SAN JOSE, Calif. - Seniors Mandy Martin and Maria Esquivias made sure their final game at Spartan Stadium was a memorable one.
Martin assisted on the Spartans' game-winner and Esquivias added a goal to help San Jose State clinch a berth in the Western Athletic Conference tournament next month in a 2-0 win over Louisiana Tech on Senior Day Sunday.
The Spartans (5-10-1, 3-1-1 WAC) have won four of their last six matches and are currently on a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) thanks to back-to-back WAC victories to close out their home schedule. Sunday's 2-0 win over Louisiana Tech gives the Spartans 10 points in the conference standings, ensuring no less than a No. 4 seed in the WAC tournament to be played in Fresno, Calif., on Nov. 3-6.
SJSU and the Lady Techsters (8-7-4, 1-5 WAC) battled to a scoreless first half. It was the 10th time this season the Spartans shut out their opponent in the first 45 minutes. Louisiana Tech held a 10-2 shot advantage in the first half, forcing SJSU senior goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald to make five of her nine saves before halftime.
"We just said at halftime, 'Let's play,' and as soon as we started playing we were on top of the match. The lesson is we just need to play and do the things we do well," said San Jose State head coach Jeff Leightman.
Maiwald would finish the game with nine stops in goal en route to her second solo shutout of the season. It was the eighth solo shutout of her career, and ninth combined shutout in her two seasons with the Spartans.
"It's a great win. (The shutout) feels awesome," Maiwald said. "It's nice to get a shutout, especially on this day."
"Meghan has played great all year. She's saved our bacon a number of times. I'm really proud of her."
In the 52nd minute, Mandy Martin dribbled down the sideline past two defenders. She sent a cross towards the opposite end of the box, where Kelsey Lord leaped up to head the ball in. Louisiana Tech attempted to clear the ball out of the goal before it crossed the line, but the Spartans were awarded the goal and a 1-0 lead.
The goal was Lord's second in as many games and her sixth of the season. With the game-winner, four of Lord's six goals this season have given the Spartans a victory.
San Jose State's second half effort was drastically different from the first half. The Spartans put up 14 shots after managing two in the first half, got two corner kicks and scored two goals in the final 45 minutes.
The Spartans' second goal came in the 72nd minute when Gabriella Stange passed a ball from midfield out to Sarah Fraser. Fraser dribbled into the box and kicked the ball towards the goal. As Louisiana Tech's goalkeeper Caitlin Updyke came out to make a save, Esquivias kicked the ball right past her for a 2-0 San Jose State lead.
The Spartans go on the road and will try to defend their back-to-back WAC titles with games at first place Utah State and conference rival Nevada on Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, respectively. A total of five teams are separated by two points at the top of the WAC standings heading into the final weekend of conference play.
Score by Periods
1 2 F
Louisiana Tech (8-7-4, 1-5 WAC) 0 0 - 0
San Jose State (5-10-1, 3-1-1 WAC) 0 2 - 2
SJSU -- Kelsey Lord (Mandy Martin), 51:56
SJSU -- Maria Esquivias (Sarah Fraser, Gabriella Stange), 71:22
La. Tech -- 19
SJSU -- 16
La. Tech -- 1
SJSU -- 2
Caitlin Updyke (La. Tech) -- 4
Meghan Maiwald (SJSU) -- 9