It’s been a hard year for the San Jose State men’s soccer team. They didn’t get into the win column until late September, a month and a half into the season. They struggled to score at times, and lost a lot of games by wide margins to mediocre competition (5-0 to Houston Baptist; 6-1 to Cal Poly).
So, they were going to be easy pickings at the WAC tournament at the Air Force Academy on Thursday, right? Wrong. the Spartans, the sixth seed in the tournament, knocked off No. 3 UNLV on penalty kicks, 9-8, after playing to a 2-2 tie through two overtimes.
They got a lift from freshman Uriel Ayala, who score the game-winning goal in a shootout. Frankie Beauchamp had a goal and assist, and team scoring leader Rory Knibbs added his eighth goal for San Jose State.
The Spartans entered the WAC soccer tournament at the Air Force Academy not exactly riding a high. Yes, they were better in their last five games — 2-2-1 — then they had been all season. It helped that the Spartans had beaten UNLV for their first win of the season.
If the Spartans are to run the table at the WAC tournament, it will likely have to include defeating the conference’s top three seeds. They knocked off UNLV Thursday, will have to knock off No. 2 seed Cal State Bakersfield on Friday to reach the final, where top-seeded Seattle will likely be waiting.
They face the Roadrunners at 5 p.m. Friday.
In other San Jose State news …
- San Jose State volleyball’s winning streak ended at three with a 3-0 loss (25-18, 25-16, 25-19) at Utah State. Hanah Blume had eight kills, Sydney LaFollette had a .417 hitting percentage with six kills, and Michaela Leonard had 34 assists. San Jose State falls to 8-18 on the season and 5-10 in conference. They are at Boise State on Saturday.
- The San Jose State men’s basketball team opens play at the NIU Invitational Friday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 2:30 p.m. It’s the first meeting between the two teams.
- Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News has a good story on David Fales returning to play in Reno for the first time since he transferred there. He left when he was told by then-Nevada coach Chris Ault that he wasn’t going to play in the pistol offense they installed for Colin Kaepernick.
- The University of San Diego, on the verge of clinching the Pioneer League title, has self sanctioned itself and will miss the playoffs regardless of what happens this year because of potential financial aid violations. They play in the Pioneer League, which plays on the FCS level but follows D-III (need based scholarships only) rules. Why is this important for San Jose State? San Diego was coached for the previous six seasons by San Jose State coach Rob Caragher. It’s unknown at this point if he was involved at all.