ON THE PITCH
Utah State soccer (2-1-1) returns to the road for a single match this weekend. The Aggies are set to cross the northern border to take on Idaho State (1-2-0) on Friday, Sept. 1, at 4 p.m.
Utah State fans can follow Friday’s match in a variety of online formats. A live radio broadcast will be available on KISU, 91.1 FM, with an online audio stream available as well. Live stats will be provided through StatBroadcast. Links to each option will be posted on the Utah State soccer social media pages before the start of the match.
SCOUTING IDAHO STATE
Idaho State welcomes the Aggies with a 1-2-0 record. The Bengals are coming off a 1-0 home loss to Boise State after opening the season in a 3-0 win at Chicago State and a 4-0 loss at Michigan. Idaho State returns eight starters and 10 other letterwinners to the pitch this season, after posting a 7-13-0 record a year ago. Sophomore forward Michaela Didericksen was the leading scorer for Idaho State last season, and is one of three players to score so far this year. The Bengals have utilized two goalkeepers so far, with senior Shawna Hennings starting each match. Together, the two have allowed five goals, while tallying 19 saves. Allison Gibson is in her 12th season at the helm of the Idaho State program, where she has an overall record of 78-111-21.
All-time, Utah State is 9-5-1 against Idaho State, dating back to the 1998 season. The Aggies have won the last four contests against the Bengals. The teams battled to a draw in 2010 and USU’s last loss to ISU came in 2008. The teams last met in Logan in the 2015 season, with Utah State taking the 5-3 win. Friday will be the first match between the teams in Pocatello since 2013, where the Aggies are 2-3-1.
With just 93 miles between the two campuses, there are several players on the Utah State and Idaho State rosters that call the two states home. The Aggies have 21 players who hail from Utah, while three Bengals come from the Beehive State. On the other side, there are two USU players from Idaho, while ISU has three. None of Idaho State’s Utah players attended the same high schools as any Aggies, and their club soccer affiliations are unknown. However, Utah State redshirt sophomore defender Jenny De Boer and Idaho State junior defender Maggie Moulton played together at Rocky Mountain HS in Meridian, Idaho.
SHUT THE DOOR
While Utah State has allowed three goals on the season, all three have come within just a three-minute stretch on the clock. Behind senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb, the Aggie defense has held its opponents scoreless for 387 minutes of the season. Cobb and the Aggies are one of two Mountain West teams that have recorded more than one shutout this season.
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Senior forward Wesley Hamblin continues to climb the all-time assist list in the Utah State record books. She is currently ranked fifth, recording the 14th assist of her career in the Aug. 18 win over South Dakota State.
LOTS OF FIRSTS
With a young offense, several Utah State players have recorded their first-career statistics. Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo is the team’s leading scorer, scoring her first collegiate goal in the double-overtime win against South Dakota State. She added another that weekend in the win over Montana. Sophomore defender/midfielder Brinley Adams and freshman midfielder Amber Marshall recorded the teams’ assists in the 2-0 victory over the Grizzlies, career-firsts for both. Defensively, senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb earned the first shutouts of her career in the first two matches of the season.
Through the season’s four matches, senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb has improved her career-best save total. Entering the year, Cobb had a career-high of two saves, but that single-game-best number has grown to eight. She tallied three in the season-opener, followed by five and six against Montana and Utah, respectively. She followed that with an eight-save performance against Cal State Fullerton. With her 22 saves on the year, she leads the Mountain West goalkeepers, and ranks 25th nationally.
Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo is currently leading the Mountain West and ranks third nationally in game-winning goals, with two. One of just seven players with multiple game-winners thus far, Cardozo is the only underclassman on the list, joining five seniors and one junior. Additionally, Cardozo is the first freshman in program history to record game-winning goals in back-to-back matches. She is the first USU player to do so since Ambryn McCallson recorded the game-winners against Wyoming and Colorado State (Oct. 3 and 5) in 2014.
WHAT WE PLAY FOR
As the winners of the 2016 Mountain West title, UNLV will host the 2017 Mountain West Championships. The tournament will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 31, continuing with semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 2, and the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 4. Only the top six teams in the Mountain West standings will advance to the conference tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Utah State was picked fourth in the Mountain West Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s 12 head coaches. The Aggies earned 97 points in this season’s poll, along with one first-place vote. Last season, Utah State finished tied for third in the final standings with a 7-4-0 conference record. San Diego State was picked as the favorite to win the league for the fifth year in a row, tallying 110 total points and three first-place votes.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Utah State posted an 0-1-1 record last week, as it fell at No. 18 Utah, 2-0, before playing to a double-overtime, 1-1 draw at home against Cal State Fullerton. Against the Utes, the Aggies tallied 10 shots, but were unable to score, while senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb earned six saves. Against the Titans, Utah State benefited from an own goal off the opponent to even the score in the 36th minute. Cobb recorded a career-high eight saves in the tie. On the week, Utah State took 18 shots with five on goal, while the Aggies’ opponents combined for 29 shots with 17 on goal. Cobb played the entirety of both matches and tallied 14 saves, while allowing three goals.
Utah State’s season-long roadtrip will continue next week, with a single match at Minnesota. The Aggies and the Gophers will meet at 6 p.m. (MT) on Friday, Sept. 8. The Aggies will return to the Midwest the following week, playing at Eastern Michigan on Friday, Sept. 15 and at Oakland on Sunday, Sept. 17.
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