Women's soccer heads to WAC Tournament

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SPARTANS HEAD TO BOISE
San Jose State heads this week to Boise, Idaho, for the 2005 Western Athletic Conference Tournament, to be held Thursday, November 3, to Saturday, November 5, at the Boas Soccer Complex. The event is being hosted by Boise State University. San Jose State will be making its first appearance at the WAC tourney since winning its only league title in 2000, and sixth appearance overall.

San Jose State won Monday’s draw by conference administrators, to take the second seed behind top seed Hawai’i, and consequently the all-important second first-round bye, allowing the Spartans to gain direct entry into Friday’s semifinals. Four teams had finished the regular season in a tie for second place with identical 4-2-1 league records. SJSU will face Thursday’s winner between third seed Nevada (10-6-2) and sixth-seeded host Boise State (10-7-2), on Friday, November 4, beginning at 2:30 p.m. MST (1:30 p.m. PST).

Friday’s winners will meet in the championship match at 11:00 a.m. MST (10:00 a.m. PST) on Saturday, November 5, with the WAC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line. San Jose State will fly to Boise, Idaho, at 10:50 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and hold single practices at 3:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday afternoon and 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning prior to taking the field for the semifinal on Friday.

The Spartans have a record of 6-4 all-time in five previous trips to the WAC Tournament. The only current WAC member whom San Jose State has ever played previously at the WAC Tournament, is Fresno State. The Bulldogs eliminated SJSU in Dallas, Texas, in 1999, 1-0.

(2) SAN JOSE STATE (5-11-3) vs. (3) NEVADA (10-6-2)/
(6) BOISE STATE (10-7-2)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2:30 PM MST
BOAS SOCCER COMPLEX, BOISE, IDAHO

WAC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 11:00 AM MST
BOAS SOCCER COMPLEX, BOISE, IDAHO

2005 WAC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Boas Soccer Complex, Boise, Idaho

Thursday, November 3
First Round
Match 1 (4) Utah State vs. (5) Fresno State, 12:00 p.m.
Match 2 (3) Nevada vs. (6) Boise State, 2:30 p.m.

Friday, November 4
Semifinals
Match 3 (1) Hawai’i vs. 4/5, 12:00 p.m.
Match 4 (2) San Jose State vs. 3/6, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 5
Championship Match, 11:00 a.m.

*All times local.

SJSU AGAINST POTENTIAL SEMIFINAL OPPONENTS
SJSU vs. NEVADA (SJSU Leads Series, 4-1-1)
Nevada (10-6-2) will be making a first-ever postseason appearance in Thursday’s first round against Boise State. The 10 wins is a new single-season record for the Wolf Pack. Freshman Miranda Montejo leads Nevada in scoring with eight goals and four assists for 20 total points. Junior Aivi Luik has six goals and four assists. With 400 career saves, senior Megan Tarpenning (1.33 GAA) is third on the all-time WAC saves chart.

San Jose State has taken four of six all-time meetings between these teams. The teams tied this year’s regular-season meeting, 4-4 in double-overtime, in San Jose. The Spartans and Wolf Pack had played two other wild affairs, in back-to-back years in 2001 and 2002, with each prevailing 4-3 at home.

SJSU at BOISE STATE (BSU Leads Series, 3-1-1)
Boise State heads into the WAC Tournament off a 5-0 win at Louisiana Tech last Sunday. The Broncos had previously lost at Utah State, 4-0. Boise State is led by freshman Randi Baker with six goals, and Nicole Coleman with five goals and five assists. Junior Kim Parker (1.26) is the usual Bronco goalkeeper.

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 Broncos lead the all-time series, 3-1-1, and have gone 2-0-1 against the Spartans in Boise, with a pair of 2-1 victories in 2001 and 2005, and a 1-1 tie in 2004.

SCOUTING THE REST OF THE WAC TOURNEY FIELD
Hawai’i - No. 1 Seed - 9-8-2: Hawai’i closed the regular season with a 1-0 home loss to Fresno State, but still grabbed its second regular-season WAC title. The Rainbow Wahine have won six of their last eight, and are led by senior forward Natasha Kai, a two-time WAC “Player of the Year” and three-time WAC “Offensive Player of the Week” in 2005. Kai leads the conference in scoring with 32 points on 14 goals and four assists.

