Oct. 7, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - - Despite cold temperatures and wind, the Utah State women's soccer team broke out of its offensive slump with a 2-0 win over New Mexico State Friday at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field. After scoring two goals in their last five matches, USU broke through for two goals in the 40-degree temperatures.
Utah State won its first match since Sept. 11 and improves to 9-4-1 overall and evens out its Western Athletic Conference record at 1-1. New Mexico State falls to 7-6-1 overall and 0-2-0 in league play. USU is now 3-0-0 all time against NMSU.The Aggies also improved to 6-0-0 at home with the win, while the nine wins matches the win total of all of last season as USU ended the 2010 campaign with a 9-7-5 record.
"Coming into this game, both New Mexico State and us had lost our WAC openers, so we thought that it was important to emphasize this game. When you are in the WAC, travel is really hard, so you have to make sure you take care of the games that you have at home and then try to steal some on the road. We have been very good at home and have great crowd support. We really wanted to get our mojo back and get some confidence back. I thought that the girls did a really good job of that today," USU head coach Heather Cairns said.
The Aggies took the early lead in the 37th minute when freshman forward Jade Tarver got the ball to sophomore midfielder Kendra Pemberton off of a deflection. Pemberton scored her second goal of the season to put the blue Aggies up 1-0. The sophomore is now second on the team in points scored with 10 off of two goals and six assists.
The half would end with Utah State holding onto the 1-0 advantage. In the first half, the blue Aggies had the slight 5-4 shot lead over the maroon Aggies.
In the second half, USU came out strong, taking the first five shots of the half. One of those shots gave Utah State a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute. Senior forward Shantel Flanary broke out of a bit of an offensive slump to score her team-leading ninth goal of the season. After stellar passes from sophomore forward Mari Miyashiro and sophomore midfielder Jennifer Flynn, Flanary took the one-touch pass from the right corner and scored from seven yards out.
"We practice finishing all the time in practice and Jennifer Flynn placed a perfect ball, and I was in the right place at the right time," Flanary said.
Senior goalkeeper Molli Merrill earned her fifth shutout of the season. Merrill and the tough Aggie defense have allowed only 12 goals in 14 matches this season.
"It was good to get a shutout. We haven't been scoring, and we have been getting scored on more than we like so today's result is a good one. It was really fun. We are 1-1 in the WAC, and we are 6-0 at home," senior defender Summer Tillotson said.
The Aggies conclude the brief two-match homestand on Sunday, Oct. 9 against Louisiana Tech at 1 p.m. It is Alumni Day for the Aggies and USU will recognize several former Utah State soccer players at half time.
Fans can follow USU soccer on Twitter at http://twitter.com at USU Soccer and Utah State Athletics at USUAthletics.
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