Oct. 19, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State head soccer coach Heather Cairns earned her 100th career win Friday as the Aggies battled to a 1-0 win over San Jose State at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
With the win, the Aggies improve to 10-2-6 overall and 5-0-2 in Western Athletic Conference action, maintaining their spot atop the league standings. San Jose State falls to 4-11-1 overall and 2-5-0 in league play. This is the seventh-straight season that USU has won at least nine matches in a season, and the sixth time in the next seven years that the Aggies have reached double-figures in wins.
Friday's win gives Cairns a 100-77-25 record in her 10 years at the helm of the Aggie program. She is the winningest coach in program's history and has also been head coach the longest in school history.
Utah State now has 17 points in conference play with one match remaining. Louisiana Tech is in second place with 11 points with three matches to play.
Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford earned her sixth complete shutout, making three saves in the match. As a team, USU now has eight shutouts this season, including five in WAC play.
"I think this was a really important win for our team. Coming in, I'm not going to lie; we're fatigued and banged up. The first half we lacked energy; we played okay. I think we were fortunate to go in zero-zero at halftime. We challenged them at halftime saying you've got to get more, you got to get more. Each individual needs to do a little bit more, transition wise, moving off the ball, just taking care of their business a little bit more. We came out in the second half, and said we are going to win the half, that's our goal to win the half, and we did that. San Jose State is a great team. They are much better than their record, and you saw that today. We were just really happy that we got the win. It was a real grind, but we did it," Cairns said.
San Jose State came out strong in the first half, taking three of the first four shots of the match. Megan Molina challenged Mulford in the 11th minute, but the Aggie net-minder denied the scoring chance.
The Aggies had trouble finding their rhythm in the first half, but were able to pressure SJSU goalkeeper Zoe Makrigiannis several times in the first half. Junior midfielder Jennifer Flynn had two shots on goal within three minutes that were corralled by Makrigiannis.
In the 41st minute, the Spartans had one of their best chances in the half when Cheryl Kute fired a shot that hit the cross bar and bounced away, leaving the match scoreless.
In the first half, San Jose State out-shot Utah State, 7-6, with the Spartans also leading in saves, 5-2.
The Aggies came out more with more energy in the second half, starting quickly with shots by Flynn and sophomore forward Lauren Roundy. In the 56th minute, the Aggies were able to find the back of the net for the match's only score when Flynn knocked in her team-leading sixth goal of the season off the pass from Roundy. Flynn went one-on-one with SJSU's Makrigiannis and got it past her to give USU the 1-0 advantage.
Senior defender Natalie Norris came close to her fourth goal of the season when her shot hit the cross bar. Despite 16 second-half shots, the Aggies were not able to get another goal, holding on for the one-goal win.
Utah State faced some danger in the 78th minute when a foul was called on the Aggies. The ensuing free kick from close range by Michelle Haughey was blocked by the tough Aggie defense to secure the 1-0 lead.
The blue and white ended the match out-shooting the Spartans, 22-11. San Jose State had nine saves to three by Utah State.
The Aggies will conclude the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 28, hosting second-place Louisiana Tech at Noon. Prior to the match, USU will honor its three seniors Kami Montgomery, Ashlyn Mulford and Natalie Norris.
Fans can follow the Aggie soccer program at twitter.com/USUSoccer or on facebook at facebook.com/USUSoccer. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics.
Fans can also vote for Norris for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate soccer, as the Aggie player is just one of 10 NCAA® women's soccer student-athletes who excel both on and off the field that were selected as finalists for the award. Fans can vote at http://www.seniorclassaward.com/athletes/natalie_norris/.
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