San Jose, Calif.----Powered by a hat trick from freshman Kayla Santacruz, the first-place Spartans picked up their second victory in three days, posting a 4-1 victory over Utah State. San Jose State, which also had a goal from Kelsey Lord, improves to 10-6-1 and 4-1-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. The Spartans improved from fifth-place on October 21, to first-place in the WAC standings, sharing the lead with Boise State and Utah State, both with 13 points.
"Honestly, I think we played great today," added head coach Jeff Leightman. "On any given day the two teams are even, but today we were spot on, and I am really proud of their performance today."
Santacruz put the Spartans on board early with a fantastic header from five yards out, through the top right corner. Katie Knopp and Kelsey Lord received credit for the assist.
"First goal was magic," noted Leightman. Our midfield wins the ball, and Katie (Knopp) splits two defenders and passes to Kelsey (Lord) who makes a great diagonal run, serves it to Kayla (Santacruz) and she heads it in. It was a world class goal."
With only eight minutes passing in the first half, Santacruz powered another one through from a Lord shot, which bounced off the crossbar to Amanda Martin, who served the ball over to Santacruz for her second goal. Santacruz notched the hat trick and her ninth goal of the season in the 50th minute on yet another Lord assist, her third assist of the game.
"It felt amazing getting the hat trick today," explained Santacruz. "It was a relief to get that third goal to give us (SJSU) the four-goal lead."
The only score by the Aggies came at the 79:52 mark, when Mari Miyashiro shot one past goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald through the top left corner.
Maiwald stopped five shots and improves to 10-6-1 overall.
San Jose State completes regular season play next week in two vital WAC contests. The Spartans travel to Idaho on Thursday, October 28, to face the second-place Vandals at 3:00 p.m. On Sunday, October 31, the Spartans will host first-place Boise State in their final regular season match at 2:30 p.m. San Jose State will recognize four seniors in its final match for "Senior Day" on Sunday, October 31 and becomes a double-header with men's soccer, who will host New Mexico at 12:00 p.m.
Score by Periods:
San Jose State (10-6-1, 4-1-1 WAC) 3 1 4
Utah State (8-6-5, 4-2-1 WAC) 0 1 1
San Jose State University: Kayla Santacruz (Kelsey Lord, Katie Knopp), 5:40
San Jose State University: Kayla Santacruz (Kelsey Lord, Amanda Martin), 8:16
San Jose State University: Kelsey Lord (Shanelle Furner, Kayla Santacruz), 17:39
San Jose State University: Kayla Santacruz (Kelsey Lord), 50:23
Utah State University: Mari Miyashiro (Shantel Flanary), 79:52
San Jose State: 14
Utah State: 15
Meghan Maiwald (SJSU): 5
Molli Merrill (USU): 1
San Jose State: 2
San Jose State: 12