Aggie Soccer Hits the Road to Face No. 24 Long Beach State and San Diego State
Sept. 1, 2010
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State soccer remains on the road for a pair of road matches in the Golden State. On Friday, Sept. 3, the Aggies will take on Long Beach State at 5:30 p.m. (MT). USU will then face San Diego State on Sunday, Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. (MT).
Last time out, the Aggies tied Idaho State 0-0 in double overtime. While the Aggie offense stalled, the defense stepped up with its second-straight shutout.
SERIES HISTORY - The Aggies are 2-7 against Long Beach State with the last match taking place in Logan in 2008. In that match, the 49ers defeated the Aggies 3-0. The two teams met several times when both teams were in the Big West Conference.
After starting the season with a loss to BYU, the 49ers have been on a roll since then. LBSU has defeated then-No.21 Washington State and then-No. 16 Virginia Tech. Long Beach State has also beat Fresno State of the WAC, 1-0.
This is the first ever meeting between the Aggies and San Diego State. SDSU plays host to a pair of first-time opponents in Detroit and Utah State. The Aztecs have never crossed the paths of either team despite playing 407 all-time matches. San Diego State's first year of competition was in 1989.
The Aztecs are 1-3 this young season with losses to then-No. 9-Santa Clara and then-No. 9 Florida by matching 1-0 scores. SDSU also fell at Central Florida and defeated Sacramento State, 2-1. The duo of matches this weekend are its first home matches of 2010.
CORNER QUEENS - In the first three matches, Utah State showed its skill on the corners. USU had 22 corner kicks to its opponents 11. In the match against Utah Valley, the Aggies scored three goals off of corner kicks, including two corners by senior Stefani Shiozaki.
Shiozaki has taken 14 corners to lead the team. Junior Summer Tillotson is second on the team with five corner kicks this season.
VISITING THE GOLDEN STATE - USU continues its road trip heading to the Golden State for the first of six matches in California. USU will take on Long Beach State on Friday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. and San Diego State on Sunday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m.
YOUTH SOCCER DAY - Utah State soccer in conjunction with the Utah Youth Soccer Association and South Cache Soccer League will be hosting Youth Soccer Day Friday, September 10 at the Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer field as the Aggies host Colorado College.
Kick-off for the match will be at 4:00 p.m., while activities begin at 2:30 p.m. with free hot dogs, drinks, prizes, and other festivities leading up to the game including mini-clinics put on by Utah Youth Soccer Association Technical Director Greg Maas and Assistant Technical Director Rick Flores. Halftime will also be filled with fun as participants can compete against Big Blue and test their soccer skills. Drawings will be held to choose the ball kids for the match and additional prizes will include tickets to the Utah State football game against Idaho State Sat., Sept. 11 at 6 p.m.
Kids are encouraged to wear their uniforms. Those wearing team uniforms are eligible for the half time contest. Following the match the Aggies will be signing autographs. Don't forget to wear a your Aggie jersey.
GAMETRACKER - Fans can follow all the Aggie home games through the USU web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com via GameTracker, a free service, which updates play-by-play and statistics throughout the game.
ON THE PITCH - With a 10-9-2 record in 2009, the Utah State soccer team has now won at least 10 matches in each of the last four seasons. The 2010 Aggies squad will bring equal parts of youth and experience. The Aggies return 13 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team that advanced to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals.
Notes l After going 10-9-2 last season, the Aggies have now won at least 10 matches each of the last four seasons. l For the second-straight season, Utah State was picked to finish first in the Western Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
l The Aggies are set to play four defending regular-season conference champions: Utah Valley (Great West Conference-West Division), Cal Poly (Big West Conference), BYU (Mountain West Conference) and San Jose State (WAC).
MERRILL EARNS WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Utah State goalkeeper Molli Merrill was named the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, Monday. This is the first career WAC Player of the Week honor for Merrill. It is also the second-straight player of the week honor for the Aggies after junior forward Shantel Flanary earned the WAC Offensive Player of the Week award last week.
