Behlen, Irwin earn women's soccer All-WAC honors

Boise, Idaho Liz Behlen and Nicole Irwin of the San Jose State University women’s soccer team have each been named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference for the 2005 season, as selected by league head coaches and announced Wednesday, November 2, in advance of the WAC Tournament. Behlen also added WAC “Freshman of the Year” distinction.

Behlen becomes the first San Jose State women’s soccer player to earn the WAC “Freshman of the Year” award. This is the first time since 2001 that the Spartans have had representation on the All-WAC teams, the first time since 2000 that multiple SJSU student-athletes have been selected, and the first time since 1999 that SJSU placed two players on the first team.

The 11-person first- and second-teams, as well as four individual awards, were handed out by conference administrators at the pre-tournament banquet at the Student Union Building on the campus of Boise State University.

Behlen, a freshman out of Sunnyvale, Calif., and St. Francis High School, leads the team through 19 games with eight goals scored and three assists, for a total of 19 points. She had two multiple-goal games, and six of her goals came in seven WAC contests. Her totals are the most for the Spartans’ single-season leader in the categories of goals and points since 1999, when Karli Silveira tallied nine goals and Jennifer Mescher totaled 21 points.

Behlen is currently 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). For conference games only, she is second 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).

“Liz (Behlen) deserved to be the “Freshman of the Year,”” said second-year Spartan head coach Dave Siracusa. “She was the best freshman and one of the best players in the conference. I’m glad that she received the award. It’s a first for a San Jose State player. Out of all of the quality players who have passed through the program, that is quite an honor.”

Irwin, a sophomore midfielder and native of Dublin, Calif., who attended Dublin High School, earns her first all-conference honor after being named preseason All-WAC prior to the 2005 campaign. She has two goals and a team-leading four assists, with one of her goals a 30-yard game-winning effort with 3:28 left in a 3-2 double-overtime victory over Saint Mary’s on October 26. She is tied for seventh in the WAC in assists.

“I think Nicole Irwin’s career will go through the roof,” remarked Siracusa. “She has become a great student, and now in her second season, she’s all-conference. She received more votes (on the ballot) than any other midfielder in the conference. I’m proud of her, and happy for her.”

The duo has helped lead an offense which has scored 18 goals over its last seven games, going 5-1-1 in the process. The Spartans enter the 2005 WAC Tournament with a 5-11-3 overall record. Their 4-2-1 conference mark earned them the second seed at the six-team tourney and a first-round bye. San Jose State will play either No. 3 seed Nevada or sixth-seeded host Boise State at 1:30 p.m. PST on Friday, November 4, at the Boas Soccer Complex.

The complete list of the All-WAC teams follows:

First Team
F Liz Behlen, Fr., San Jose State
F Natasha Kai, Jr., Hawai'i
F Cortney Sobrero, Jr., Fresno State
F Charity Weston, Jr., Utah State
MF Jessica Domingo, So., Hawai'i
MF Nicole Irwin, So., San Jose State
MF Kortney Lewis, Sr., Fresno State
D Rochelle Jagdeo, Jr., Fresno State
D Elizabeth Masson, Sr., Utah State
D Koren Takeyama, So., Hawai'i
GK Angie Larsen, Jr., Fresno State

Second Team
F Adria Campbell, Jr., Hawai'i
F Samantha Miller, Fr., Nevada
F Miranda Montejo, Fr., Nevada
MF Aivi Luik, Jr., Nevada
MF Tiffany McQueen, Sr., Utah State
MF Alison Sill, Fr., Fresno State
D  Krisha Kai, Jr., Hawai'i
D  Randee Robinson, Fr., Nevada
D  Allison Tsuchida, So., Boise State
D  Jessica Wilcox, So., Nevada
GK Kori Lu, Fr., Hawai'i

Offensive Player of the Year: Natasha Kai, Sr., F, Hawai'i
Defensive Player of the Year: Rochelle Jagdeo, Jr., D, Fresno State
Freshman of the Year: Liz Behlen, F, San Jose State
Coach of the Year: Pinsoom Tenzing, Hawai'i