Aggie Soccer Plays Texas State and TCU This Weekend In Texas
Senior Co-Captain Shannon Ross returns to her home state of Texas as the Aggies play at Texas State on Friday night and TCU on Sunday afternoon.
Senior Co-Captain Shannon Ross returns to her home state of Texas as the Aggies play at Texas State on Friday night and TCU on Sunday afternoon.

Aug. 27, 2007

LOGAN, Utah -

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ON TAP: Utah State at Texas State / at Texas Christian University
Friday, Aug. 31, 6 p.m. / Sunday, Sept. 2, Noon
San Marcos, Texas / Fort Worth, Texas

UP NEXT: Utah State vs. UC Irvine / at Northern Arizona
Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m. / Sunday, Sept. 9, 3 p.m.
Northern Arizona Tournament, Flagstaff, Ariz.

KICKING OFF 2007 - Utah State soccer officially opens the 2007 season by traveling to San Marcos, Texas to face Texas State on Friday, Aug. 31. The match is slated for 6 p.m. MT at Texas State's Bobcat Soccer Complex.

The Aggies continue action on the road Sunday, Sept. 2, battling Texas Christian. The match begins at Noon MT and will be played at TCU's Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.

Including both the Texas State and TCU matces, USU kicks off the season with five straight road matches before returning home Sept. 14 hosting Oregon.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - This is the first time Utah State has opened the season in the state of Texas and it is the second straight year the Aggies have opened the season on the road. This is the sixth time overall USU has started away from home. It is the third time out of those six years that Utah State has had two straight road matches to kick off a year.

Overall, Utah State is 3-8 in regular season openers, going 2-5 in road season openers. The Aggies are also 3-8 in their first road match of the season.

LAST MATCH - Utah State freshman Lauren Hansen had a successful Aggie debut, as she scored USU's lone goal in a 1-1 tie with Dixie State in an exhibition match on Aug. 18. The Aggies tied despite outshooting the Rebels, 33-7, including 14-3 in the second half.



Hansen scored the first goal of the game assisted by senior midfielder Dana Peart, which came in the sixth minute of action and was shot from the top of the 18-yard box. Dixie State reponded in the 11th minute of the match to tie up the score.

Junior goalkeeper Lisa Willardson recorded two saves in the first half of action, while fellow junior netminder Ali Griffin came in at the half and recorded three saves in 65 minutes of action.

WAC PRESEASON POLL - Utah State was tabbed third in the Preseason WAC Coaches' Poll, as the Aggies garnered 34 points and two first place votes. Senior forward Dana Peart and sophomore midfielder Lindsey Smart were named to the Preseason all-WAC Soccer Team, while Smart was also tabbed the WAC Preseason co-Defensive Player of the Year.

STRENGTH AND EXPERIENCE IN NUMBERS - The Aggies have 22 returning letterwinners and nine starters from last season's squad that went 10-8-2 on the year, including 5-0-2 in WAC play. Cairns welcomes five newcomers to the ranks, the smallest freshman class under Cairns in her tenure.

Headlining the returners this season is senior midfielder Dana Peart, who was named to the Preseason all-WAC Soccer Yeam and earned second-team all-conference honors last year. Peart, was one of seven Aggies to start all 20 matches and was third on the team with eight points (three goals, one assist). She also tied for third in the WAC with three game-winning goals.

Also returning is sophomore defender Lindsey Smart, who was tabbed the WAC Preseason co-Defensive Player of the Year and was named the 2006 WAC Freshman of the Year. Smart became the first-ever Utah State player to receive a specific individual conference honor. Smart also earned second-team all-WAC honors last year as she ranked fourth on the team with five points, netting one goal and adding three assists.

The Aggies will have a strong senior class to lead them as the trio of Peart, Shannon Ross and Abby Hunt started all 20 games last year.

HOME SWEET HOME - Counting the exhibition match on Aug. 18, Utah State has nine home matches this season. Since moving to the Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field in 2002, the Aggies have gone 20-14-9 at home. In the two years prior to their move to Bell Field, the Aggies were just 6-12 at home. They have gone 9-2-3 against conference opponents since bedding down at Bell Field.

PROGRAM HISTORY WITH CONFERENCE AND OVERALL RECORD - Utah State established a new program-best conference record and tied its best-overall record in 2006. The 5-0-2 conference record topped the previous marks of four conference wins, done four times, most recently in 2005, and the .750 conference winning percentage is a new school record, topping 2005's .643 (4-2-1). Utah State's 10 wins matched the 2003 squad for most wins in a season, while the .550 winning percentage (10-8-2) is just behind the program record mark of .579 in 2003 (10-7-2).

CAIRNS WINNINGEST USU SOCCER COACH - In her fourth season, Heather Cairns, became the winningest coach in USU soccer history by recording victory No. 27 on Sept. 30 and holds the school record for winningest coach by percentage. Cairns has compiled a 33-35-9 (.485) record in 76 matches, passing Stacey Enos who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons (1996-2000) with the Aggies.

OT SUCCESS - Six of USU's 20 matches in 2006 went into extra minutes with the Aggies going 3-1-2 in those matches. The six overtime tilts tied 2003 and 2005 for the most OT matches in school history. The three overtime wins are the most by an Aggie team since the 2003 team saw a similar six overtime matches going 2-2-2. USU is 8-14-13 all-time in extra minute matches.

A GOOD FORTUNE COOKIE - Eleven of USU's 18 goals last season and nine of its 14 assists were scored by players returning in 2007.