UH leads the all-time series, 6-4-1, having won the last five meetings, including a 2-0 win in San Jose on October 21.

Utah State - No. 4 Seed - 7-8-4: Utah State has not allowed a goal over its last three games, following a scoreless tie at Fresno State with 4-0 and 2-0 home victories over Boise State and Idaho last weekend. Charity Weston leads the Aggie attack with seven goals and four assists for 18 points. Dana Peart has scored four goals. Kelli Allred (1.49 GAA) is the regular Utah State goalie.

San Jose State rolled over Utah State, 4-2, at Spartan Stadium back on October 14. It was the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Fresno State - No. 5 Seed - 7-9-2: Fresno State won a difficult game at Hawai’i last Sunday, 1-0, after suffering a 1-0 defeat late to San Jose State inside Bulldog Stadium two nights prior. The Bulldogs are led by forward Kortney Lewis with five goals and five assists. Cortney Sobrero has tallied five goals of her own. The Fresno State defense is led by preseason WAC “Defensive Player of the Year” Rochelle Jagdeo.

Fresno State leads the all-time series with San Jose State, 8-4-1. The Spartans’ 1-0 victory last week was their first in six prior trips to Fresno, Calif.

SJSU AT THE WAC TOURNAMENT
In its last trip to the WAC Tournament, San Jose State topped UTEP (2-0), SMU (4-2) and Tulsa (3-1) within four days in Fresno, Calif., to win the championship. In Dallas, Texas, in 1999, SJSU lost to Fresno State, 1-0. In three prior appearances between 1996 and 1998, the Spartans defeated SMU once and New Mexico twice, but were eliminated by BYU each year.

LAST WEEK
San Jose State went undefeated in three games at 2-0-1 last week, to close the 2005 regular season with just one loss over its last seven contests, a 2-0 home loss to Hawai’i.

The Spartans first posted a 3-2 double-overtime home win over Saint Mary’s on Wednesday night, defeating the Gaels for the first time in their history after six losses, and notching their first non-conference win of 2005 as well. Nicole Irwin’s left-footed blast from 30 yards out into the upper corner, ended it with just 3:28 remaining in the second sudden-victory overtime session. Fellow sophomores Kristin Krale and Jackie Cruz were each credited with assists. Andrea Puljiz and Jessica Scott scored the first two Spartan goals, with Cristin Murphy assisting on each. Senior Erin Lavey made her first start of the season in goal, making seven saves over 106:32.

At Fresno State Friday, it was again a late goal that led SJSU to victory, with Irwin assisting this time on freshman Jennifer Guadagnolo’s second collegiate goal at the 86:40 mark.

At home against Nevada on Senior Day Sunday, San Jose State stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first 27 minutes, and even had a 4-3 advantage with just over 20 minutes to go, but eventually had to settle for a 4-4 tie. Liz Behlen scored two goals sandwiched around a Jessica Scott score, all unassisted, before the visitors pulled one back before the break. At 3-3, Krale turned home a corner kick by Irwin to regain the lead for the home side, but Nevada’s 78th-minute goal took the game into extra time. Both teams had their chances over the next 20 overtime minutes, but the deadlock remained. Adrienne Herbst made six saves in Fresno and three more against the Wolf Pack.

Six Spartan seniors were recognized prior to kick-off against Nevada on Sunday. They were tri-captains Herbst and Amy Bauelos, along with Lavey, Ashley Afonso, Jennifer Domenici and Karin Karlsson.

BEHLEN WAC’S “OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK”
Liz Behlen, a freshman out of Sunnyvale, Calif., and St. Francis High School, was the only 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.

SPARTAN STATISTICAL LEADERS
Through 19 games, Liz Behlen continues to lead the Spartans in both goals scored (8) and total points (19). Behlen’s totals are the most for the Spartans’ single-season leader in those categories since 1999, when Karli Silveira tallied nine goals and Jennifer Mescher totalled 21 points.

