Women's soccer closes regular season with WAC tourney berth in hand

Click on the links at the bottom for this week's complete release and updated statistics in PDF format.

Having guaranteed itself a spot in the 2005 Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the San Jose State University women’s soccer team (3-11-2, 3-2 WAC) concludes the regular season this week with three games on tap. The Spartans first finish off the non-conference portion of their schedule against local foe Saint Mary’s College (8-6-2) on Wednesday, October 26, before winding up the WAC regular season with a 7:00 p.m. road game at Fresno State (6-8-2, 3-1-1 WAC) on Friday, October 28, and a 1:00 p.m. home game inside Spartan Stadium against Nevada (10-5-1, 4-1 WAC) on Senior Day on Sunday, October 30.

SAN JOSE STATE (3-11-2) vs. SAINT MARY’S (8-6-2)

SAN JOSE STATE (3-11-2, 3-2 WAC) at FRESNO STATE (6-8-2, 3-1-1)

SAN JOSE STATE (3-11-2, 3-2 WAC) vs. NEVADA (10-5-1, 4-1 WAC)

San Jose State dropped a 2-0 home decision against Hawai’i at Spartan Field last Friday in a battle of teams which entered the match as WAC co-leaders. In an evenly-contested game which featured 25 shots for Hawai’i and 23 for the Spartans, it was the Rainbow Wahine who found the goals, scoring twice in the second half to nab the victory. Adrienne Herbst made six saves for SJSU, while Jessica Scott fired a game-high eight shots on the UH goal.

SAN JOSE STATE vs. SAINT MARY’S (Saint Mary’s Leads Series, 6-0)
Saint Mary’s (8-6-2) is coming off a 2-2 double-overtime tie at home against 15th-ranked Pepperdine on Sunday, October 23. The Gaels, members of the West Coast Conference, are led by freshman Nikki Schrey with six goals and three assists. Senior Katie Frattone has five goals. Senior Alicia Artuso (1.26 GAA) and sophomore Andrea Lee (1.11 GAA) have split time in goal for the Gaels. Saint Mary’s has shown considerable improvement since the 2004 campaign, boasting a 2-2-1 league record after going winless at 0-7 in WCC play a year ago.

San Jose State will be looking for its first-ever win against Saint Mary’s, having lost all six previous meetings. The teams have faced off once each year since 1999, with the Gaels winning 4-0 in Moraga, Calif., a season ago.

SAN JOSE STATE at FRESNO STATE (Fresno State Leads Series, 8-3-1)
Fresno State (6-8-2, 3-1-1 WAC) is currently on a four-game unbeaten run, having not allowed a single goal in three wins and one tie since October 14. The Bulldogs feature WAC preseason “Defensive Player of the Year” Rochelle Jagdeo on their backline, and are led offensively by senior Kortney Lewis with five goals and five assists. Junior Cortney Sobrero, a preseason All-WAC pick, also has notched five goals. Junior Angie Larsen leads the conference in goals-against-average (0.70) and is tied in shutouts (5).

Fresno State has earned an 11th straight trip to the WAC Tournament, or every year since the program began competition in 1995. The first meeting between these teams was also that year, with the Dogs now holding an 8-3-1 series advantage. San Jose State won last year’s meeting in San Jose, 2-0, to snap a three-game losing streak against the Bulldogs. The Spartans are 0-4-1 in games played in Fresno, Calif.

SAN JOSE STATE vs. NEVADA (SJSU Leads Series, 4-1)
Nevada (10-5-1, 4-1 WAC) clinched its first-ever WAC Tournament berth with a 4-0 home win over Louisiana Tech last Sunday. The Wolf Pack swept the Xbox Live WAC weekly honors this week, with freshman Jessica Thompson and sophomore Jessica Wilcox earning offensive and defensive “Player of the Week” distinction, respectively. Thompson tallied a pair of goals and an assist in the La. Tech win. Freshman Miranda Montejo leads Nevada in scoring with eight goals and three assists for 19 total points. With 387 career saves, senior Megan Tarpenning (1.06 GAA) is third on the all-time WAC saves chart. Nevada plays at Hawai’i on Friday before coming to San Jose.

