Southwestern Swing Kicks Off Season's Second Half

THE SCHEDULE: San José State hits the road for its desert swing this week, kicking off the second half of its season at Grand Canyon on Friday night before taking to Las Vegas to face UNLV on Sunday. Friday's match will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. with Sunday's set for a 10:30 a.m. start. 

FOLLOW ALONG: Both matches will be streamed live on the WAC Digital Network with Jack O'Hara, Kyle Borg and Montana Lambdin on the call for Friday's tilt and Wyatt Tomchek behind the mic on Sunday. Live stats will be available for both contests and you can follow every San José State men's soccer game live on Twitter, @SanJoseStateMS.

- "We are definitely excited to play Grand Canyon," says head coach Simon Tobin. "They have a fabulous facility and always generate an exciting atmosphere. Obviously we faced them in last season's conference championship game so that adds a little spice to the contest." 

- "UNLV tends to play very similar to ourselves," Tobin says. "I expect the match to be a back and forth, technical battle as we look to pick up some bonus points on the road."

- Six different players (Nicolas Brenes, Eduardo Buenfil, Suliman Khorami, Danny Sanchez, Rodolfo Castro and Omar Lemus) have scored at least one goal this season. 

- Castro tops the team with 10 points in just nine appearances for the Spartans. Both Castro and Sanchez notched two-goal performances in Friday's 6-0  victory over Kansas City, marking the program's first match with multiple multi-goal scorers since Oct. 10, 2014 (Rory Knibbs and Greg Harte at Air Force). 

- The six-goal win set a program record for margin of victory in a conference match and was the team's largest win of any kind since Aug. 29, 2003 (6-0 vs. Notre Dame de Namur). 

- Brenes is currently enjoying one of the hottest stretches of anyone in the country, tallying four goals in his last three matches. His four strikes ranks second in the WAC in goals scored in conference matches, just one back of the current leader (Declan McGlynn, Seattle University). 

- Castro leads the team in shots taken, firing off 24 shots in his nine games on the 2019 campaign.

- Freshman David Sweeney leads the team with 32 saves in just seven appearances. His nine saves against CSU Bakersfield last month were a career high and the team's most in a match this season. 

- Defender Omar Lemus tops the team with three assists heading into this week's play. 

- San José State ranks No. 19 nationally and second in the WAC in shot accuracy (.491), narrowly trailing national-leader Western Michigan (.610). Midfielder Nicolas Brenes is slotted at No. 18 in the country and second in the conference in the category with a .619 average. 

- The Spartans are currently No. 49 nationally in saves per game at a clip of 4.30 per match. Freshman David Sweeney leads the club with 32 saves made in five appearances. 

- San José State has played Grand Canyon seven times in program history, leading the all-time series with a record of 4-2-1. 

- The Spartans are undefeated against the Lopes in Phoenix, winning 2-1 in 2014 before earning a 1-1 draw two years later. Friday's match will mark the first meeting between the two program's since the 2018 WAC title match. 

- Grand Canyon is 4-3-2 (1-11 WAC) on the season and is coming off a 2-1 defeat at CSU Bakersfield on Sunday. The club is a perfect 3-0 at home this season and has yet to give up a goal, defeating and shutting out Northern Kentucky, Oregon State and Incarnate Word. 

- The team finished the 2018 campaign with a 12-8-1 record and ended the year with one of the country's longest unbeaten streaks at seven matches. Its season ultimately came to an end at UC Irvine, falling 6-5 in PKs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

- San José State and UNLV have met 47 times in program history with the Spartans earning a result in 20 of those matches.   

- SJSU took down the Rebels by a tally of 2-1 a year ago. Current Spartans Eduardo Buenfil and Suliman Khorami were the team's goalscorers in that victory. 

- The Rebels enter the third week of conference play with a record of 2-9 (0-3 WAC), falling by a score of 4-0 at California Baptist in its last match. They will play one more contest before hosting San José State, facing Seattle University in the shadow of The Strip on Friday night. 

- 2019 marks the sixth season at the helm in San José for Tobin, who joined the Spartans after spending the previous 27 seasons as the head coach at CSU Bakersfield. 

- Tobin is a native of London, England, graduating from Nonington College in 1983. 

- His 338 career victories entering the 2019 campaign ranked No. 10 in all of Division I among active coaches.  

- Postseason success has been a staple of Tobin's time in San José as the Spartans have made the Western Athletic Conference title match in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

- He has continued to turn out some of the top talent in the conference year in and year out, placing a total of 15 players on the All-Western Athletic Conference Team throughout his tenure.

- San José State's coaching staff features three men who each saw success in their collegiate playing days at universities throughout the state.

Jonathan Lester is a Spartan alumnus and ranks No. 4 on the program's all time saves list with a dominant 225 in just three years.

Jesus Sanchez played for Tobin at CSU Bakersfield, finishing his four seasons there with 16 goals and 27 assists while compiling a record of 40-22-15.

Nic Ryan rounds out the staff as a volunteer assistant coach. He played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara, reaching the NCAA Tournament three times in four years with the Gauchos. 

- Lester is in his third year on staff with the Spartans, while both Sanchez and Ryan came aboard prior to the start of the 2018 season.  

- San José State's 2019 roster features 12 newcomers, nine of which are freshmen. 

- 10 of the 12 newcomers hail from California, bringing the team's total to 24 in-state products.

- SJSU was one of five teams to receive a first-place vote in the WAC Preseason Poll. The defending WAC Championship runner-up finished sixth in the poll of the conference coaches.

- Tobin has taken the program to back-to-back WAC title match appearances. This year's conference tournament is scheduled for November 13-17 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

- The San José State squad features a trio of European players in the form of freshman Kasper Poulsgaard, sophomore Finlay Wood and junior Max Allen. Poulsgaard hails from Denmark, while Wood and Allen come to San José from Wales and England, respectively. 

- The Spartans will face five NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in 2019, with both Saint Mary's (September 9) and Air Force (October 27) coming to the Spartan Soccer Complex. 

- Senior Jeff Dukes has gotten the job done both on the field and in the classroom, earning Academic All-WAC recognition last season. It was the second such award for Dukes in his collegiate career. 

- SJSU prepared for the regular season with a pair of serviceable exhibition matches. The club played a 110-minute friendly at California before returning home and defeating Holy Cross. 

- San José State will finish the regular season playing six of its final eight matches on the road, embarking on a pair of three-game road trips across five different states. 

- The team has already played four road games this season, including matches at No. 1 Stanford and rival Santa Clara. 

- The Spartans have impressed away from home recently, posting an 11-10-4 record in their last 25 matches played outside of the Spartan Soccer Complex. 

- The Spartans seven non-conference opponents represent three different conferences (Big West, WCC, Pac-12). 

- Two of SJSU's matches this year (No. 1 Stanford, No. 8 Saint Mary's) came against opponents ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. 

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