I'm not sure about everyone else, but I don't associate the start of San Diego State's school year with Aztec football. Yes, I definitely look forward to kickoff at Qualcomm Stadium, but nothing reminds me of the beginning of fall semester like walking from my apartment to the SDSU Sports Deck on a Friday night to watch SDSU's men's and women's soccer. In the last two years, the women's soccer team has joined the conversation for "best in the west," winning two straight Mountain West Championships and earning two consecutive bids to the NCAA Tournament--including a Sweet 16 run in 2012.
And yesterday, Head Coach Mike Friesen announced that his team picked up two transfer recruits, junior defender Meggie Gulczynski and sophomore defender Zsuria Phare. Both eligible to play this season, these two new Aztecs should help SDSU repeat its performance from last year: 13-7-2 (9-1 MWC).
Gulczynski transfers to SDSU from University of San Diego--so at least moving won't be a huge pain. She scored two goals (four total shots, three on goal) in eight games last year as a Torero. In 2012, Gulczynski scored a goal and recorded three assists en route to earning a spot on the 2012 All-West Coast Conference Freshman Team. Before college, Gulczynski won the US Youth Soccer Region IV National Championship with the San Diego Surf club team in 2011. The Aztecs play at USD on September 19--should be a fun one for Gulczynski.
Phare arrives to the Sports Deck after playing one season for Division II Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado. She scored one goal (nine total shots, three on goal) and recorded one assist as a starter for all 22 games. Phare earned NSCAA Second-Team All-South Central Region honors. She also was named to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's All-Tournament Team, as well as the All-RMAC Third Team. Phare played her club soccer with Real Colorado before attending Metro State.
The Aztecs return seven starters and 16 letterwinners, but they lose defenders Carli Johnson and Haley Palmer. Palmer, a rangy defender who played all over the pitch, was the MWC Defender of the Year in both 2012 and 2013. Johnson, Palmer's back-line cohort, earned All-MWC First Team honors in 2012 and 2013. She also was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America 2012 Second Team.
Gulczynski and Phare, along with current SDSU defenders like junior Tiffany Geer and sophomore Jen Rupey, will work to fill the void left by Johnson and Palmer.
SDSU officially kicks off its season at the Sports Deck on August 22 at 7 p.m. PT against Michigan State.