Spartan Notes: San Jose State soccer scores another upset, makes WAC final

Freshman Eric Mendez lifted San Jose State to another upset at the Western Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, scoring the only goal of Friday’s game against Cal State Bakersfield to lift the Spartans to a 1-0 win.

The Spartans lost twice to the Roadrunners in the regular season, 4-3 at home and 1-0 in Bakersfield.

Now, the Spartans get No. 1 seed Seattle, a team that beat the Spartans to close out the conference season, 1-0.

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Spartan Notes: Spartans’ soccer scores upset at WAC tournament

san_jose_stateThree wins. That’s it. At least they were all in conference.

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.

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