Women's Soccer Goes After WAC Crown

The San Jose State University women's soccer team takes its 13-match unbeaten string into the final weekend of the regular season in search of the first regular-season Western Athletic Conference title in program history. The Spartans, now 10-4-3 overall and alone in first-place with a still-undefeated 4-0-2 league mark, first host the rival Bulldogs of Fresno State this Friday, October 30, on Senior Night. Kick-off inside Spartan Stadium is slated for 5:00 p.m., following a special ceremony honoring seven Spartan players. San Jose State is one point ahead of New Mexico State in the conference standings, while the Bulldogs are in third, two points back. A victory Friday would clinch a top-two seed and subsequent first-day bye at the WAC Tournament. A win, coupled with a New Mexico State home loss to Nevada later Friday, would cement the regular-season WAC crown. The Spartans then make the first of two trips in a week to Boise, Idaho, to face Boise State on Sunday, November 1. Start time at the Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex is 12:00 p.m. Pacific. San Jose State is 5-2-1 at Spartan Stadium and 5-2-2 away from home.

vs. FRESNO STATE (6-11, 4-3 WAC)

GAME #19

SJSUSpartans.com is providing free on-line audio coverage, live from Spartan Stadium, for seven matches in 2009. The men's draw with Santa Clara on Sunday, September 27, marked the premiere. The Spartan women made their debut with last Friday's match against Idaho. The Senior Night meeting at 5:00 p.m. with the rival Bulldogs of Fresno State this Friday, October 30, was also added to the schedule. Former KSJS (90.5 FM) sports director and current Spartan Athletics sports information assistant Shawn Murphy calls the play-by-play. Air time is slated for 4:45 p.m. on Friday evening against the Bulldogs. Please click here to access the broadcast.

Live stats for all San Jose State home soccer matches are available courtesy of JumpTV and NeuLion at SJSUSpartans.com. Live stats are available for a majority of the team's road contests as well, including this Sunday's match at Boise State, also courtesy of JumpTV and NeuLion. Just click on Live Stats under Live from the top menu bar on the front page, or on Schedule/Results from the women's soccer home page, and access the live stats from there.

SAN JOSE STATE (10-4-3, 4-0-2 WAC) vs. FRESNO STATE (6-11, 4-3 WAC)
(FS Leads Series, 12-4-1)

Fresno State is the defending WAC Tournament champion, and last year's WAC representative at the NCAA Championship. The Bulldogs are coming off a weekend conference split at home, as they fell 2-1 to Boise State last Friday, October 23, before blanking visiting Idaho two days later, 1-0, on a seventh-minute goal by freshman Bianca Lopez, the first of her college career, in front of 3,772 spectators.

The Bulldogs are led by junior forward Claudia Cardenas, a transfer from FIU who has 10 points from five goals. Fresno State has scored just seven other times in its 17 matches, and has not won back-to-back games all year. The Bulldogs, who got off to an 0-5 start, are 3-7 away from home. Their goalkeeper is junior Kaitlyn Revel (1.33 GAA, 71 saves, four shutouts), a first-team All-WAC pick in 2008.

Fresno State leads the all-time series, 12-4-1, including 5-3 in San Jose. The teams have met at least once each season since San Jose State's inaugural year as a women's soccer program in 1995. Twice in recent years, the Bulldogs have squeaked out narrow 1-0 victories with under 10 seconds remaining in double overtime, including the latest meeting last October 10 at Spartan Field, when Nicole Gutierrez produced a controversial winner with four ticks showing. Previously, the Bulldogs had scored with eight seconds left in the second and final extra period, to break Spartan hearts at the 2006 WAC Tournament in Reno, Nev. Fresno State has won five straight match-ups in all, with four by 1-0 scorelines, and the other one by a 2-0 decision. The last time the Spartans managed a goal against Fresno State, also marked their last win over their rivals, 1-0, in Fresno on October 28, 2005. No members of the current San Jose State team or staff, were with the program then. San Jose State has not scored against Fresno State in 493:08.

Brian Zwaschka is in his first season in charge at Fresno State.

SAN JOSE STATE (10-4-3, 4-0-2 WAC) at BOISE STATE (8-6-4, 3-3 WAC)
(BSU Leads Series, 6-2-2)

Boise State is still trying to cement its spot at the WAC Tournament, which it will be hosting at the Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex for the third time in the last five years, November 5-8. The Broncos' hopes were boosted last Friday, October 23, by a 2-1 victory at Fresno State, thanks to first-half strikes by senior Kaylea Perenon and sophomore Ashley Walsh. The Broncos produced a seven-match unbeaten streak earlier in the year, with four straight draws mixed in between a trio of wins.

Boise State features the WAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in junior forward Shannon Saxton, who garned WAC Freshman of the Year distinction in 2007. Saxton has compiled a team-best 14 points from six goals and a pair of assists. Freshman striking partner Erica Parks has 12 points from five goals and two assists, while another true freshman, Maureen Fitzergald, like Saxton a native of Beaverton, Ore., has eight points from two goals and a team-best four assists. Sophomore Liz Ruiz (0.81 GAA, 52 saves, three shutouts), a one-time WAC Defensive Player of the Week this year, and senior Jennifer Burns (0.91 GAA, 24 saves, two shutouts), have split the majority of the minutes in the Bronco goal. Boise State has allowed more than two goals in a game just once in 2009, in a 3-1 loss at in-state rival Idaho (10/18).

