AMBITIOUS NON-CONFERENCE SLATE READIES YOUNG SPARTANS
Head coach Dave Siracusa trotted out a starting lineup consisting of one senior, three juniors, four sophomores, one redshirt freshman and two incoming freshmen for the season opener at home against UC Irvine. The Spartans dropped a tough 2-1 decision after taking an early lead. Siracusa proceeded to start no less than seven underclassmen each game for the remainder of the campaign.
The non-conference schedule proved to be both difficult and rewarding, as San Jose State went up against the likes of fifth-ranked rival Santa Clara, 14th-ranked Stanford, 21st-ranked Cal Poly, and eventual NCAA Tournament qualifiers Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside.
SPARTANS STEP IT UP IN WAC PLAY
Though the WAC season opened on a down note with an overtime defeat at Boise State, San Jose State kept plugging away and finally turned the corner in mid-October, notching its first win of the campaign at home over Idaho on October 9, 2-0, to begin a three-game win streak. It was the Spartans’ first three-game win streak since 2000.
At the back end of the streak was a 4-0 shutout victory at Louisiana Tech on October 16, which broke a string of nine road games without a win for the program. It was also San Jose State’s first WAC road win since a 2-1 victory at Nevada on October 8, 2004.
Following a 2-0 home loss to preseason conference favorite and eventual regular-season champion Hawai’i, the Spartans posted a first-ever victory over Bay Area rival Saint Mary’s, 3-2 in double overtime. Sophomore Nicole Irwin’s powerful left-footed shot from distance was the sudden-victory game-winner with just 3:28 left in the final extra period. The Spartans followed that first up just two days later with a first-ever road win over conference rival Fresno State. Freshman Jennifer Guadagnolo tallied the game’s only goal with 3:20 remaining in regulation. The defeat gave SJSU multiple WAC road wins in the same season for the first time since 1999.
ROAD TO BOISE COMPLETE
Having been picked by league head coaches to finish third in the WAC preseason poll, San Jose State entered its final regular-season game with much at stake. Facing Nevada at home with both teams needing a win to clinch the second seed behind Hawai’i and a subsequent first-round bye at the WAC Tournament, the Spartans tied the Wolf Pack in a wild affair, 4-4. Freshman Liz Behlen produced her second two-goal game of the season, both coming in league contests. Locked in a four-way tie for second-place in the final regular-season standings, SJSU won the subsequent draw by conference administrators, to earn the No. 2 seed.
Following the first-round bye at the WAC Tournament in Boise, Idaho, San Jose State again met Nevada, this time in a conference semifinal, blanking the Wolf Pack 2-0 with a pair of second-half goals by Karin Karlsson, the first of her Spartan career, and Kristin Krale. The win gave the team a total of three consecutive wins out of San Jose in 2005, tying the school record. In the championship game the next day, San Jose State fell just short of claiming a league title, losing 1-0 to Fresno State to finish as the tournament runners-up at 6-12-3 overall.
NUMEROUS TEAM SUPERLATIVES
Siracusa guided his charges to numerous team and individual superlatives in his second year at the helm of the Spartan program. San Jose State’s six wins were the most since 2000, and its four WAC wins was the most since joining the conference in 1996. The Spartans’ 4-2-1 WAC record was their first above-.500 league mark since 1999. They earned their first WAC Tournament appearance, WAC Tournament win and WAC Tournament championship game appearance, since 2000.
The Spartans produced back-to-back four-plus goal games in the same season for the first time since 1995, the inaugural year for the program. They had three four-plus goal matches total in the same year for the first time since 2000, and the most team shutouts (five) since 1999, when they had six.
BEHLEN TOPS LIST OF INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Among 2005 individual honors for Spartan players, Behlen became the first SJSU women’s soccer player ever to take home the WAC’s “Freshman of the Year” award. She added first-team All-WAC honors, joining sophomore teammate Nicole Irwin, who garnered the most votes in the conference out of the midfield group. Irwin and fellow sophomore Jackie Cruz, who were each among just four Spartans to start all 21 games on the year (along with Krale and Amanda Villa), had previously earned preseason All-WAC distinction. Behlen was also a WAC “Player of the Week” honoree in 2005, on October 17, following a weekend in which she scored three goals and had one assist in two Spartan victories. Cruz, Irwin, Krale and a fourth sophomore, Jackie Zabek, were all named to the WAC All-Tournament team following the conclusion of the championship game in Boise against Fresno State.
Seniors Amy Bauelos and Adrienne Herbst served as tri-captains during the 2005 season, along with junior Cynthia Pinkney. Bauelos, Herbst, Karlsson, Ashley Afonso, Jennifer Domenici and Erin Lavey made up the group of departing seniors, with all six being recognized prior to the regular-season finale against Nevada.
Statistically, Behlen ranked in the top seven in the WAC in six different offensive categories. She finished with a team-high eight goals and four assists for a team-best 20 total points. The goals and points are the most for a single-season Spartan leader since 1999. Six of her goals came in WAC play, ranking her second in the conference-games-only listing.
Herbst and Lavey completed the season and their collegiate careers ranked 10th and 11th all-time in the WAC in goalie saves with 227 and 221, respectively, and second and third on the school saves chart. Herbst posted the most single-season individual shutouts (five) since 1999, tying the school record. Her seven career shutouts are second all-time in school history.