Oct. 9, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State (7-2-6) began the month of October with a bang, scoring seven goals in two matches in home wins against UTSA (3-0) and Texas State (4-0). With the wins the Aggies jump into first place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 2-0-2 league record for eight points. This week, USU takes to the road for its final two regular-season away matches of the season. USU faces Seattle (7-5-1, 2-0-1 WAC) on Friday, Oct. 12 and Idaho (3-11-1, 0-2-1 WAC) on Sunday, Oct.
SERIES HISTORY vs. SEATTLE - The all-time series between Seattle and Utah State is tied at 1-1. The last time that the Aggies and the Redhawks met was in 2009 when Seattle edged Utah State, 3-1, in Seattle. In 2008, USU captured a 2-1 win in Logan.
Seattle is 7-5-1 overall and 2-0-1 in league contests. The Redhawks have won three of their last four matches, including a 5-1 win against Idaho last week at home.
Stephanie Verdoia is third in the conference in points scored with seven goals and one assist for 15 points. Melissa Busque is second on the team in scoring with four goals and four assists for 12 points. Brianna Smallidge has played in 13 matches in goal this season, allowing 15 goals for a 1.12 GAA.
SERIES HISTORY vs. IDAHO - Utah State leads the all-times series with Idaho, 13-1. Last season, the Aggies defeated the Vandals twice, once in the regular season, 3-0, in Moscow and, 1-0, at the WAC Tournament in Fresno. The Vandals one win against the Aggies came in 2001 when both schools were members of the Big West Conference. Idaho defeated USU, 3-2, in double overtime in Logan.
Idaho is 3-11-1 overall this season and 0-2-1 in WAC play with losses to Texas State and Seattle and tie against UTSA. Once again, the Vandals are led by Chelsea Small who has four goals and one assist for nine points this season. Like USU, the Vandals primarily use one goalkeeper in Liz Boyden. She has allowed 34 goals this season for a 2.20 GAA this season.
HALF-WAY POINT - Four matches into the WAC season, Utah State sits alone in first place with eight points. The Aggies are 2-0-2 with eight points. One of this week's opponents, Seattle, is just behind in second place with a 2-0-1 record for seven points. Texas State has six points to hold down third place. All nine WAC teams have at least one point. Seattle, Denver, UTSA and Texas State are new to the WAC this season as USU has begun 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, outdoor track & field and gymnastics championships.
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, 1-2OFFENSIVE OUTPUT - After scoring only two goals in its previous six matches, Utah State broke out with seven goals in two matches last week against UTSA and Texas State. Eleven different players earned a point in the two matches. Including four from juniors Mari Miyashiro (one goal and two assists) and Jennifer Flynn (two goals).
FIRST TIMERS - Five different Aggies earned their first collegiate point last weekend. Sophomore Lauren Roundy scored her first goal against Texas State and added her first career assist against UTSA. Sophomore Brooke Larsen had her first help in the win against the Roadrunners. In the victory over the Bobcats, three players earned their first assist in freshmen Maris Hamblin and Sara Lorscheider. Sophomore Ambryn McCallson also had her first assist.
CAIRNS NEARS MILESTONE - With two wins last week, head coach Heather Cairns inches closer to the 100-win mark. She holds a 97-77-25 for a .550 winning percentage. She would be the second USU coach to reach that mark this season as USU head coach Grayson DuBose earned his 100th win against Seattle on Sept. 20.
STUNNING SHUTOUTS- First time since joining the WAC in 2005 that Utah State has started conference play with four-straight shutouts. Last season, the Aggies had six-straight shutouts for in WAC play and two in the WAC Tournament to end the regular season.
LAST TIME OUT - With first place in the Western Athletic Conference on the line, the Utah State soccer team used a first-half explosion to capture a 4-0 win against Texas State Sunday at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field. The four goals were the most this season for USU.
The quartet of goals were also the most since the Aggies' 6-1 win over Idaho State on Sept. 11, 2011. After scoring two goals in its previous six matches, Utah State has now scored seven in the last two matches.
Utah State moved up to first in the WAC standings with a 7-2-6 overall record and a 2-0-2 league record for eight points. The Bobcats fell to 5-9-1 overall and 2-2-0 in conference matches for six points. The Aggies now lead the all-times series with Texas State, 2-0-1.
"We were just really excited that so many people stepped up. Number one, our attack was diverse, and we had a lot of people contribute to it. And we had a lot of first timers contribute to it and step up that way," 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 15 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.
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 four Utah State players to have played and started all 15 matches along with defender Jessica Hoskin and forward Mari Miyashiro. Norris and Rose have played all 1478 minutes this season, while roaming the Aggie backfield. Hoskin has seen time in 1289 minutes this season. Eleven different players have played in all 15 matches for Utah State this season.
USU IN THE NCAA STATISTICS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is up to 10th in the nation in save percentage (.900) in this week's NCAA statistics. Western Illinois' Laura Atkinson is first with a .944 save percentage. As a team, USU is now fifth in save percentage (.899). ON THE PITCH - Utah State will conclude the regular-season road portion of the schedule this week against Seattle and Idaho. The Aggies will return home for the final two regular season matches. USU will host San Jose State on Friday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. and Louisiana Tech on Sunday, Oct. 28 at Noon.
UNDEFEATED ON SUNDAY - