Oct. 28, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - - Five different Aggies scored a point as the Utah State women's soccer team shut out San Jose State, 3-0, at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on Friday. With the win, the Aggies tied a school record with their 13th win of the season. This is the first time that USU has reached the 13-win mark during the regular season as the 2008 team earned its 13th win at the WAC Tournament.
With the victory, Utah State improves to 13-4-1 overall and 4-1-1 in Western Athletic Conference action. The Aggies have won five-straight matches, which is their second streak of that length this season. San Jose State falls to 5-11-1 overall and 3-2-1 in conference play.
"They are a fantastic team. They are sitting right below us in the standings as one of the top teams in the conference. Last year we went to there place and lost, 4-1. We certainly felt like we wanted to redeem ourselves from that. We didn't feel like that was who we were. We had that in the back of our minds as well, as well as the opportunity to win the conference championship on Sunday, and we had to get through these guys to be able to do that," USU head coach Heather Cairns said.
The Aggies were aggressive the whole match and wasted no time getting on the board, scoring in the fourth minute. For the third time this season, junior defender Natalie Norris scored a goal off of a corner kick. This time, she took a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Kendra Pemberton to take the early 1-0 lead. The goal was her fourth overall this season which is a new career high for the defender. The assist was Pemberton's team-leading ninth of the season and sets a new USU record for single-season assists. She now has 14 career assists with is second overall behind senior forward Shantel Flanary and Aggie-great Lindsey Smart who both have 15.
Despite nine first-half shots, USU would only connect on one in the first half as the first 45 minutes ended with the Aggies maintaining a 1-0 lead. Utah State out-shot the Spartans 9-1 in the first half. SJSU goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald, who was stellar, made three saves in the first half, while the Spartans added one as a team.
USU came out strong in the second half, staying aggressive on both sides of the ball. The Aggies upped their lead to 2-0 in the 49th minute when Flanary, who is chasing USU history, scored her team-leading 10th goal of the season. Flanary took a throw in by sophomore forward Jessica Hoskin and dribbled past mutliple Spartan defenders to score the goal. The assist was the first collegiate point for Hoskin. Flanary now has 83 career points and is just one point shy of tying Lauren Hansen (84 points) for career points at Utah State.
In the 83rd minute, freshman forward Jade Tarver stretched the lead to 3-0 with her first collegiate goal. Tarver used her speed to score the unassisted goal. After beating several Spartan defenders, Tarver cut across the box to score to the bottom right corner and seal the USU victory.
"It was amazing, " Tarver said after scoring her first goal. "I have been wanting it for so long, and it feels great to finally put it away. It was our first home match in the last little while, and I wanted to show up for all the fans and for our team. Coming in off the bench, I felt like gave me that extra step."
Utah State ended the match out-shooting San Jose State 27-5, including a season-high 14 shots on goal. Maiwald and the Spartan defense did a great job throughout the second half with the defense earning three team saves.
USU senior goalkeeper Molli Merrill earned her third-straight WAC shutout and fourth overall in league play. For the season, Merrill and the Aggie defense have eight shutouts. Merrill dropped her goals against average to 0.62 this season.
The Aggies will conclude the regular season hosting Fresno State on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. USU will honor its five seniors Molli Merrill, Summer Tillotson, Shantel Flanary, Marissa Sanchez and Chandra Salmon-Christensen prior to the match against the Bulldogs. With a win, Utah State will capture its third WAC regular-season title. The Aggies have also won conference titles in 2008 and 2010, tying with SJSU last season.
Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
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