Utah State Soccer Faces #17 Arizona And Washington State This Weekend In Utah Fall Classic

Aug. 31, 2006

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Utah State (2-0) vs.#17 Arizona (1-1-0)/Washington State (1-0-1)
Friday, Sept. 1, 5 p.m. (MST) / Sunday, Sept. 3, 11 a.m. (MST)
Univ. of Utah Fall Classic - Salt Lake City, Utah

LOGAN, Utah - Utah State soccer travels to Salt Lake City, Utah to participate in the University of Utah Fall Classic. The schedule for those matches has been slightly modified, with the same match times, just switching the opponents. The Aggies will face #17 Arizona on Friday, Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. (MST) and Washington State on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. (MST), with both matches at Utah's Ute Field.

Host Utah will face Washington State on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (MST) and take on Arizona on Sunday at 1 p.m. (MST).

The Aggies take a 2-0 ledger into the weekend after beating Idaho State, 1-0, last Friday, Aug. 25, and edging Weber State, 1-0, in 2OT, Tuesday, Aug. 29.

Arizona is ranked No. 17 in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 Poll and has a 1-1-0 record, beating Oakland (Mich.), 2-1, on Friday before falling at Michigan, 1-0 in 2OT, Sunday.

Washington State enters the weekend with a 1-0-1 mark on the season after hosting the Cougar Classic this past weekend. The Cougars opened the year with a 2-1 win over UNLV Friday before battling #25 Gonzaga to a scoreless draw on Sunday.

2-0 START - With the wins, the Aggies open the season 2-0 for the first time since 1998, when Utah State defeated Idaho State and Weber State, ironically the same two opponents as this year.

On 2-0 start: "To open 2-0 is a phenomenal start to the season, but we can't forget that our goal is to be the best team that we can be at the end of the season and make a run in the conference tournament and hopefully the NCAA Tournament. Even though we have these two wins under our belt, we feel that there are areas that we can improve upon to be an even better team."

On this weekend's matches: "This weekend we are certainly going to be tested. Arizona and Washington State are two tough Pac-10 teams, two talented, disciplined teams."

"I'm looking forward to playing Pac-10 teams, these are new teams on our schedule and we're thankful for Utah for inviting us to this tournament. We are looking to get some good results this weekend in two challenging matches. The Pac-10 is one of the toughest conferences in the country, so it is a great test for us to play some of the best teams in the country this early in the season."

PAC-10 OPPONENT HISTORY - Friday will be Utah State's first match against a Pac-10 team since 2001. The Aggies are 1-3-0 vs. Pac-10 teams, including a 0-1-0 record vs. Washington State, facing the Cougars in 1997. Utah State also is 1-1-0 against Arizona State and 0-1-0 with Washington.

The Aggies' lone match-up with Washington was a 4-1 loss to the Huskies in 2001, as former Washington player and current Utah State assistant coach Gina Brewer had a header for a goal in that meeting.

SERIES HISTORY - As mentioned previously, Utah State is 0-1-0 against Washington, as the Aggies lost, 2-0, in 1997 at Pullman, Wash.

This is the first meeting with Arizona.

HERE KITTY, KITTY - Friday will be the Aggies' second match-up against a team with Wildcats as their mascot, after Tuesday's match vs. the Weber State Wildcats... Sunday's match will be Utah State's fourth cat-family mascot match, after the Idaho State Bengals, the two Wildcats and the Washington State Cougars.

WAC START - The WAC continues with great start, with Utah State's win over Weber State moving the conference mark to 9-3-1.

HOME SWEET HOME - Counting the exhibition match on Aug. 19, Utah State has nine home matches this season. The Aggies are 1-0-0 at home so far this season and are 17-12-7 overall at home since moving to the Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field in 2002. In the two years prior to their move to Bell Field, the Aggies were just 6-12 at home. They have gone 8-2-1 against conference opponents since bedding down at Bell Field.

BIG CROWD - Tuesday's attendance of 540 was the largest home crowd at a Utah State soccer match since 603 watched the Utah State vs. Utah match on Nov. 1, 2001.

