Denver, Colo. - San Jose State University midfielder Nicole Irwin was named the Western Athletic Conference women’s soccer “Offensive Player of the Week” on Monday, October 23. It was Irwin’s second weekly conference honor for both her career and season, and fourth for a Spartan in the last three weeks.
Irwin, a junior out of Dublin, Calif., and Dublin High School, produced a three-goal second-half hat trick to lead San Jose State to a 4-2 triumph at defending WAC regular-season champion Hawai’i on Sunday, October 22.
With the Spartans ahead 1-0 at halftime, Irwin scored unassisted just 3:09 into the second half to increase her team’s lead, shooting left-footed from near the top of the penalty box, into the right corner of the goal. The 2005 first-team All-WAC and 2006 preseason All-WAC selection then made it a 3-0 game at 65:26, taking a through ball from Jessica Scott and firing left-footed from the left side of the penalty area into the right netting. After back-to-back goals pulled the Rainbow Wahine to within one goal at 3-2, Irwin put the result out of doubt with a 30-yard left-footed blast over UH goalkeeper Kori Lu and into the upper left corner of the net. Irwin received the ball from a defensive giveaway. The unassisted goal was her eighth on the year, with seven of them coming in league play. Irwin earned credit for her team-leading fourth game-winning goal of 2006, which also ties for the WAC lead.
Irwin’s hat trick was the second in as many games for a Spartan player after Scott achieved the feat exactly one week earlier, and the seventh in the 12-year history of the program. It was also the third hat trick for a WAC player in 2006, and second in WAC play, along with Scott’s. Irwin took just three shots during the game, with all three resulting in goals. She had previously earned WAC "Offensive Player of the Week" distinction back on October 9. Scott and goalkeeper Marissa Dayton swept offensive and defensive honors on October 16.
Irwin now leads the Spartans in goals scored (8) and points (20). She is tied for second in assists (4), and second in shots (36) and shots on goal (18). The eight goals is a career high.
Utah State's sophomore goalkeeper Ali Griffin picked up WAC "Defensive Player of the Week" honors after leading the Aggies to a 2-0-1 week in league play.
With the victory in its only game last week, San Jose State’s record is now at 7-8-2 overall and a still-unbeaten 4-0-1 in the WAC. The Spartans are tied atop the latest conference standings with defending WAC Tournament champion Fresno State, at 13 points from five games apiece. The rivals meet at Spartan Field in San Jose on Senior Day this Friday, October 27. Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m.
Other offensive nominees included: Antonea Lugo, Fresno State; Karen Zmirak, Nevada and Dana Peart, Utah State.
Other defensive nominees included: Rochelle Jagdeo, Fresno State; Caitlin Holmes, Nevada and Kristin Krale, San Jose State.