Women's Soccer Goes On The Road With WAC Title On The Line

The San Jose State women’s soccer team looks to earn a third consecutive Western Athletic Conference title this week when it travels to first-place Utah State and WAC rival Nevada. The games are the final contests of the regular season.
Friday at Utah State (12-4-1, 4-1-1 WAC), 2 p.m. PT
Sunday at Nevada (3-14, 1-4 WAC), 2 p.m. PT
LIVE STATS Live stats are available free of charge on www.sjsuspartans.com for all San Jose State home matches and select road contests. Click on the Live Stats icon at the top of the San Jose State Athletics web page and select the game by clicking on the camera icon.  Fans can also access the live stats from the Schedule/Results section of the women's soccer home page.
ABOUT SAN JOSE STATE The Spartans (5-10-1, 3-1-1 WAC) went undefeated last weekend with two WAC wins over visiting New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech. The final 88 seconds of Friday’s double overtime win against the Aggies included three yellow cards, a red card and a game-winning penalty kick in the final second of the game. Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Techsters came on Senior Day when SJSU honored 10 of its players playing in their final game as a Spartan in Spartan Stadium.
Kelsey Lord is the team’s leading scorer with six goals and four assists for 16 points. Lord is also the team’s top shooter with 36 shots and 16 on goal. Four different players have notched two assists for the Spartans this season. Goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald has logged over 1,400 minutes in goal, posting a team-high 87 saves and a 1.60 goals against average.
SERIES HISTORY Utah State holds a 3-2-2 advantage in the all-time series against SJSU. The Spartans won last season’s meeting 4-0 at Spartan Stadium, and are on a two-game unbeaten streak against the Aggies (1-0-1) dating to 2009. Utah State had a string of three wins and a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) from 2006-09. San Jose State won the first meeting between the two teams 4-2 on Oct. 14, 2005.
The Spartans have commanded the all-time series against Nevada since it began in 2000, posting a 9-3-1 record. San Jose State won the teams’ first meeting 4-0 on Oct. 1, 2000. The Spartans have won four of their last five games against Nevada. They are 4-2 in the series as the road team, last falling in Reno, Nev., in 2006.
ABOUT UTAH STATE The Aggies (12-4-1, 4-1-1 WAC) are on a four-game winning streak and own the best overall record in the WAC. They are atop the conference standings with 12 points. Utah State controls its own destiny this week, hosting both second-place teams (SJSU, Fresno State) on Friday and Sunday. A weekend sweep would clinch the WAC title for Utah State.
Shantel Flannery, a three-time WAC Offensive Player of the Week this season, leads the Aggies with nine goals and four assists (22 points). Kendra Pemberton is second in the conference with eight assists and has 18 points on the year. Goalkeeper Molli Merrill, a two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Week in 2011, has logged over 1,500 minutes minding the net for Utah State posting seven shutouts.
ABOUT NEVADA The Wolfpack (3-14, 1-4 WAC) has struggled as of late, losing three in a row and six of its last seven. There’s still hope for getting into the postseason however, as Nevada sits two points out of the sixth and final spot for the WAC Tournament with two games to play.
Three players have scored multiple goals for the Wolfpack, led by Kori Disarufino with three. Aleina Dominguez and Annabelle Allen lead the team with two assists each. Jenna Riddle and Dana Moreno have split time in goal for Nevada, though Riddle has more saves (50) and a lower goals against average (2.13).
WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK Goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald was named the Verizon WAC Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 17-23. She ended the week with a scoreless streak of 137 minutes, 17 seconds, including a solo shutout of Louisiana Tech on Senior Day, Oct. 23. She led the Spartans to two WAC wins, helping the team secure a place in the WAC Tournament for the seventh straight season.
Maiwald made nine saves against the Lady Techsters, and had four against New Mexico State on Oct. 21, including a critical stop in double overtime that extended the game, which the Spartans would later win in the last second of overtime.
The Spartans’ first player of the week recognition of 2011 came when senior Lauren Sanchez was named the Verizon WAC Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 12-18.
FOLLOWING A WINNING PATTERN San Jose State has begun the WAC season the same way it did in 2010 when it won the regular season championship – with a 3-1-1 record. Last year’s 3-1-1 start included a 1-1 tie against Hawaii and a 2-1 win over New Mexico State, as does this season’s. In 2009 when the Spartans won its first regular season title, the team started 3-0-2.
ONE OR NONE IN OCTOBER The Spartans have not allowed more than one goal to an opponent in any of their six games this month. The team holds a 0.62 goals against average and has made 30 saves while holding opponents to 14 shots per game. SJSU has outscored opponents 10-4 in October. 
FALLING GOALS AGAINST Senior goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald has tightened her lock on opponents’ scoring opportunities in the last six games. Maiwald has dropped her season goals against average from 2.17 to 1.60. She has posted a 0.66 goals against average in 548 minutes, 44 seconds minding the net during that stretch with 30 saves and two shutouts: a solo job against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 23, and a combined shutout of Dominican on Oct. 4.
PLAYING THEM CLOSE SJSU has been involved in eight one-goal games this year, holding a 3-5 record in those matches. 13 of the Spartans’ 16 games have been decided by two goals or less. Of the Spartans’ 10 losses this season, five of them have come by one goal, including three straight one-goal setbacks to open the season.
SPREADING THE SCORING 12 different players have scored at least one of the Spartans’ 18 goals this season. Kelsey Lord leads the way with six tallies, her most recent coming in the form of a game-winner against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 23. Catherine Ruder scored her first collegiate goal on Aug. 26 against No. 13 UC Irvine, and McColl Matthews got her first collegiate score Sept. 9 at CSU Bakersfield. Jessica Ingram tallied a goal Aug. 28 at UC Riverside, while Shanelle Furner and Kelsy Holm both notched scores Sept. 6 against UC Davis. Lauren Sanchez got on the board with a goal Sept. 18 against Portland State. Kayla Santacruz tallied a game-tying goal against Idaho on Oct. 2. Abigail Hernandez netted her first collegiate goal and Megan Molina got her first of the season against Dominican (Calif.) on Oct. 4. Cheryl Kute notched a header goal versus New Mexico State on Oct. 21 and Maria Esquivias got her first score of the year against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 23.
RECORDS FOR LORD Last weekend was full of milestones for junior forward Kelsey Lord. Over the course of two games, she set the SJSU career record for assists with her 18th and tied the career record for game-winning goals with her fourth of the season and 10th of her career. Lord has already this season moved into the top three for career records in goals (21) and points (60), and sits sixth all-time in shots (128).
SHUTOUTS FOR MAIWALD Maiwald’s solo shutout of Louisiana Tech Oct. 23 was the eighth of her career, moving her into third all-time at San Jose State. Her combined shutout on Oct. 4 against Dominican with teammate Gladis Covarrubias gives her nine total shutouts in her career, third all-time at SJSU. Maiwald’s predecessor Nina Butera (2007-09) is second with 10 career combined shutouts.
HEAD COACH JEFF LEIGHTMAN Jeff Leightman is in his fourth season leading the San Jose State women’s soccer program. Leightman has collected a 33-34-11 record at the helm of the Spartans while winning back-to-back Western Athletic Conference regular season titles in 2009-10.
UP NEXT The Spartans will head to Fresno, Calif., for the 2011 WAC soccer tournament on Nov. 3, 4 and 6. The top six teams in the conference will vie for an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. The top two teams at regular season’s end will have a first-round bye.