Aggie Soccer Hosts UTSA and Texas State This Week
Oct. 1, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State (5-2-6) returns home after a pair of 0-0 double overtime ties at New Mexico State and No. 18 Denver last week. The Aggies are 0-1-5 in their last six matches with a loss to No. 12 BYU at home last week, 1-0 and a tie against Wyoming to go along with the two week ties. This week, Utah State opens the home portion of the Western Athletic Conference schedule, hosting a pair of teams from the Long Horn State. USU will take on UTSA on Friday, Oct. 5 and Texas State on Sunday, Oct. 7.
SERIES HISTORY vs. UTSA - The season series between UTSA and Utah State is tied at 1-1. The last time the Roadrunners and the Aggies met was in 2009 in San Antonio when UTSA edged out Utah State, 1-0, on Sept. 11, 2009. In 2008, the match was on the Aggies home turf with USU winning that battle 2-0, on Sept. 18, 2008. Aggie greats Lindsey Smart and Lauren Hansen found the back of the net for USU. This is the first time that the Aggies and the Roadunners have met as members of the same conference.
UTSA is 1-7-2 overall and 0-0-2 WAC play in its first season in the league. The Roadrunners have allowed 22 goals this season, while scoring seven. Maria Jose Rojas leads the team with five points off of one goal and three assists for five points. Seven different Roadrunners have scored a goal for UTSA this season.
SERIES HISTORY vs. TEXAS STATE - Utah State leads the all-times series with Texas State 1-0-1. The last time the two teams met was in 2008 in Logan when the Aggies and the Bobcats battled to a 0-0 overtime tie. In 2007 San Marcos, USU came out on top 1-0.
Texas State is 4-8-1 this season and is 1-1 in league action. The Bobcats defeated Idaho, 2-1, and lost to Seattle, 2-0. Tori Hale is Texas State's leading scorer with 12 points off of four goals and four assists. Natalie Gardini has seen the bulk of time in goal for the Bobcats this season, allowing 13 goals for a 1.31 GAA
WAC OPENERS - The match up between the northern and southern Aggies will be USU's eighth and final Western Athletic Conference opener. Utah State is 5-2 in WAC openers. The Aggies' only losses came in 2009 when USU lost at Nevada, 1-0, to open its fifth season in the WAC and in 2011 when the Aggies fell on the road to Hawai`i, 2-1. In 2010, the Aggies captured a 1-0 win against Louisiana Tech in Ruston when then-senior Heather Pond scored her first goal of the season. This is the first time in eight seasons that Utah State will open WAC play against New Mexico State. Besides Hawai`i and Nevada, the Aggies have also taken on Louisiana Tech three times in WAC openers. USU has also faced Idaho twice in conference openers.
AGGIES IN WAC OPENERS 2005 -- Louisiana Tech, W, 2-0 2006 -- at Louisiana Tech, W, 2-1 2007 -- at Idaho W, 4-0 2008 -- Idaho W, 4-0 2009 -- at Nevada L, 0-1 2010 -- Louisiana Tech, W, 1-0 2011 -- at Hawai`i, L, 1-2GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS - After weeks of non-conference action, conference action has begun. Denver and Seattle are tied for first place with four points. Four teams, including Utah State, are tied for second with two points. San Jose State, UTSA and Idaho are the other schools tied with USU. The Aggies will play eight conference matches this season. Seattle, Denver, UTSA and Texas State are new to the WAC this season as USU begins its final season in the league. The top six teams will advance to the WAC Tournament Nov. 1-4 in Logan, Utah. This is the first time that Utah State has hosted the soccer tournament, having played host to both the cross country and gymnastics championships.
LAST TIME OUT - In just her second career start, freshman goalkeeper Jeannie Woller was dominating in the net as the Utah State soccer team battled No. 18 Denver to a 0-0 double overtime tie at the CIBER Field in Denver on Sunday.
