SPARTANS ADVANCE IN HEART STOPPING FASHION
San José State advanced out of the Mountain West semifinal on penalty kicks, and then two days later won the championship on PK’s against San Diego State. Viewer’s heart rate were already high heading into the shootouts, as both matches also had equalizing goals in the 90th minute of regulation. SJSU dominated New Mexico in the semifinal match, but let in a goal with less than a minute remaining. Then in the final, it was San José State which put in the tying goal in the 90th minute on a PK after a handball in the box.
THE UNLIKELY HERO
It seems unbelievable that the Mountain West Tournament MVP played a grand total of 2:08 throughout two matches. But in freshman keeper Paige Simoneau’s case, that’s exactly what happened. Head coach Lauren Hanson lifted the MW Defensive Player of the Year, Zoe Makrigiannis, in favor of Simoneau for both PK rounds in the semifinal and championship matches. After only appearing in five matches throughout the year, Simoneau stepped into the biggest moments of the season and stopped a total of three PKs. Head coach Lauren Hanson said after each match that there was no doubt that if the team went to penalty kicks, Simoneau was coming in.
CHAPA COMES IN HOT
Head coach Lauren Hanson decided to go with the hot hand, or foot, heading into the Mountain West championship electing to start Maricruz Chapa at the forward position. The decision paid for the Orange Cove, Calif., native who scored in the semifinal match and spearheaded many of the Spartans’ attacks during the tournament. Hanson called Chapa, “first class”, following her semifinal performance.
SPARTANS PRIDE THEMSELVES ON DEFENSE
San José State had the best defense in the Mountain West per a 0.54 goals against average in 11 conference matches and six shutouts. The Spartans held the conference’s offensive player of the year to just two shots in a match at Colorado College, and blanked the Nevada Wolf Pack on the shot sheet in a match at home. Senior keeper Zoe Makrigiannis was named the MW Defensive Player of the Year and senior defender Rachel Docherty was a Mountain West Honorable Mention defender.
San José State finished the regular season 7-3-2 on the road and 5-1-0 in Mountain West play. The team started out league play with four consecutive shutouts on the road. The Spartans played 423:01 in league play on the road before allowing their first goal to New Mexico on October 16.
Lauren Hanson WINS MW COACH OF THE YEAR
Second-year Spartans head coach Lauren Hanson is the 2015 Mountain West Coach of the Year. She led the team to an 8-3-0 record in conference play, and notched the program’s first 10-win season since 2010. Hanson is San José State’s first-ever Coach of the Year in the Mountain West in any sport since aligning with the conference in 2013. The Spartans finished the regular season in second place and with a first-round bye in the Mountain West Championship Tournament after being predicted to finish seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
San José State made its only trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2000. The Spartans fell to Stanford by a score of 4-1 in the first game. SJSU reached the tournament by winning three straight games in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, including a 3-1 win over Tulsa in the championship match.
FIVE SPARTANS ARE ALL MW PLAYERS
The Mountain West announced that Zoe Makrigiannis, Darlene Rodriguez and Dorthe Hoppius are first-team all-conference honorees. Additionally, freshman Darriell Franklin is a second team all-conference player and Rachel Docherty is an honorable mention defender. Makrigiannis, who registered six shutouts in conference play, is the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. Five conference honorees is tied for the most in program history with the 2009 team which had five All-Western Athletic Conference players.
HOW IT ALL UNFOLDED
San José State started the conference season guns blazing, winning six of the first seven matches. The run included four straight wins on the road, all by way of shutouts by the Spartan defense and the eventual defensive player of the year, keeper Zoe Makrigiannis. Freshman Darriell Franklin had game-winning goals in the first two conference matches, and she went on to add two more throughout the year. Dorthe Hoppius kicked it into gear down the stretch, scoring five goals and giving SJSU its fifth road victory with a golden goal in overtime at New Mexico. San José State fell, 2-1, to San Diego State in a battle for first place at the SDSU Sports Deck. It was the first of two losses in a row, as UNLV came to San Jose and shutout the Spartans, 1-0. But, SJSU finished strong with consecutive 2-0 shutouts of Nevada and Fresno State to finish 8-3-0 in MW play, which was good for second place and a first-round bye in the championship tournament.
MAKRIGIANNIS’ CAREER SNAPSHOT
The 2015 MW Defensive Player of the Year, Zoe Makrigiannis, has logged over 1,000 minutes in all four years of her Spartan career, and has a record of 23-27-6. She is the program’s all-time leader in shutouts with 16, second all-time with a 1.20 career goals against average and fifth all-time with 223 saves. 2015 marks the second consecutive year which the Surrey, B.C., Canada native has garnered first-team all-conference recognition.
SPARTAN UP, LOCK DOWN
Zoe is the defensive player of the year for a reason, but before opposing forwards get to her, they have to crack a very tough backline. Starters Rachel Docherty, Claire Berkley and Myia Wilkes were a huge part of why San José State outscored its MW foes 15-6 this season. Nine of the 11 opponents during conference play were held to less than five shots on goal, including Nevada, which didn’t even get one shot off in the contest on Oct. 25. In a battle at Colorado College, San José State’s defense limited the MW Offensive Player of the Year in Sarah Schweiss to just two shots. The Tigers as a team only managed three shots that day.
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT WITH FRANKLIN-HOPPIUS TANDEM
Darriell Franklin’s eight goals matches the San José State record for goals in a single-season by a freshman. Together with Hoppius, the freshman-sophomore tandem combined for 16 goals, second only to San Diego State’s Pruitt-Mitchell combination which scored 18 times. Franklin came in and was the immediate source of offense for the Spartansin 2015, but the two started firing on all cylinders together after Hoppius assisted Franklin’s game-winning goal in overtime in the conference opener at Wyoming.
GREAT DEPTH HAS HELPED CARRY THE SPARTANS
San José State has shown great depth on both offense and defense in 2015. There have been 10 different goal scorers this year, which is a continuation from Lauren Hanson’s first year as head coach in 2014 when there were 12 different goal scorers. Maricruz Chapa, Courtney Elterman and Veronica Chung make up a versatile first group off the bench for the Spartans. They have three goals and five assists among them. Daria Manzano and Hayden Kelley have also been key reserves for SJSU down the stretch of MW play.