ROAD WARRIORS - Last season, the Aggies weren't very polite visitors, posting a WAC-best 6-1 record on the road during the year. Utah State's 2-1 win over Hawai'i on Oct. 15 was just the third home loss in UH's last 22 home matches. USU's win over Southern Utah on Sept. 22 snapped the Thunderbird's 11-match home winning streak dating back to 2004.

GRIFFIN CAREER GAA RECORD HOLDER - Junior netminder Ali Griffin topped the 1,000 minutes mark for her career in 2006, becoming eligible for USU's career lists and climbing to the top of the Aggies' career goals against average chart. Griffin presently has a 0.83 gaa for her career, taking over the previous high mark held by Megan Mills' 1.18 gaa from 2001-04.

NOTE-ABLE - Defender Lindsey Smart was the only freshman to start all 20 matches for the Aggies in 2006 and one of seven players on the roster to start all 20 matches, as well as one of eight to play in all 20 matches... USU out-scored its opponents 11-8 in the second half in 2006, but was out-scored 9-4 in the opening half... The Aggies were 2-0-0 when leading at the half and were 7-3-2 when tied at the half, but were 1-4-0 when trailing at the half.

GOOD SIGNS - The Aggies showed signs from last season's success in the Aug. 18 exhibition by rallying to a tie and then going into overtime, as last year, Utah State was 9-0-0 when scoring the first goal... USU went 5-1-2 when taking more shots than the opponent.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT TEXAS STATE - Last season Texas State posted a 7-13-2 mark, including a 5-4-2 mark in the Southland Conference. The Bobcats outshot their opponents, 345-332, but were outscored by their opponents 48-34. Kat Conner is at the helm of Texas State soccer for the ninth season, with an overall record of 82-75-9.

The Bobcats fell, 2-1, in their second home exhibition match against St. Mary's on Aug. 22 after defeating Angelo State, 1-0, in their first home exhibition match.

Texas State returns five starters and 13 letterwinners, including junior defender Mary Wright who was tabbed to the 2007 Preseason Southland Conference second-team and sophomore forward Lindsay Tippit.

The Bobcats were picked sixth in the 10-team Southland Conference Preaseason Poll.

TEXAS CHRISTIAN - The Horned Frogs opened its 2007 season with two exhibition matches tying Stephen F. Austin, 0-0, and tying No. 23 Oklahoma State, 0-0. TCU is coached by Dan Abdalla, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the Hornded Frogs with a combine record of 12-19-4.

TCU returns eight starters and 14 letterwinners from last season's 6-8-4 squad, including a 1-3-3 mark in the Mountain West Conference. Senior midfielder Lauren Pope returns as the second-leading scorer after missing the final 11 games of the season with an injury.

The Horned Frogs' 2007 recruiting class was ranked 40th in the nation by Soccer Buzz magazine last spring. TCU opens its regular season on Friday, Aug. 31 against No. 9 Texas at 7 p.m.

THE COACHES - Entering her fifth season, Heather Cairns, is the winningest coach in school history after recording her 27th career victory on Sept. 30, 2006, defeating Eastern Washington, 1-0. In her four seasons at the helm of the Aggies, Cairns has compiled a 33-35-9 (.485) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.

Texas State bench-leader Kat Conner is entering her ninth season at the helm of Bobcat Soccer. She holds an 82-75-9 record after eight seasons.

Dan Abdalla is at the helm of TCU soccer and holds a 12-19-4 record after three seasons of action.

SERIES HISTORY - This will be the first meeting between Utah State and Texas State, while TCU leads 1-0 against Utah State. USU fell, 4-2, at TCU in the Aggies' first year of soccer in 1996.

RETURNING HOME - Utah State senior co-captain Shannon Ross will be returning to her hometown Sunday, as Ross is from Fort Worth, Texas and attended Fossil Ridge High School. Ross is the lone Texas native on the Aggies' roster.

POLL POSITIONS - Utah State's schedule includes four teams that played in last season's NCAA Tournament, including Idaho State, Brigham Young, Utah and Western Athletic Conference foe and defending league champion Nevada.

Utah is the only team on USU's schedule that was ranked in the final NSCAA/adidas Top 25 poll last season, with the Utes being ranked No. 23, but Oregon was among others receiving votes.

Oregon is ranked No. 19 by Soccer Buzz Magazine's Preseason Top 30 rankings, while BYU ranks at No. 23. In Soccer Buzz's West Regional Rankings Oregon is No. 6 and BYU is No. 7 and Nevada is among others receiving votes.

WAC BITS - The WAC returns 16 all-conference players for the 2007 season, with Nevada leading the way with four all-WAC players. Junior midfielder Dana Peart and sophomore defender Lindsey Smart are Utah State's returning all-WAC honorees, both earning second-team honors, while Smart earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors.

Five of the eight teams in the WAC return at least eight starters and 15 letterwinners. Hawai'i leads the way with 10 returning starters, while Louisiana Tech and Utah State return nine. Utah State leads the way in returning letterwinners with 21, while Boise State follows with 19.

Of the 84 non-conference matchups, 19 are against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last year and seven are at WAC home sites. Three teams in the WAC (Hawai'i, San Jose State and Utah State) play at least three non-conference opponents that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

UP NEXT - The Aggies continue action on the road heading to Flagstaff, Ariz. to play in the Northern Arizona Tournment. USU faces UC Irvine on Friday, Sept. 7 and then tangles with Northern Arizona on Sunday, Sept. 9.

USU plays one final road match at Weber State on Thursday, Sept. 12 before hosting Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.

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