Men's soccer opens 75th anniversary season on the road

THIS WEEK:
SJSU at UC Riverside – Sunday, Sept. 1, 1:00 p.m.

UPCOMING GAMES:
SJSU vs. CS Monterey Bay – Friday, Sept. 6, 5:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium
SJSU vs. CS Northridge – Sunday, Sept. 8, 1:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium

SAN JOSE STATE:
The San Jose State University men’s soccer team looks to continue the team’s recent success and compile its third consecutive winning season in 2002. After the most successful season in team history, a 20-1-1 overall record in 2000, the team had to retool last season after losing three All-American players and four other impact starters. In 2001 the team started five freshmen, and under the circumstances performed well, posting a 9-7-4 record.

“I am extremely excited about this upcoming season,” remarked head coach Gary St. Clair. “This year we have nine starters returning, compared to just three last year. That makes a world of difference.”

Although the team lost a major offensive threat in Lars Lyssand, St. Clair feels this team will be able to compete right away and prove to be a perennial contender the next few years.

“We will be a young team, but moving up,” notes St. Clair. “This team will be outstanding for the next few years, but I think we have the personnel to make a run and certainly could be a nationally ranked team.”

While the 2000 and 2001 teams had some talented attacking players, St. Clair feels to be successful the team needs to be structured as one of the top defensive teams on the West Coast.

“It was what we did defensively that got us where we went in 2000 and that will be true in 2002,” adds St. Clair. “We have a lot of returning players on defense this season which will be a key part of our success.”

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:
UC Riverside

The Highlanders are looking to improve on a 1-14-3 overall record and a 1-7-2 showing in the Big West Conference in the team’s first year of competition in men’s soccer. The Highlanders finished the 2001 season on a high-note as they posted a 1-1 tie at Cal State Northridge. The Highlanders finished the season 1-0-2 in their last three matches.

HEAD-TO-HEAD
SJSU vs. UC Riverside

The Spartans won the only match played, 3-0, between the schools last season at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 7. Lars Lyssand had a five point game, recording two goals and an assist. This year’s senior captain Frank Sanfillipo recorded second assist of the season in the game and Frank Mata was credited with a goal and an assist.

RECENT GAMES:
The San Jose State University men’s soccer team lost a tough game to UC Santa Cruz, 1-0, in an exhibition match Sunday evening at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans, without their team captain Frank Sanfilippo and many reserves, were unable to ignite the team’s offense and take control of the game. The Banana Slugs took charge in the first half when Kevin Anderson connected with Nick Kowba who was able to edge the ball past the Spartans goalkeep. The Spartans took six shots with just one on goal. UC Santa Cruz pressured the Spartan defense recording 14 shots and nine shots on goal.

MOUNTAIN PACIFIC SPORTS FEDERATION:
The Spartans return for their seventh overall year and third consecutive year of competition in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Last year the team finished sixth overall, posting a 2-2-3 conference record. The team beat Denver in the first round of the MPSF championship, but lost a heartbreaker to Fresno State in a shootout tiebreaker, 3-2, after a scoreless match that lasted through four overtime periods. This year the MPSF lost Fresno State who joined the Pac-10 as an affiliate member.

A LOOK BACK: CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF SPARTAN MEN’S SOCCER:
The San Jose State University men’s soccer team is celebrating its 75-year anniversary this season. The Spartans first fielded a team in 1927 and have continued the tradition throughout the past 75 years. Forward Ismael "Easy" Perez was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the program and is a record holder in many offensive categories. Perez played for the 1975 through 1978 San Jose State University men’s soccer teams. The Spartans posted winning records in each of his four seasons and set a single season school record for most victories in 1978 with 19. Perez led the nation in scoring in 1975 and 1976. Perez scored 75 goals and was credited with 173 total points during his college career. He was an honorable mention All-American in 1976 and was a member of the original San Jose Earthquakes. Perez was honored by the school as one of the 11 honorees inducted into the San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame last year.


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