Woller earned the start in goal after senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford was called for a red card in the Aggies' match against New Mexico State on Friday. She had the big task of taking on one of the most effective offenses in the Western Athletic Conference and rose to the challenge. This was only the second time that DU has been shut out this season and had scored 12 goals in the last four matches.
The Aggies are only the third team to get either a win or a tie against the Pioneers at CIBER Field since it opened in 2009. With the tie, Utah State is now 0-1-2 against ranked teams this season with a tie against No. 25 Washington and a loss to No. 12 BYU.
Utah State is now 5-2-6 this season and 0-0-2 in WAC play. Denver is 9-1-3 overall and 1-0-1 in league action.
"It was just two teams that dug in. We played really well today. Jeannie (Woller) was huge today. Jeannie was called upon after Ashlyn (Mulford) got carded on Friday. After the game on Friday, we all looked at Jeannie and had a ton of confidence in what she was going to be able to do. She has had experience at the college level, and it paid off today, and was just phenomenal. She took a couple of the bar and was great on corner kicks and set pieces. She was a great shot-stopper today. She came up big a handful of times that really saved us," USU head coach Heather Cairns said.
STAYING IN SHAPE - This season, the Aggies have been logging in the extra minutes. Utah State set the school record with their eighth overtime match in 13 matches this season. USU has had three-straight overtime matches and five of the last six matches have resulted in extra time. Utah State also set the record for ties in a season with its sixth. USU is 2-0-6 in overtime matches this year.
WOLLER COMES UP BIG - Making only her second career start, Woller shut down one of the most potent offenses in the WAC, leading Utah State to a 0-0 overtime tie against No. 18 Denver. She had a season-high six saves against the Pioneers. This was only the second time this season that DU had not scored a goal. Woller made the start after senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford was issued a red card in USU's tie against NMSU on Friday. Despite not seeing significant time since playing 45 minutes against Omaha on Aug. 27, Woller looked like a veteran in net for the Aggies.
LOGGING IN THE MINUTES - There are two Aggies who have played every minute of the 2012 season, defenders Natalie Norris and Taryn Rose. They are two of five Utah State players to have played and started all 13 matches along with midfielder Kendra Pemberton, defender Jessica Hoskin and forward Mari Miyashiro. Norris and Rose have played all 1298 minutes this season, while roaming the Aggie backfield. Hoskin has seen time in 1150 minutes this season. Eleven different players have played in all 13 matches for Utah State this season.
USU IN THE NCAA STATISTICS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is 11th in the nation in save percentage (.895) in this week's NCAA statistics. UCLA's Katelyn Rowland is first with a .941 save percentage. As a team, USU is ninth in save percentage (.923).
ON THE PITCH - After taking UTSA and Texas State, the Aggies will hit the road for their final two road matches of the season. USU will travel to the Redhawks on Friday, Oct. 12 and the Vandals on Sunday, Oct. 14. USU will then return home for the final two regular season home matches against San Jose State on Oct. 19 and Louisiana Tech on Oct. 28.
SPREADING THE WEALTH - With five wins this season, the Aggies have spread the game-winning goals around. Five different players have scored a game-winning goals, including Kendra Pemberton, Jennifer Flynn, Jade Tarver, Mari Miyashiro and Kylie Dibb.
UNDEFEATED ON SUNDAY - Utah State is 3-0-3 when playing on Sunday. The only days of the week that the Aggies have lost a match are on Thursday and Friday. Sunday remains USU's most successful day of the week with no losses in six 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.
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 63-26-15 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.
AGGIES IN THE WAC STANDINGS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is first this week in the WAC standings in save percentage (.893) and fourth in saves with 50. She is also second in goals against average with a stellar 0.57 GAA just behind Louisiana Tech's Caitlin Updyke who is first with a 0.35 GAA. Junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton is second in shots with 50.
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 95-77-23 (.546) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 36-9-8 (.755) record in WAC matches, giving her the highest winning percentage among the nine league coaches in conference matches.
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