Merrill, a junior from Bountiful, Utah (Bountiful HS), registered her second-straight shutout as the Aggies tied Idaho State, 0-0, in double overtime in Pocatello on Sunday. Merrill had two saves in 110 minutes of action, facing 13 shots, including seven in the first half. It marks the first time in her USU career that she has had back-to-back shutouts. She has now gone 202 minutes without allowing a goal, dating back to the season opener against Weber State on Aug. 20.
Yolanda McMillion, a sophomore forward from New Mexico State, led the crimson Aggies to the Hotel Encanto Aggie Classic title with the first hat trick in school history to earn WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Merrill, who is in her second season as the Aggies regular starting goalkeeper, has allowed only one goal in three matches this season for a goals against average of 0.31. She has made seven saves this season. She has a stellar .875 save percentage this season.
FLANARY EARNS PRESEASON HONOR - Junior forward Shantel Flanary was as the picked WAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 to add to her already impressive resume. Flanary was the 2009 WAC Offensive Player of the Year and the 2008 Freshman of the Year.
THE NEW CREW - There are 14 newcomers on the 20110 roster, including two transfers. Katie Crosland is a sophomore transfer from Pepperdine, while fellow sophomore Julia Flores is a transfer from San Diego State.
Utah State has a huge freshmen class with 12 players. The Aggies look to see players like forward Libby Lundquist, midfielder Kendra Pemberton and forward Jessica Hoskin see some playing time early this season.
THE COACH - Entering her eighth 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 five seasons at the helm of the Aggies, Cairns has compiled a 68-63-13 (.517) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 26-6-4 (.778) record in WAC matches, giving her the highest winning percentage among the nine league coaches in conference matches.
WAC BITS - The WAC will continue its regular-season play as a single round-robin format for a total of eight conference matches. The points system is as follows: each team will receive three points for a win and one point for a tie. The six teams with the most points at the end of the regular season will advance to the WAC Tournament which is being held Nov. 4-5 and 7, in Ruston, La.
AGGIES PICKED TO WIN WAC TITLE - For the second-straight season, the Utah State soccer team was picked first in the Western Athletic Conference preseason poll, selected by the conference's nine coaches and announced by the league office Thursday.
The Aggies edged out Boise State for first place with 59 points, compared to the Broncos' 58 points. Utah State had three of the nine first-place votes, compared to Boise State earning six of the first-place votes.
Last season's regular season champion, San Jose State, received 40 points to place third. Nevada was picked fourth with 36 points, followed by Fresno State with 35 points. Hawai`i was chosen sixth with 30 points with Idaho garnering 28 points. New Mexico State in only its second season of play was picked eighth with 26 points with Louisiana Tech rounding out the poll with 12 points.
Utah State junior forward Shantel Flanary garnered Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors, while San Jose State junior defender Jessica Ingram was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
2010 Preseason All-WAC Team Shannon Saxton, Sr., F, Boise State Chelsea Small, So., F, Idaho Natalie Ratnavira, Jr., F, Nevada Shantel Flanary, Jr., F, Utah State Brandy Hickox, Jr., MF, Boise State Mari Punzal, Sr., MF, Hawai`i Jill Erickson, Sr., MF, Nevada Lindsay Roberts, Jr., D, Boise State Kendall VanDine, Jr., D, Fresno State Jessica Ingram, Jr., D, San Jose State Kaitlyn Revel, Sr., GK, Fresno State
Preseason Players of the Year Offensive: Shantel Flanary, Jr., F, Utah State Defensive: Jessica Ingram, Jr., D, San Jose State
2A - Times that Utah State soccer has played a match in a Major League Soccer arena when the Aggies took on Weber State in Rio Tinto Stadium on Aug. 20. USU is undefeated at Rio Tinto Stadium.
2B - Number of consecutive shutouts by USU goalkeeper Molli Merrill.
5 - States represented on the Utah State roster besides the Beehive State of Utah, including Hawaii, Idaho, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.
10 - Total number of wins that the Aggies registered in 2009, marking the fourth-straight season USU has won at least 10 matches.
12 - Number of freshmen the young Aggie team has on the roster this season.
20 - Players from the state of Utah on the roster.
25 - Number of goals scored by the USU returners of the 28 goals that the Aggies scored last season.
26 - Head coach Heather Cairns' total number of WAC wins. She has a record of 26-6-4 (.778) to lead all current WAC coaches in winning percentage.