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San Jose State women’s soccer faces off against Stanford in NCAA tourney

Your round one primer

SJS women’s soccer team at the MW tournament, Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 3, 2022

Location: Laird Cagan Stadium – Stanford, CA (Sold out)

Date/Time: Friday, November 11th @ 7 PM PDT

Broadcast: ESPN+ / KZSU 90.1 FM (Stanford radio)

Head-to-head history: San Jose State (8-6-7) is 0-6 against Stanford (16-2-1)

In the timeless battles of have and have-nots, blue-collar vs. white collar and, of course, David vs. Goliath, the San Jose State women’s soccer team visits national power Stanford Friday night in the first round of the 64 team NCAA tournament.

Usually, first inclinations might say there’s no chance for the Spartans against a mighty Cardinal women’s soccer program that San Jose State has never beaten in six tries since 1998.

Any time any San Jose State program beats Stanford is a shot at the establishment that we assume more South Bay Area people certainly want to see:

  • Spartan women’s golf defeated #1 Stanford earlier in 2022
  • Spartan men’s baseball beat Stanford in 2016
  • Spartan softball over the Cardinals in 2012
  • Spartan football and men’s soccer in 2006 overcame Stanford

As one can see though, wins over elite Stanford are normally far and few in between.

But, as the saying goes - that’s why you play the game.

For these Spartan soccer athletes, there’s no doubt they’re ready and excited to go all out for the challenge - and the chance to shock the world.

Stanford women’s soccer by the numbers

The Cardinals are the Pac-12 champions for the 15th time. The Spartans have been Mountain West (MW) champions three times (2015, 2018, 2022).

The Cardinals were also NCAA champions in 2019, 2017 and 2011 (North Carolina women’s soccer are the juggernauts with 21 NCAA tourney wins).

Led by Stanford freshman Elise Evans (Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and first-team All-Pac-12), Evans is joined by another Pac-12 first teamer in Maya Doms and five other Cardinal women as second and third-team all-conference selection standouts.

The Stanford women are ninth in the nation in both scoring and goals allowed with 2.55 goals per game and a .55 goals allowed per game average.

Count on the Cardinals to pummel the Spartan goal, as Stanford is first in the nation at shots on goal (10.65 avg. per game).

San Jose State by the numbers

If you were a betting person simply looking at the Spartan’s stats, they’re obviously and clearly underdogs. In just the Mountain West conference, San Jose State was middle-of-the-road in terms of all key team stats.

How did the number three seed in the MW conference tournament reach and win the conference championship?

The easy answer is soccer is about heart, soul and fight and the working class Spartans have it all in spades (and peaking at the right team, as the saying goes).

The other answer is great team defense and an outstanding freshman goalie in Bente Pernot, who was the most valuable player of the MW tournament, along with being the MW Newcomer of the Year and second-team all conference.

The Spartans last two conference tourney games earlier this month were scoreless games decided by stout defense, penalty kick shootouts and key Pernot saves.

Including Pernot, the Spartans boast several All-Mountain West conference players that includes senior Jada Wilson who is also the MW Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all conference.

Rounding out the other Spartan mainstays are second-team all conference players, sophomore forward Bella Flocchini, senior mid-fielder Sabrina Weinman and another MW Newcomer of the Year in freshman Tatiana Cunningham of Silver Creek High School in East San Jose, CA.

By the numbers, the women of Sparta average 4.38 shots on goal per game and will have to attack more based on the adage, a good defense is more offense. Even if none hit the back of the net, there’s shock value of more shots on goal than expected.

First-year SJSU coach Tina Estrada has the trust, confidence and belief from her players in Estrada’s rejuvenated program. With Estrada also riding the wave, she is the first MW women’s soccer coach to achieve a conference title in their first season.

Only big Spartan intangibles can upset the Cardinals

The other old adage, 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, is about relentlessly outworking the competition like your life depends on it, especially against a bigger Stanford team.

And yet another timeless sports adage: good defense wins championships, which the Spartans and the Cardinals both have well enough to possibly get to a scoreless regulation tie - which in itself is its own kind of win for the Spartans.

In the ultimate team sport where time does not stop to regroup and re-strategize, expect the Spartans to hit overdrive on the inspiration part, because 100% will only hit par Friday night.