ON THE PITCH
Utah State’s soccer team (6-3-1, 1-1-0 MW) continues Mountain West play this weekend with a pair of home matches. The Aggies will host San Diego State (4-6-0, 1-1-0 MW) on Friday, Sept. 29, at noon, and New Mexico (7-3-0, 2-0-0 MW) on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m. All-time, USU is 0-5-1 against the Aztecs and 1-3-2 against the Lobos.
All Mountain West matches will continue to be broadcast as a USU Athletics Production on the Mountain West Network. All video feeds will be available live and in archive form at utahstateaggies.com/watch. Live stats and play-by-play information will be available through GameTracker, while updates will also be provided through the team’s social media outlets. Links to each option will be available online prior to every match.
DOUBLE THE FUN
Friday’s match against San Diego State will be the first game of a Utah State doubleheader. The football team will host in-state rival BYU that evening in a 6 p.m. kickoff. This will be soccer’s only home doubleheader with another USU game, but football will have two additional doubleheader days with the volleyball team.
BE PARKING AWARE
Due to the football game, parking for Friday’s match will have additional restrictions. The standard parking lot for soccer will already be set for football restrictions. Fans may still park there, but must pay a $10 fee. Free parking will still be available along 1400 North, just north of Chuck & Gloria Bell Field.
LUNCH WITH THE AGGIES
With the Noon kickoff and the Utah State tradition of Freebie Friday, the Aggies are offering free lunch at Friday’s match. The first 100 fans in attendance to the match against San Diego State will receive free pizza.
HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN
Utah State returns home to Logan after playing six-straight road matches. The six road contests in a row is the most since 1996, when the Aggies played six consecutive matches on road or neutral fields. Friday’s match against San Diego State opens a season-long four-match homestand for the Aggies. All-time, Utah State is 86-30-21 in matches played at Chuck & Gloria Bell Field.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE
San Diego State comes to Logan with a 4-6-0 overall record, including a 1-1-0 Mountain West ledger. The Aztecs opened conference play in a 3-0 win over Nevada, before falling to UNLV, 1-0. Freshman forward Mia Root leads the SDSU offense with four goals this season, with the team’s eight other goals coming from six different players. Redshirt sophomore Gabby English has played every minute in the net for the Aztecs, tallying 37 saves while allowing 15 goals. San Diego State returns 12 letterwinners and six starters from last season, when the team went 10-7-4 overall and 6-2-3 in league play, finishing third in the Mountain West standings. Mike Friesen is in his 11th season at the helm of the San José State program, where he has an overall record of 126-70-27.
Utah State continues to seek its first-ever win against San Diego State. All-time, the Aggies are 0-5-1 against the Aztecs. Last season, SDSU claimed the 2-1 victory in a match in San Diego, scoring the winning goal in the 87th minute.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
New Mexico enters the weekend with a 7-3-0 record, currently on a four-match winning streak. The Lobos opened Mountain West action with a 2-0-0 record, defeating UNLV (2-1) and Nevada (1-0), and will play at Boise State before Sunday’s match in Logan. Sophomore midfielder Jessie Hix is the leading scorer for New Mexico, scoring four goals so far. Sophomore Emily Johnson has played the entirety of the season in the goal for New Mexico, tallying 22 saves and allowing seven goals. The Lobos return seven starters and 17 total letterwinners from last season, a team that went 9-7-3 overall and 5-5-1 in Mountain West play. Heather Dyche is in her third season as the head coach at New Mexico, where she has a 26-18-5 record.
All-time, Utah State is 1-3-2 against New Mexico, as the two have only played each other in the Mountain West. Last season, the Lobos won the matchup in Albuquerque, 2-0. Utah State’s only win over New Mexico came on the road in 2014, a 2-0 victory.
COBB SAVES THE DAY
Senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb is having a strong season in the net for the Aggies, tallying 50 saves thus far in 60 shots on goal faced. In last Sunday’s win at Fresno State, Cobb recorded a career-high nine saves, earning her fourth complete shutout of the season.
Senior forward Bailee Hammond scored the Aggies’ sole goal in Sunday’s win over Fresno State, doing so in the ninth minute of the match. This was Utah State’s earliest goal scored this season, topping the previous best of the 25th minute. In all, just four of Utah State’s 13 goals this season have been scored in the first half.
THE 300 MATCHES
Friday’s match against San Diego State will be head coach Heather Cairns’ 300th game at the helm of the Aggie program. Cairns has been the head coach for the USU team in 299 of its 422 matches, with the other 123 split between Jen Kennedy Croft and Stacey Enos.
THE NIFTY 150
With the Sept. 17 win at Oakland, Utah State head coach Heather Cairns secured her 150th win at the helm of the Aggie program. The winningest coach in Utah State history, Cairns has an overall record of 151-113-35 in her 15 years as head coach.
SHUTTING OUT THE COMPETITION
Of Utah State’s six wins this season, five have been shutouts. The Aggies, along with New Mexico, lead the Mountain West with the five shutouts apiece. Senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb has earned four of the shutouts on her own, while sharing the fifth with junior Grace McGuire. The 2011 and 2013 USU teams hold the program record for shutouts in a season with 11 each.
Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo leads the Aggie offense this season, tallying five goals and three assists so far. She is the highest-scoring USU freshman since 2008, when Shantel Flanary finished the year with five goals and two assists. Cardozo has the third-highest point totals of all freshmen in program history, behind Brigid Turner (1999) and Jayme Gordy (1997), who tallied 25 and 14 points in their respective freshman campaigns.
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Senior forward Wesley Hamblin continues to climb the all-time assist list in the Utah State record books. She is currently tied for second with 17 career assists, recording the 16th and 17th in the win at Oakland. Jessica Brooksby (2013-16) holds the all-time assist record with 18.
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 a 1-1 Mountain West road record last week, as it fell to San José State, 2-1, in double overtime, and defeated Fresno State, 1-0. Against the Spartans, freshman midfielder Amber Marshall scored her first collegiate goal, finding the back of the net in the 64th minute. Senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb tallied seven saves in her 105 minutes in the net. Against the Bulldogs, senior forward Bailee Hammond scored the team’s sole goal, doing so in the ninth minute of play. Cobb recorded a career-high nine saves in the shutout victory. On the week, USU took 17 shots, eight of which were on goal, while the Aggies’ opponents combined for 41 shots with 18 on goal. Cobb ended the weekend with 16 saves and two goals allowed.
The Aggies remain at home for another pair of Mountain West matches next week. Utah State will host Colorado College on Friday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m., followed by Air Force on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. The match against the Falcons will be Utah State’s annual cancer awareness game, ‘Kick for a Cure.’
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