Sept. 3, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State soccer (4-1-1) remains on the road after a 2-1 overtime win against Utah Valley on Sept. 2. The Aggies will be facing two Big Sky teams this week at the Viking Classic in Portland, Ore. Last week, USU suffered its first home loss since 2010 with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of another Big Sky school, Northern Colorado.
SERIES HISTORY vs. EASTERN WASHINGTON - The Eagles hold a 2-3 series advantage of the Aggies. The last time the two teams met was in 2007 when EWU defeated Utah State 2-1 in Cheney, Wash. Prior to that, the two team's met in 2006 when the Aggies edged the Eagles 1-0 in Logan.
This season, Eastern Washington is 0-3-1, last falling to Wyoming 4-1 so Sept. 2. The Eagles also have losses to North Dakota and new Western Athletic rival, Seattle. EWU also tied Air Force earlier this season.
SERIES HISTORY vs. PORTLAND STATE - The Aggies hold a close 2-1-2 record against Portland State in five meetings. The last time that the two teams met was in 2011 when Utah State stopped Portland State 2-1 at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field in Logan. USU came from behind to beat the Vikings behind goals from Aggie-great Shantel Flanary and Mari Miyashiro.
The Vikings are 0-4-0 this season. In its last outing, PSU fell to new Western Athletic Conference rival, Seattle, 1-0. The Redhawks took the lead for good in the 76th minutes. Portland State also has losses this season to Oregon, Oregon State and Saint Mary's. Kayla Henningsen has the Vikings only goal this season. Lainey Hulsizer has seen the bulk of the time in goal for Portland State this season.
LAST TIME OUT - After going the first five matches without a point, junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton broke out big as Utah State captured a 2-1 overtime win againt Utah Valley at Clyde Field on Sept. 2.
Pemberton's first goal of the season was the golden goal as the Aggies won the in-state battle in the 96th minute. After a Utah Valley foul, sophomore defender Taryn Rose launched a 55-yard shot into the box. Pemberton deposited the header past Wolverine goalkeeper, Jessica Duffin, and into the net for USU's winning goal.
"I think it is great that Kendra got on the board today, but what I'm more happy with is I think this is the most complete game she has played this season. She's been battling some injuries coming into this season which is why she started off a little slow, but Kendra is a fantastic player and our attack ." USU head coach Heather Cairns said.
Utah State broke through in the 28th minute, when sophomore forward Jade Tarver took a pass from Pemberton in the midfield. She then made a long run and scored the goal to the right corner of the goal to put USU up 1-0. The goal was the first of the season by Tarver, and the first assist by Pemberton who set the school record for single-season assists last season with seven.
ON THE PITCH - Following the three-match road streak against Utah Valley, Eastern Washington and Portland State, Utah State will return home for a three-match home-stretch, its longest of the season. The Aggies will host Pac-12 powerhouse Washington on Sept. 13, followed by in-state rival BYU on Sept. 20. The Aggies will end the homestand against future Mountain West Conference foe Wyoming on Sept. 23.
JUNIOR JUGGERNAUTS -The junior class has come out strong through the first five 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 five games so far this season. Junior Kendra Pemberton had a goal and an assist in USU's win over Utah Valley on Sept. 2.
ON THE BOARD - After going five-straight matches without scoring, junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton got on the board big time against Utah Valley on Sept. 2. She had an assist on the Aggies first goal against the Wolverines and added the golden goal to push Utah State past Utah Valley, 2-1, in overtime.
OVERTIME IS THE TIME TO SHINE - Utah State is now 2-0-1 in extra time this season. In the first match of the season, the Aggies captured a, 1-0, overtime over in-state rival Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Aug. 17. On Aug. 24, USU went to double overtime and tied Creighton 0-0. The Aggies won their second overtime win on Sept. 2 at Utah Valley, 2-1. Last year, USU had only three overtime matches the whole season, while the 2010 squad saw extra time six times. The 2006 team takes the record with seven overtime matches with a 3-1-3 record in those matches.
LAST HOME LOSS - The Aggies had their 14-game home unbeaten streak come to an end with a 1-0 loss to Northern Colorado on Aug. 31. USU's last loss at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field was on Sept. 25, 2010 against BYU. In that match, the Aggies fell to the Cougars, 3-0. Last season, USU was 9-0-1 at the friendly confines of Bell Field.
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.
Miyashiro Named College Sports Madness WAC Soccer Player of the Week - Junior forward Mari Miyashiro was named College Sports Madness Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week for her exceptional performance during last week's action. College Sports Madness identifies the highest impact players nationally and from each conference each week. This is the second-straight week that an Aggie has earned the honor after senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford was honored last week.
Miyashiro was very efficient with two goals on two shots on goal for the Aggies, leading USU to a 3-1 win over Omaha on Aug. 26. She scored the first goal and the game-winning goal for the Aggies in the win over the Mavericks. In Utah State's double overtime tie against Creighton on Aug. 24, Miyashiro had three shots. For the week, she started two matches with two goals, five shots and 115 minutes played. Miyashiro and the Aggies are now 3-0-1 this season, starting the year with at least a 2-0-0 record for the fourth-straight season.
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 94-76-20 (.547) 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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