Utah State Soccer Prepares for Season With 1-0 Exhibition Win Over Southern Utah Saturday
Aug. 11, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton knocked in the lone goal to give the Utah State soccer team a 1-0 win over Southern Utah in the Aggies' only exhibition of the season at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on Saturday.
This is the second-straight season that a Pemberton goal has given the Aggies an edge over the Thunderbirds in an exhibition. Last year, she netted USU's lone goal in a 1-0 Aggie victory on Aug. 13 in Cedar City.
"I think it was a perfect exhibition for us. Obviously, we're replacing four seniors who played a lot of minutes for us, we have had some injuries that we're taking care of, and we've got some people coming back from injuries that are new from last year. Also adding to the mix are some new freshmen and some new transfers, so our team is a lot different, but I thought they responded very well today in this exhibition," USU head coach Heather Cairns said.
Despite scoring only one goal, the Aggies had the offensive advantage throughout most of the match, out-shooting the Thunderbirds, 23-3. SUU goalkeeper Charly Booth made eight saves in the match. Utah State split time between two goalkeepers with senior Ashlyn Mulford and freshman Jeannie Woller both getting 45 minutes of shutout action.
Several newcomers had great showings for the Aggies, including freshman forward Danielle Gatambide who had two shots on goal and junior transfer midfielder Robin Hansen who had several good offensive chances.
Despite USU's challenges, the first half ended 0-0 with USU holding a commanding 15-2 shot advantage. The Aggies continued to apply the pressure in the second half before Pemberton finally got the ball in the back of the net.
Over 500 fans came to Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on the warm, sunny Saturday afternoon for the first game with USU's new permanent bleachers on the west side of the stadium. Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field, which was originally built in 2002, has been a sweet home for USU soccer, which has amassed a tremendous 62-25-14 record at Bell Field, including a 9-0-1 record in 2011.
"The first half you could tell was a little choppy, and we couldn't quite find our rhythm. But I thought in the second half; we did a much better job. To score a goal is fantastic, and we had a lot of close calls with some others. That will come as the season goes, but the great news about that is that we did have a lot of opportunities to finish. I thought we tightened things up defensively in the second half and were a lot sharper defensively in the second half after they got in on us a couple times in the first half," Cairns said.
USU opens the 2012 campaign against in-state rival Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. The Aggies home opener will be on Sunday, Aug. 19 against UTEP at Noon. Tickets for the match at Rio Tinto are $5 and available for the Rio Tinto Stadium Box Office (hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at 801-727-2700 or at RioTintoStadium.com). Kids 17 & under can enter free with a soccer jersey.
For the first time, the Aggies will be streaming all home soccer matches through www.UtahStateAggies.com. There is a Utah State All-Access Monthly Subscription for $9.95 and a Utah State All-Access Yearly Subscription for $79.95.
Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
GOALS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total Southern Utah 0 0 0 Utah State 0 1 1