Boise State leads the all-time series, 6-2-2. The teams have met at least once each year since 2001. This will be the second straight year in which the Spartans and Broncos conclude the regular season against each other in Boise. The Broncos took a 2-1 decision last November 2 after Emmy Belding had put the Spartans on top in the 34th minute, with Jessica Ingram assisting. The winner came just 2:34 from the end of regulation. Boise State then subsequently put a capper on San Jose State's season with another 2-1 defeat in the first round of the WAC Tournament in Reno, Nev., four days later. Belding was again the Spartan goal-scorer, with the winner again coming within the final 10 minutes, at 80:28.

San Jose State has never beaten Boise State in Boise, now at 0-3-1 there. Including two previous forays to Boise for WAC tournaments, the Spartans are 1-5-1 all-time in that city, their lone win coming at the 2005 WAC Tournament over Nevada. They will make a return trip early next week for this year's WAC tourney. San Jose State has gone 0-3-1 against Boise State, with three successive losses, since a 3-0 home win on October 6, 2006. Steve Lucas is 81-85-22 overall in his 10th season as the Boise State head coach.

San Jose State won both of its games last week, posting a 2-1 triumph in front of the home crowd against Idaho in a league contest on Friday night, October 23, before travelling south for a 2-0 shutout decision at Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday afternoon, October 25. The Spartans trotted out to an early 2-0 lead over the Vandals on a pair of Emmy Belding goals, both assisted by fellow senior Roxy Kamal. Nina Butera matched her single-game career high with 12 saves to help fend off the opponent. Kelsey Lord and Katie Bonadies were the goal-scorers against the 'Runners, with Belding and Kamal both assisting on the game-winning opener, and Lauren Ng-Pinkerton providing the cross for the 77th-minute clincher. Butera (61:19, two saves) and Danielle Anderson (28:41, two saves) combined on the Spartans' seventh shutout.

San Jose State has gone unbeaten in 13 consecutive games for the first time in program history. The Spartans previously had a five-match unbeaten run in their 14-plus years, back in 2006, with a scoreless draw at Utah State sprinkled in between four league triumphs. They have gone 10-0-3 over their last 13, playing to a 1-1 tie at Sacramento State (10/4) to conclude a school-record six-game win streak, a scoreless home draw with new Western Athletic Conference foe New Mexico State (10/11), and another 1-1 road tie at defending regular-season league champion Utah State (10/18).

The Spartans eclipsed yet another program record in that match at Utah State, going unbeaten in six successive road contests and bettering a five-game stretch away from home in 1999. They have since extended that run to seven games. With its results at Lafayette, Howard and Hawai'i, San Jose State also took three successive road matches for the first time since 2005, equalling that program standard. In 2005, the Spartans won at Louisiana Tech, 4-0 (October 16), at Fresno State, 1-0 (October 28), and against Nevada, 2-0 (November 4), at the WAC Tournament in Boise, Idaho.

Just prior to the scheduled 5:00 p.m. kick-off against Fresno State on Friday, October 30, seven San Jose State players who will be appearing in their final match inside Spartan Stadium, will be recognized. The group, consisting of Emmy Belding, Brittany Boehm, Katie Bonadies, Nina Butera, Roxy Kamal, Angela Nuñez and Hallsie Pacheco, has led the way in this history-making season so far for the Spartans.

San Jose State has not won on Senior Day or Senior Night since 2000, going 0-7-1 in its final home date of the season from then until now. In 2000, the Spartans downed Fresno State, who they will face in this year's home finale, 2-1. They went on to sweep through the WAC Tournament, in Fresno, Calif., and earn the first NCAA Championship berth in program history.

San Jose State remained in the 10th spot in the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) West Region poll for a fourth straight week when the latest installment was released on Tuesday, October 27. The Spartans are rated regionally for the first time this decade. The NSCAA is divided into eight regions in 2009, including both Pacific and West. The West includes the Western Athletic Conference, West Coast Conference and Big West Conference, while the Pacific consists of the Pacific-10 Conference, Mountain West Conference and Big Sky Conference.

TopDrawerSoccer.com includes San Jose State in its latest Women's Tournament 64 rankings, a running attempt to project the 2009 NCAA Championship's field of 64 teams, including every automatic conference berth. The national on-line publication has the Spartans occupying the 52nd spot.

With the 2-1 home victory over Idaho on Friday, October 23, San Jose State clinched its first winning season in a decade, since completing the 1999 campaign at 12-7-1. The Spartans went 3-2-1 in Western Athletic Conference play that year under head coach Philippe Blin, and were beaten on the first day of the WAC Tournament, 1-0, by Fresno State in Dallas, Texas. With the triumph over Idaho, San Jose State moved to 9-4-3 in 2009, and could not fall back to the .500 mark or below during the remainder of the year. The Spartans are above .500 through 17 games for the first time since starting 10-6-1 in 1999. They have been at .500 or above this late in the season just four other times in their 15-year history, in 1999, 1997 (10-6-1), 1996 (11-5-1) and 1995 (10-6).

San Jose State's 2-1 home win over Idaho on Friday, October 23, marked its fourth league triumph of the season, matching another program standard. The Spartans had previously reached four WAC victories twice, in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006, with identical 4-2-1 records. San Jose State has never before completed a league season without a loss. The team is currently 4-0-2 in WAC play, and in search of its first regular-season WAC crown, having won the 2000 WAC Tournament title.