LAST MATCH - Dana Peart netted the game-winner with less than four minutes left in the second overtime to give Utah State a 1-0 win over intra-state rival Weber State in soccer action Tuesday afternoon at USU's Chuck & Gloria Bell Soccer Field. The win gives the Aggies a 6-5-1 overall record against the Wildcats, claiming victory in four of the last five meetings, including the last three at Logan. Utah State also improves to 2-0 on the season for the first time since 1998.

Ironically, Utah State played Idaho State and Weber State in 1998, the Aggies' same two opponents to open this season. Utah State improves to 7-2-1 in its last 10 regular-season matches.

Peart, a junior midfielder from Brigham City, Utah, hit the back of the net from 12 yards out in the 106th minute after Weber State's goalkeeper Rebecca Ritchie had knocked out a cross. For Peart, it was her team-leading third point of the season to go with an assist in Friday's 1-0 win over Idaho State, and continues her hot start to seasons as last year she netted a goal in each of Utah State's first four matches.

Sophomore goalkeeper Ali Griffin made five saves to record her second-consecutive career shutout while making her second career start. Griffin also snared and denied numerous Weber State cross attempts.

OT STRUGGLES SNAPPED - Tuesday's overtime win broke a bit of bad luck for the Aggies, who notched their first extra time victory since 2004, after going 0-2-4 in overtime matches last season. The six overtime tilts were the most by an Aggie team since the 2003 team saw a similar six overtime matches, going 2-2-2. Utah State is now 6-13-11 all-time in extra minutes.

WAC PRESEASON POLL - Utah State was tabbed fifth in the Preseason WAC Coaches' Poll, as the Aggies garnered 29 points. Defending conference tournament champion Fresno State was the preseason favorite, getting 46 votes including five of the eight first-place votes. Hawai'i, last year's regular season champion, had two first-place votes and 42 points. San Jose State was third with 34 points, while Nevada had 31 points, including a lone first-place vote. Utah State was followed by Boise State (20), Idaho (14) and Louisiana Tech (8).

STRENGTH AND EXPERIENCE IN NUMBERS - The Aggies have 19 returning letterwinners and six starters from last season's squad that went 7-9-4 on the year, including 4-2-1 in WAC play.

Headlining the returners is senior forward Charity Weston (5-4, Layton, Utah/Layton HS/San Jose State), who was named to the all-WAC Preseason Team, as well as first-team all-WAC last season. With a repeat first-team honor can become the first player in USU history to be tabbed to the first-team all-conference list three-straight seasons. Weston led the Aggies and ranked fifth in the WAC with seven goals, as well as leading USU and ranking tied for fifth in the WAC with 18 points (seven goals, four assists).

Also returning is junior midfielder Dana Peart (5-2, Brigham City, Utah/Box Elder HS), who was second on the team with five goals, adding an assist for a total of 11 points.

Another returner to the Aggie lineup is senior forward Charlsie Harris (5-6, Taylorsville, Utah/Taylorsville HS), who missed the 2005 season with an injury. Harris was second on the squad with six goals in 2004.

Weston and fellow senior midfielder Sierra Smith (5-6, Salt Lake City, Utah/East HS) will be the 2006 team captains. Smith was tied for third on the team in points with seven on two goals and three assists.

Cairns welcomes eight newcomers to the ranks as well, the smallest freshman class under Cairns since seven in her first season in 2003.

CAIRNS CREEPING CLOSER - Entering her fourth season, Heather Cairns, already the winningest coach in USU soccer history by percentage, is just two wins shy of becoming the winningest head coach in Aggie soccer history for total victories. In her three seasons at the helm of Utah State, Cairns has compiled a 25-27-7 (.483) record in 59 matches, sitting four wins shy of Stacy Enos (1996-2000), who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.

A GOOD FORTUNE COOKIE - Twenty-two of USU's 26 goals last season and 18 of its 22 assists were scored by players returning in 2006. Thirteen of the goals and 11 of the assists were recorded by underclassmen.

FIRSTS - Last year Utah State matched its most conference wins in school history as it went 4-2-1... The Aggies also tallied four wins in 2003, 1999, and 1998... The .643 conference winning percentage is a new school record, while the second place tie in the WAC standings is also the best conference finish in the program's 10 seasons.

