Aug. 27, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State soccer (3-0-1) returns home after a brief two-match road trip. Last week, the Aggies went 1-0-1 in the Cornhusker State with a win against Omaha, 3-1, and a double overtime tie against Creighton 1-1. USU returns home for a single match against Northern Colorado on Friday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. Friday is also Utah Youth Soccer Day with clinics for kids along with on-field activities. The Aggie players will also be signing autographs after the match. On Sunday Sept. 2, USU remains in the state but hits the road to face Utah Valley at 1 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY vs. NORTHERN COLORADO - Utah State holds a 3-0 all-time series advantage against Northern Colorado. The last time the two teams met was in 2011 when USU edged UNC, 2-1, in Greeley, Colo. In that match, Aggie great Shantel Flanary scored both of the Utah State goals. In 2008, Utah State once again captured the win against Northern Colorado with a 3-0 victory in Logan. In the first meeting between the squads in 2003, USU defeated UNC 2-0 in a tournament in Boise, Idaho.
UNC is 0-2-1 this season, taking on three teams from the Centennial State. The Bears have losses against Colorado and new Western Athletic Conference member, Denver. Northern Colorado earned a tie against Colorado College.
Goalkeeper Natalie D'Adamio has been the netminder for all 290 minutes that the Bears have played this season. She has allowed seven goals for a 2.17 goals against average this season.
SERIES HISTORY vs. UTAH VALLEY - The Aggies and the Wolverines have met four times with the Aggies taking a 3-1 advantage. The last time the two teams met was in 2010 when Utah State defeated Utah Valley 4-0. In that match, senior defender Natalie Norris scored two of the four goals.
This season, the Wolverines are 1-2-0 after going 1-1 at the OHANA Hotels & Suites No Ka Oi hosted by former WAC foe, Hawai`i. On Sunday, UH defeated UVU in overtime on a penalty kick, 2-1. Lexi Robison leads the team with two goals one assist for five points. Jessica Duffin has seen the bulk of time in goal, allowing five goals for a 1.70 GAA.
LAST TIME OUT - A pair of goals by junior forward Mari Miyashiro pushed the Utah State soccer team over Omaha, 3-1, Sunday at UNO Soccer Field.
With the win, USU improves to 3-0-1 this season, while UNO falls to 0-3-0. The Aggies depart the Cornhusker State with a 1-0-1 record after tying UNO's cross town rival, Creighton, on Aug. 24.
Just over a minute into the match, the Mavericks tested starting goalkeeper senior Ashlyn Mulford when Danielle Archuleta's shot was saved. UNO came out strong with three of the first four shots of the match.
Despite the quick start by Omaha, it was the Aggies who got on the board first in the 14th minute of the match when Miyashiro earned her first goal of the season. She knocked in a 25-yard shot that just went over UNO goalkeeper Meaghan Clark.
Omaha evened the score in the 21st minute with a penalty kick by Monica Bosijevac. Prior to the penalty kick, a yellow card was called on Mulford for a foul in the box.
The aggressive Aggie attack paid off as Utah State took the lead 2-1 in the 75th minute with another goal off the foot of Miyashiro. The junior took advantage of a Maverick turnover in the box to tap in the goal which was her second of the match and the season. Miyashiro and Flynn are now the only two Aggies with more than one goal this season.
USU continued to apply the pressure and four minutes later upped its lead to 3-1. In the 79th minute, freshman forward Danielle Gaztambide scored her first collegiate goal, knocking in a goal off the pass from sophomore defender Taryn Rose after a corner kick from Hoskin. The assist was the first of the season for Rose and only the second of the season for the Aggies
ON THE PITCH - The match against Utah Valley on Sept. 2 begins a three-match road trip, which is the longest of the season for the Aggies. On Sept. 7, the Aggies head to Cheney, Wash., to face Eastern Washington. USU remains on the road to face Portland State on Sept. 9. The Aggies will take on three Big Sky Conference teams in the next four matches, facing Northern Colorado along with the Eagles and the Vikings.
JUNIOR JUGGERNAUTS -The junior class has come out strong through the first four games of the season. Midfielder Jennifer Flynn and forward Mary Miyashiro both have two goals so far this season. Junior defender Jessica Hoskin is one of five Aggies to have started all four games so far this season.
STRONG IN GOAL - Heading into the 2012 season, the Aggies knew that replacing all-WAC goalkeeper Molli Merrill would be difficult. Senior Ashlyn Mulford and freshman Jeannie Woller have been up to the task in the first four matches. Mulford earned the shutout win against in-state rival Utah, while Woller earned her first collegiate win against UTEP. Both played in both matches on the road last week with Woller earning the win against Omaha. Combined, they only allowed three goals in 383 minutes, making 20 saves.
NEW AND IMPROVED - Fans coming to Chuck and Gloria Bells Soccer Field will find some improvements this season. Permanent bleachers have been added to the west side of Bell Field, giving the field a capacity of near 1,000. The press box will remain on the west side. The team benches will now be on the east side of the field which is a change from previous seasons. Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field was originally built in 2002.
Utah State has a tremendous 62-25-14 record at Bell field, including a 9-0-1 record in 2011.
The field also has new wind screens and banners, acknowledging Utah State's WAC Tournament and WAC regular-season titles. There is also a banner recognizing the Aggies first NCAA appearance in 2011.
As always, admission to all Utah State soccer games is free. Fans will now people able to park in the gravel lot on the west side of the field and use the west side as the main entrance. Seating will be available on the west side as well as the grass on the south side of the field.
GAMETRACKER - Fans can follow all the Aggie home matches through the USU web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com via GameTracker, a free service, which updates play-by-play and statistics throughout the game.