San Jose State has taken four of five all-time meetings between these teams, outscoring the Wolf Pack in the process, 19-9. The Spartans won last year’s match in Reno, Nev., 2-1. San Jose State has won both games in San Jose, 4-3 in overtime in 2001, and 2-0 in 2003. The Spartans and Wolf Pack played back-to-back, wild affairs in 2001 and 2002, with each prevailing 4-3 on their home field.

With results elsewhere over the weekend, San Jose State clinched its first berth in a Western Athletic Conference Tournament since the 2000 season, when the Spartans won their only league title. The 2005 WAC Tournament will be held at the Boas Soccer Complex in Boise, Idaho, Thursday through Saturday, November 3-5, and hosted by Boise State University. This will be the Spartans’ sixth appearance at a WAC tourney.

San Jose State will be making its second trip of 2005 to Boise, for the conference tourney. The Spartans opened the WAC season with a tough 2-1 overtime loss there against Boise State.

The exact order of the final regular-season finish, and thus the tournament seedings, will be determined following this weekend’s games. San Jose State, currently tied for fourth place with Boise State at nine points, can still finish anywhere from first to sixth. The top two teams in the final regular-season league standings, get first-round byes into the semifinals at the WAC tourney. Hawai’i, Nevada, Fresno State, Boise State and Utah State will join San Jose State in Boise. The winner of the WAC Tournament gains automatic entry into the NCAA Tournament.

Liz Behlen, a freshman out of Sunnyvale, Calif., and St. Francis High School, became the first Spartan player in 2005 to earn weekly conference honors. She was named WAC “Offensive Player of the Week” on Monday, October 17, following a weekend performance in which she scored three goals and added an assist for seven total points, helping to lead SJSU to a pair of important league victories over Utah State and Louisiana Tech.

Through 16 games, Liz Behlen continues to lead the Spartans in most offensive categories, including goals scored (6), assists (3) and total points (15). Jessica Scott, who paces the team in shots taken with 42, is second in goals along with sophomore Kristin Krale with three goals apiece. Juniors Nicole Martinez, Cristin Murphy and Andrea Puljiz, sophomores Jackie Cruz, Nicole Irwin and Jackie Zabek, and freshman Jennifer Guadagnolo have accounted for the Spartans’ other seven goals. Irwin, sophomore Erica Ng-Pinkerton and freshman Kaila Waitley have two assists each.

Liz Behlen is in the top eight in the WAC in six offensive categories, including shots (8th, 35), shots per game (7th, 2.50), points (t6th, 15), points per game (4th, 1.07), goals (t4th, 6) and goals per game (4th, 0.43). Jessica Scott is tied for fourth in shots taken (42), and third in shots per game (3.23).

Adrienne Herbst is third in the conference in goalie saves with 73, third in saves per game at 4.56 per game and tied for fourth in shutouts with three. Herbst finished the 2004 season as the league leader in both save categories.

With her six saves in the home victory over Utah State on Friday night, October 14, Adrienne Herbst moved into 10th place on the all-time WAC saves chart. Herbst now has 211 saves in two-plus years in a Spartan uniform. Former Hawai’i goalkeeper Amanda Paterson is in ninth with 238 career saves.

A three-game win streak between October 9-16, helped San Jose State equal or better a number of milestones for the program. The three-game win streak was the Spartans’ first since they won three games in four days to take their one and only WAC Tournament title in Fresno, Calif., in November, 2000. The three conference triumphs not only surpassed the 2004 total of two (2-5-1), but also equalled the mark of most single-season league wins since the program’s inaugural year in the WAC, 1996.

