-time series, 8-2-1. The teams have met at least once each season since 2000. The Spartans have won each of the past three match-ups, 2-1 at Spartan Stadium in 2007, 1-0 at Nevada in 2008, and 3-1 in Reno a year ago. The Wolf Pack's last win over the Spartans came at home, 3-1, on October 29, 2006.
Undefeated At Home Against The Pack:
San Jose State is 5-0 at Spartan Stadium when hosting Nevada. The Spartans hosted the Wolf Pack in 2001 for the first time in the series, winning 3-2 in overtime. The last match held at Spartan Stadium on October 14, 2007, the Spartans won, 2-1.
Scouting The Aggies:
The Aggies return 13 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team that finished 10-9-2 and advanced to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals. Two all-WAC honorees return to the starting 11 for the Aggies in forward Shantel Flanary and midfielder Chandra Salmon who both earned first-team honors. Improving its unbeaten streak to four, first-place Utah State tied Boise State in a scoreless 0-0 match at home on October 15, and grabbed a win at Idaho, 2-0 on October 17. Forward Lauren Hansen leads the team in points (21) with nine goals this season. Goalkeeper Molli Merrill and Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week (For the week of October 4-10) holds a .080 goals-against average for a .793 save percentage.
The Series With Utah State:
Utah State leads the young series between these teams, 3-1-2. They have met once each year since 2005 and twice in 2007, including the WAC Tournament. The Aggies hold a four-game unbeaten streak over the Spartans, by an aggregate score of 12-3, including a 1-1 double-overtime tie in Utah on October 18, 2010. San Jose State's lone victory came in the inaugural match-up, 4-2, at home in 2005.
Top 20 College Players To Watch:
The most recent Top Drawer Soccer "Conference Top Players to Watch" list, ranked two Spartans in the Top 20 for the week. Junior defender Jessica Ingram ranked 9th overall, and was classified as the only defender in the top 9. Sophomore forward Kelsey Lord placed 17th overall.
San Jose State's offense was ranked among the top in the Western Athletic Conference - only matches, in the week ending October 20. SJSU led the conference in assists per game (2.25), and was runner-up in points (27), goals (9), goals per game (2.25) and assists (9). In individual WAC-only statistics, Forward Kelsey Lord finished the week placing second in shots per game (4.50) and assists per game (.075). Lord also finished with three assists, good for third in the WAC. Midfielder Kayla Santacruz ranked among the top in WAC individual statistics placing first in points per game (2.50) and goals per game (1.00), then rounding out the top three in total goals (4) and points (10).
Words From Head Coach:
"This is a critical weekend for us," explained head coach Jeff Leightman. "We have two quality opponents so we have our work cut out for us. We're at the point in a season where our players are seeing some injuries. We need to find a way through that to get the results and put ourselves in good shape heading into the WAC Tournament."
Last Week's Results:
Split a pair on the road, edged in overtime loss, 5-4, at Louisiana Tech Friday, October 15 and defeated New Mexico State, 2-1, on Sunday, October 17. The Spartans captured a 2-1 lead when junior forward Maria Esquivias scored off a Katie Knopp rebound in the 70th minute, knocking her 16th shot of the season and her first goal of the year for the game-winner. The Spartans tied their season record, scoring five goals in a single weekend. Forward Kelsey Lord and Midfielder Kayla Santacruz each tallied a pair of goals and grabbed two assists each over the weekend.
SJSU will play its final two matches in regular season starting at Idaho on Thursday, October 28 at 3:00 p.m. then returning home for "Senior Day" on Sunday, October 31 to face Boise State at 2:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium. Sunday's match against Boise State is a double-header with men's soccer, who will host New Mexico at 12:00 p.m.