Aggie Soccer Plays To Scoreless Draw Sunday With Fresno State On Senior Day
Oct. 22, 2006
LOGAN, Utah - For the second match in a row, the Utah State soccer team did not allow a goal by the opposition, but the Aggies also did not score a goal, in playing to a 0-0 (2OT) match against Fresno State on Sunday afternoon at Chuck & Gloria Bell Soccer Field. Sunday was the Aggies' final home match of the season and was Senior Day, as Utah State was honoring its three seniors who were playing their final home contest in an Aggies' uniform.
With the tie, Utah State remains unbeaten in Western Athletic Conference play with a 3-0-2 record, while moving to 8-7-2 overall. The Aggies conclude home action with a 4-2-2 mark this season, moving to 9-2-3 against conference foes at Bell Field and unbeaten in 14 of their last 17 home contests in improving to 20-14-9 all-time at Bell Field.
Fresno State, the conference preseason favorite, also continues to be unbeaten in WAC action, moving to 4-0-1 in the league, posting shutouts in all five matches. The Bulldogs are 10-5-2 overall.
This was the second year in a row that the Aggies and Bulldogs tied in their regular-season meeting, and Utah State is now 0-2-2 vs. Fresno State, as Sunday was the Bulldogs' first-ever trip to Logan.
"Obviously this was disappointing for us," Utah State head coach Heather Cairns said. "Looking at the kids' faces after the game they are all disappointed. The reason they are disappointed is because they know that we had opportunities to win that game instead of just coming out with a tie. I did not really have to say much to them because their faces said it all."
Utah State had 13 shots, including five on goal, all after halftime, while Fresno State had 10 shots, with three on goal, also all in the second half and overtime periods.
"Our team bounced back from Friday's match, where we won but we did not possess the ball much in that match," Cairns said. "Today we really worked on our possession and we were able to dictate the pace a little bit more, which was one of our goals. Unfortunately, our second goal was to continue to be very efficient with our attacking opportunities and we were not as efficient with them as we needed to be because there were a couple great opportunities today."
Weston led Utah State with three shots, including one from six-yards out that sailed over the goal off a corner kick in the 41st minute, while Antonea Lugo was the only Fresno State player with multiple shots, firing four.
"I felt like we had just as many opportunities, if not more today," Harris said, who will be celebrating her 22nd birthday Monday. "It's hard when you play well and you have chances, especially when playing a team like Fresno State, you want to be able to put away those opportunities because those are the games that make for awesome wins."
In the 66th minute, Harris fed a through ball to freshman forward Erin Salmon who dribbled into the 18-yard box, and fired a shot from 12-yards out that was within the reach of Fresno State goalkeeper Angie Larson for the save.
Larson made five saves on the day in posting her 10th and a half shutout of the year, while USU sophomore goalkeeper Ali Griffin made three saves in posting her second shutout in a row and seventh of the season.
"Besides putting the ball in the back of the net, I thought we executed pretty well today," Cairns said. "We stayed compacted defensively, we limited their opportunities, and we were able to possess the ball a little more. We did a lot of good things, but we were just short a goal today."
A total of 37 fouls were whistled in the match, with 19 on Utah State and 18 on Fresno State, marking the second-most total fouls in a match this year, behind only the Utah match Sept. 24.
"Everyone on this team plays for each other, it is not a selfish individual thing. Every body plays for each other and that is why every one was going for every ball, we're all playing for each other and we really wanted to win this match," Harris said.
The tie keeps Utah State in the upper portion of the WAC standings, as the Aggies have 11 points off their 3-0-2 mark. With 13 points on a 4-0-1 league mark, Fresno State remains in first-place for the time being, pending the outcome of San Jose State's match at Hawai'i late Sunday night. San Jose State is 3-0-1 with 10 points.
"We're still undefeated in conference play which is not too shabby of a mark at this point," Cairns said. "We are going to have to take care of business next weekend and then let the chips fall where they may."
Utah State concludes regular-season action with a trip to the state of Idaho for two matches. The first stop is Boise, Idaho on Friday, Oct. 27 to take on Boise State at 4 p.m. (MST). The Aggies then continue on to Moscow, Idaho to face Idaho on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. (MST) in the regular-season finale.
If Utah State finishes in the top six of the WAC standings, they will be playing in the WAC Tournament Nov. 2-5 at Reno, Nev.
NOTES: Senior forward Sierra Smith became USU's career record holder for career appearances, playing in her 73rd career match on Sunday, topping the previous mark of 72 matches played mark co-held by Tiffany (Jones) McQueen (2002-05) and Brigid Turner (1999-2002)... Smith also started her 69th career match and can surpass the matches started record on Oct. 27 at Boise State ... topping the previous matches started record of 70 shared by Melissa Baggaley (2001-04) and current Aggie assistant coach Megan (Edge) Tanner (1999-2002)... Senior forwards Charlsie Harris and Charity Weston will also break the matches played mark this season, as Harris has played in 71 matches and Weston has appeared in 70... Weston has 62 career starts and will finish her career in the top five on the matches started list... Sunday was Utah State's second scoreless tie in the last four matches and was the seventh 0-0 draw in the program's history.
Fresno State (10-5-2, 4-0-1 WAC) vs. Utah State (8-7-2, 3-0-2 WAC) Date: Oct 22, 2006 Attendance: 215 Weather: Sunny, brisk and clear