Jessica Scott, who paces the team in shots taken with 51, is second in goals scored with five. Her 51 shots is the highest single-season Spartan effort since Stacie Savage came up with 95 shots in 1997. Kristin Krale now has four goals. Junior Andrea Puljiz, sophomore Nicole Irwin and freshman Jennifer Guadagnolo have two goals apiece. Juniors Nicole Martinez and Cristin Murphy, and sophomores Jackie Cruz and Jackie Zabek have accounted for the Spartans’ other four goals. Irwin leads in assists with four and Behlen is behind her with three. Murphy, sophomore Erica Ng-Pinkerton and freshman Kaila Waitley have two assists each.

SPARTANS AMONG CONFERENCE LEADERS
Liz Behlen is in the top six in the WAC in six offensive categories, including shots (t6th, 44), shots per game (5th, 2.59), points (4th, 19), points per game (3rd, 1.12), goals (t3rd, 8) and goals per game (3rd, 0.47). Jessica Scott is fourth in shots taken (51), third in shots per game (3.19), tied for eighth in goals (5) and eighth in goals per game (0.31). Kristin Krale is ninth in shots (39) and shots per game (2.05). Nicole Irwin is tied for seventh in assists with four.

Adrienne Herbst is third in the conference in goalie saves with 82, third in saves per game at 4.56 per game and tied for third in shutouts with four. Herbst finished the 2004 season as the league leader in both save categories.

When only conference games are taken into account, Behlen is second behind Hawai’i senior Natasha Kai in points (14), points per game (2.00), goals (6) and goals per game (0.86), and fifth in both shots (22) and shots per game (3.14). Scott is second in shots (29) and shots per game (4.14). Krale is tied for fourth with three goals. Herbst is second in saves (33), saves per game (4.71) and shutouts (3).

Team-wise, San Jose State is third in the WAC in shots (275) and saves (97) in all games. In league games, the Spartans are tied for second in shots (136) and goals (16), third in points (43) and assists (11), and fourth in goals allowed (10).

LAVEY, HERBST ON WAC CAREER SAVES CHART
Both of San Jose State’s senior goalkeepers are among the top WAC goalkeepers all-time in the saves category. With her 221 stops in four years, Erin Lavey is currently 10th on the chart. Adrienne Herbst is right behind her in 11th, with 220 saves.

SPARTAN TEAM SUPERLATIVES
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.

The Spartans broke that single-season WAC wins mark with the 1-0 triumph at Fresno State on Friday, October 28. They had won three league games in a season five times.

FOUR-BY-FOUR
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.

San Jose State added a third four-goal performance for the season in the 4-4 home tie against Nevada on Senior Day. The 2000 season was the last time the Spartans scored four or more goals in three separate games.

The Spartans have scored 27 goals through 19 games thus far on the year, after tallying 19 in 2004. Sixteen of those goals came in conference play, more than double the WAC total of seven from a year ago.

LINEUP LOOKS SET
The Spartans used the exact same lineup for each of their seven conference games. That lineup 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.

MORE LINEUP NOTES
Only four Spartan players have started all 19 games thus far on the year. Those players are sophomores Jackie Cruz, Nicole Irwin and Kristin Krale and redshirt freshman Amanda Villa.

START IS KEY
San Jose State’s record is 5-4-2 when it scores first this season. When the Spartans are leading at the halftime break, they are undefeated at 3-0-2.

ROAD WOES CURBED
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.

The Spartans added a second WAC win for 2005 with the 1-0 defeat of the Dogs at Fresno State on October 28. The last time SJSU had won two league games away from home in the same year was in 1999, when it closed the regular season with wins at Tulsa and UTEP.

HOME FIELD NUMBERS
San Jose State went 3-6-2 at home this season. Of those 11 games in San Jose, four were at Spartan Field, and seven inside Spartan Stadium. SJSU went 0-4 at Spartan Field and 3-2-2 inside Spartan Stadium. All-time, SJSU is now 45-39-4 in 10-plus years at Spartan Stadium, and 3-11 in two-plus years of also using the Spartan Field venue.

YOUNG SPARTANS LEARNING ON THE RUN
Over its first 19 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.

SPARTANS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN WAC
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.

SPARTAN PAIR NAMED PRESEASON ALL-WAC
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).

2005 SCHEDULE A TOUGH ONE
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.

HEAD COACH DAVE SIRACUSA
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.