THE NEW CREW - There are 11 newcomers on the 2012 roster, including two transfers. Junior Jackie Tillotson , who is the sister of all-WAC defender Summer Tillotson, joins the team this season as a transfer from UNLV. Junior midfielder Robin Hansen comes to Utah State from Iowa Western Community College.
MULFORD AND NORRIS EARN WAC HONORS - Utah State soccer players Natalie Norris and Ashlyn Mulford were named the Western Athletic Conference Playes of the Week; the league announced on last week. Norris earned WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors, while Mulford was named the first-ever WAC Goalkeeper of the Week.
This was Norris' second WAC Player of the Week honor after, winning the award in 2010. This was the first conference honor for Mulford.
Norris, a senior defender from Sandy, Utah, (Alta HS), played every minute of the Aggies' first two matches on the USU backline that allowed only one goal in 183 minutes of action. Norris anchored the USU defense to a, 1-0, overtime shutout victory over in-state rival Utah and a 2-1 win against UTEP on Aug. 19. Norris also scored the game-tying goal in the 77th minute against UTEP to tie the score at 1-1.
Mulford, a senior goalkeeper from West Valley City, Utah (Cyprus HS), earned her first career win and first shutout against in-state rival Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium on August 17. She helped guide the Aggies to a 1-0 overtime win over the Utes for USU's fourth-straight win at Rio Tinto Stadium. She recorded seven saves in the 93-sminute match to keep Utah off the board. She helped lead USU to its second-straight win over Utah.
The Aggie senior goalkeeper was also named College Sports Madness Women's Soccer WAC Player of the Week for her exceptional performance during this past week's action. College Sports Madness identifies the highest impact players nationally and from each conference each week.
HEAD COACH Heather Cairns - In her 10th season at Utah State is Heather Cairns, who became the winningest coach in school history after recording her 27th career victory on Sept. 30, 2006, defeating Eastern Washington 1-0. In her eight seasons at the helm of the Aggies, Cairns has compiled a 93-75-20 (.548) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 36-9-6 (.765) record in WAC matches, giving her the highest winning percentage among the nine league coaches in conference matches.
OFFENSIVE POWER - Despite losing all-time points scorer and two-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year, Shantel Flanary, USU still has plenty of firepower. The Aggies return 20 of the 30 goals they scored last season. Kendra Pemberton is the top returning with seven goals and nine assists last season for 23 points. Junior midfielder Jennifer Flynn scored five goals with three assists for 13 points, while senior defender Natalie Norris scored four goals for eight points last season.
WAC BITS - New to the WAC's soccer league this season will be Denver, Seattle, UTSA and Texas State. Denver returns 19 letterwinners from a team that placed third in the Sun Belt last season. Denver also returns nine of its 11 starters from last season. Seattle U enters its first season as a full NCAA Division I member. SU returns seven starters from a team that beat the highest ranked opponent in school history last season, upsetting then-No. 8 Portland. UTSA welcomes back eight starters this season. UTSA placed fourth in the Southland Conference with a 5-3-1 mark. Texas State returns 17 letterwinners and seven starters after going 8-1-0 in Southland conference play last season to place second. Texas State won the Southland conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.
AGGIES PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN THE WAC - Heading in to its final season in the Western Athletic Conference, the Utah State soccer team was picked second in the WAC preseason poll, selected by the conference's nine coaches and announced by the league office Tuesday.
WAC newcomer Denver was picked atop the poll with six first-place votes for 62 points. The Aggies were second with the remaining three first-place votes for 59 total points. Utah State has won three of the last four WAC regular-season titles, including winning a share of the 2010 title.
Fellow league newcomer, Seattle, was picked third with 47 points, followed by San Jose State in fourth with 38. Idaho was voted fifth with 32 points just ahead of newcomers UTSA and Texas State, who were tied for sixth with 27 points apiece. Rounding out the poll is New Mexico State in eighth place with 19 points and Louisiana Tech in ninth with 13.
Utah State was picked sixth in the 2005 preseason poll, the Aggies' first year in the WAC, fourth in 2006 and third in both the 2007 and 2008 preseason prognostications. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 polls, USU was picked first. Last season, the Aggies and the San Jose State tied for the top spot in the preseason poll.
Senior Natalie Norris was named the WAC's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. She has earned the postseason honor in both 2010 and 2011. For the second-straight season, Idaho senior forward Chelsea Small garnered Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors. Idaho and Denver each had three honorees, while Utah State had two named to the preseason all-WAC team. San Jose State, Seattle and UTSA each had one representative.
Utah State placed two players on the preseason all-WAC team with junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton joining Norris earning honors. Both Norris and Pemberton earned first-team all-WAC honors last season. Norris was part of the Utah State defense that allowed only three goals in WAC play last season. Her 64 career matches started are the most by any player in the WAC this season. Pemberton was second on the team in scoring by netting seven goals along with school-record nine assists for 23 points.
2011 Preseason All-WAC Team Chelsea Small, Jr., F, Idaho Kelsey Lord, Jr., F, San Jose State Kayla Santacruz, So., F, San Jose State Shantel Flanary, Sr., F, Utah State Jill Flockhart, Jr., MF, Idaho Lauren Sanchez, Sr., MF, San Jose State Chandra Salmon-Christensen, Sr., MF, Utah State Kendall VanDine, Sr., D, Fresno State Jessica Ingram, Sr., D, San Jose State Natalie Norris, Jr., D, Utah State Liz Boyden, Sr., GK, Idaho
Preseason Players of the Year Offensive: Chelsea Small, Jr., F, Idaho Defensive: Jessica Ingram, Sr., D, San Jose State
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