San Jose State scored four goals in consecutive wins over Utah State and Louisiana Tech on October 14 and 16. The only other time in Spartan women’s soccer history that SJSU had scored four or more goals in back-to-back contests was at the very start of the program’s existence. SJSU defeated UC Santa Cruz, 5-2, and Azusa Pacific, 8-0, to open the 1995 season, its first year. The Spartans scored 10 goals during their three-game win streak after recording nine through their first 12 games of 2005.

The Spartans have used the exact same lineup for each of their first five WAC games. That lineup has featured Adrienne Herbst in goal, Amanda Villa, Jackie Cruz and Brittny Beshore from left to right on the defensive line, Nicole Irwin, Nicole Martinez, Jennifer Guadagnolo, Jackie Zabek and Kristin Krale in midfield, and the freshman tandem of Liz Behlen and Jessica Scott at the forward spots.

Only five Spartan players have started all 16 games thus far on the year. Those players are sophomores Jackie Cruz, Nicole Irwin and Kristin Krale, redshirt freshman Amanda Villa, and senior goalkeeper Adrienne Herbst.

San Jose State’s record is 3-4-1 when it scores first this season. When the Spartans are able to hang on to their advantage until the halftime break, however, the story is different, as they are undefeated at 3-0-1 when ahead at the intermission.

The 4-0 win over Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., on Sunday, October 16, was San Jose State’s first road triumph of the 2005 season. The Spartans’ previous win on the road came at UC Davis, 1-0, on October 22, 2004. They had gone winless in nine road games since. SJSU’s previous road WAC win came at Nevada, 2-1, on October 8, 2004.

San Jose State is 2-6-1 at home this season. Of those nine games in San Jose, four have been at Spartan Field, and five inside Spartan Stadium. SJSU has gone 0-4 at Spartan Field and 2-2-1 inside Spartan Stadium. All-time, SJSU is now 44-39-3 in 10-plus years at Spartan Stadium, and 3-11 in two-plus years of also using the Spartan Field venue.

Over its first 16 matches this season, San Jose State has had a minimum of seven first- or second-year players in its starting lineup each time out. Those seven have included sophomores Jackie Cruz, Nicole Irwin, Kristin Krale, Tasha Van Dixhorn, Heidi Romswinckel-Guise and Jackie Zabek, freshmen Liz Behlen, Brittny Beshore, Angela Dohrmann, Jennifer Guadagnolo and Jessica Scott, and redshirt freshmen Kelly Madej and Amanda Villa. In addition, the Spartans have had one or two juniors competing in their first year of major college soccer, starting in each game thus far. They have been Cristin Murphy, Nicole Martinez and tri-captain Cynthia Pinkney. The only veteran upperclassmen who have been on the field at the starting whistle have been senior tri-captains Adrienne Herbst and Amy Bauelos, and junior midfielder Andrea Puljiz.

San Jose State was voted by league coaches to finish third this season in the eight-team Western Athletic Conference. The Spartans finished eighth among nine members in 2004, falling one win short of a trip to the WAC Tournament. SJSU’s last appearance at the WAC Tournament was in 2000, when it won the championship.

SJSU sophomores Jackie Cruz and Nicole Irwin were named to the 11-player preseason All-WAC team by league head coaches. Cruz anchors the defense while Irwin is the Spartans’ leading returning scorer (four goals in 2004).

San Jose State has three teams on its 2005 schedule which participated in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The game September 2 at Stanford marked the Spartans’ first test against such an opponent. San Jose State also hosted Cal Poly on September 9, and Santa Clara on September 28.

Dave Siracusa is in his second season as the San Jose State University women's soccer coach. He was named the Spartan head coach on December 2, 2003.

In his first season with the Spartans, he directed the team to a 5-13-1 win-loss record, more than twice the number of wins than the season before his arrival, and one victory away from qualifying for the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. He came to San Jose State after spending three seasons as an assistant coach for the San Diego State men's soccer team and the associate director of soccer operations for the Aztec Soccer Academy.

Prior to San Diego State, Siracusa worked at Cal State Stanislaus as the head men's and women's coach. He took over the dual coaching duties in 1999 after being hired in June, 1998, to become the first head women’s coach in school history.