PEART POUNCES EARLY - Junior midfielder Dana Peart started off last season by netting the Aggies' lone goal in their 2-1 loss to Northern Colorado in an exhibition match and then went on to score the lone goal in each of Utah State's next three matches.

Peart has continued that hot start to a season with an assist in the Aggies' 1-0 win over Idaho State in the season-opener and scoring the game-winner Tuesday, giving her a team-leading three points on the season.

NOTE-ABLE - Defender Jessica Darrow was the only freshman to start all 20 matches for the Aggies in 2005, and one of six players on the roster to start all 20 matches, as well as one of seven to play in all 20 matches... USU is 2-0 when making fewer saves than the opponent, who have made 13 saves on year, compared to just seven for Utah State... The Aggies are 2-0 when having more corner kicks, as they have 11 compared to just three for the opposition.

ARIZONA - The Wildcats are ranked No. 17 in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 Poll and have a 1-1-0 record, beating Oakland (Mich.), 2-1, on Friday before falling at Michigan, 1-0 in 2OT, Sunday.

Sophomore forward Gianna DeSaverio scored both of Arizona's goals in the win over Oakland. DeSaverio is one of 13 returners and is tied for the leading goal-scoring returner, netting three goals last season to go with one assist for eight points.

Last year Arizona posted an 11-8-3 record overall and 4-4-1 in Pac-10 play, finishing tied for fifth. The Wildcats made the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16, knocking off Utah in the first round and Weber State in the second round, before losing to eventual national-champion Portland in the Sweet 16.

Arizona was ranked No. 12 in the Soccer Buzz Magazine West Regional Preseason Poll, but have fallen down to No. 16 in this week's rankings.

WASHINGTON STATE - The Cougars are 1-0-1 on the young season after beating UNLV, 2-1, Friday in their first match in hosting the Cougar Classic before playing to a scoreless draw with No. 25 Gonzaga Sunday.

Junior midfielder Anna Miller and junior forward Brooke Bemis netted WSU's two goals. Bemis, along with junior forward Kim Bonnes and freshman midfielder Mallory Fox were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Washington State returned 14 letterwinners, including five starters from last season's 11-7-2 overall squad that was 4-4-1 in Pac-10 action, finishing tied for fifth, and just missing the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars are ranked No. 13 in this week's Soccer Buzz Magazine West Regional Rankings, moving up from receiving votes in the preseason rankings.

Entering her fourth season, Heather Cairns (Canisius, 1994), already the winningest coach in USU soccer history by percentage, is just two wins shy of becoming the winningest head coach in Aggie soccer history for total victories. In her three seasons at the helm of Utah State, Cairns has compiled a 25-27-7 (.483) record in 59 matches, sitting four wins shy of Stacy Enos (1996-2000), who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.

This weekend will be Cairns' first meetings vs. both Arizona and Washington State.

Arizona is led by Dan Tobias (Cal Poly, 1987), who has a 33-26-5 record in his four seasons at the helm of the Wildcats and a 77-71-14 overall record in his nine years as a collegiate head coach.

Washington State head coach Matt Potter (West London, 1992) has a 26-25-8 mark in his four seasons leading the Cougars' program and in his collegiate head coaching career.

POLL POSITIONS - Utah State's 2006 schedule includes two teams ranked in the final NSCAA/adidas Top 25 Poll last season, as BYU was ranked No. 14 while Utah was No. 22. Three of the Aggies' 2006 opponents reached the NCAA Tournament last season, as BYU, Utah and Weber State all advanced.

Arizona is ranked No. 17 in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 Poll, while four of the Aggies' 2006 opponents are recognized by Soccer Buzz Magazine's Preseason Top 30 Rankings. BYU is at No. 23 and Long Beach State is at No. 28. Arizona and Utah are among others receiving votes. In Soccer Buzz's West Regional Rankings, BYU is No. 7, Long Beach State is No. 9, while Utah and Arizona are 11th and 12th, respectively, and Washington State is among others receiving votes.

UP NEXT - Utah State will travel to San Francisco, Calif., to play in the City By The Bay Classic, facing former Big West foes Long Beach State on Friday, Sept. 8 at 8:30 p.m. (MST) and Cal State Northridge on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. (MST).

The Aggies return home to Chuck & Gloria Bell Soccer Field to host intra-state rival BYU on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. (MST).




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