Their final 6-12-1 overall record may not show it, but the 2011 San Jose State women's soccer team was a talented bunch that found itself on the wrong end of numerous close games.
For that, the Spartans still qualified for their seventh consecutive Western Athletic Conference tournament and finished among the top three teams for the third straight year. The team went 3-1-1 in its final five games of the regular season after beginning 2011 with an 0-7 record and lead early on against Idaho in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals, only to suffer its sixth one-goal loss of the season, 2-1.
"It's been a season of highs and lows," said head coach Jeff Leightman. "We've played a lot of good soccer. I was proud of our players because when lows were lows we didn't really get down on ourselves and stayed together, stayed on the same page. I think for some reason the soccer gods didn't see it our way."
Things really got rolling for San Jose State in October when the team posted three shutouts and went 5-2-1 on its way to the postseason. Individually, Junior Kelsey Lord etched her name into the Spartans' record book by setting a new career record for assists with 19. She also moved into the top three for career records in goals (21) and points (61), and sits sixth all-time in shots (132).
The team graduated 10 seniors, but will return a bevy of youth for 2012, led by Catherine Ruder, who as a rookie played the second-most minutes of any field position player on the team.
"Regardless of the year results-wise, I was very proud of our players," said Leightman. "Our seniors, they meant a lot to our team and turning our program around. Now we look towards 2012."