The game was a battle for the second seed in the WAC Tournament, which begins Thursday, November 3, in Boise, Idaho, with both teams having already clinched berths last week. The winner would have gained the other first-round bye behind top seed and regular-season league champion Hawai’i, and thus automatic entry into Friday’s semifinals. With the tie, San Jose State (5-11-3, 4-2-1 WAC) and Nevada (10-6-2, 4-2-1 WAC) remain tied for second with 13 points apiece. A coin toss, to be held at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning, October 31, will determine the recipient of that number-two seed, as well as consequently the final seedings and pairings for the WAC tourney.
The Spartans struck early, getting back-to-back unassisted long-distance strikes by their freshman forward tandem of Liz Behlen and Jessica Scott at the 1:04 and 5:19 marks, respectively. San Jose State added to its advantage in the 27th minute when Behlen pounced on a defensive error by the Wolf Pack and put the ball in the empty net behind senior Nevada goalkeeper Megan Tarpenning. It was Behlen’s team-leading eighth goal of 2005.
Nevada came roaring back, pulling one back before the break on a Jessica Thompson goal with assists by Aivi Luik and Kristin Anderson, and then tying it with a pair of goals exactly four minutes apart early in the second half. Samantha Miller first put in a rebound after freshman Miranda Montejo’s shot was saved by senior goalkeeper Adrienne Herbst. Luik then grabbed the equalizer, heading in a free kick by Lauren Kinneman.
The Spartans regained the edge at 69:52 when Kristin Krale met a corner kick from fellow sophomore Nicole Irwin at the back post, but once again, Nevada came back to knot things up. This time, it was Kinneman heading the ball home off a cross from the right by Miller at 77:47.
Both sides produced chances to win it late, with Nevada having a goal disallowed due to a handball, as well as a Montejo shot hit off the crossbar, in the final three minutes of the second 10-minute sudden-victory overtime period.
Herbst finished with three saves in goal while Tarpenning, third all-time in the WAC in saves, made nine stops to reach the 400 mark for her career. SJSU came up with twice as many shots as Nevada, 24-12.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game like that,” said Spartan head coach Dave Siracusa. “It was such a barnburner. It was probably a fun game to watch. Looking at the statistics, we had more shots. We were beaten just once over the last seven games, so it’s been a pretty good stretch. We are much improved over last year, and much improved over earlier in the season, but it’s not over.”
Six Spartan seniors, Herbst along with fellow tri-captain Amy Bauelos, and Erin Lavey, Ashley Afonso, Karin Karlsson and Jennifer Domenici, were honored prior to kick-off on Senior Day.
SCORING SUMMARY 1 2 OT O2 TOT
Nevada (10-6-2, 4-2-1 WAC) 1 3 0 0 - 4
San Jose State (5-11-3, 4-2-1 WAC) 3 1 0 0 - 4
SJSU - Behlen (Unassisted), 1:04
SJSU Scott (Unassisted), 5:19
SJSU Behlen (Unassisted), 26:35
NEV Thompson (Luik, Anderson), 34:28
NEV Miller (Montejo), 51:09
NEV Luik (Kinneman), 55:09
SJSU Krale (Irwin), 69:52
NEV Kinneman (Miller), 77:47
NEV - 12
SJSU - 24
NEV - 9 (Tarpenning-9)
SJSU - 3 (Herbst-3)
SJSU - 5
NEV - 15
SJSU - 16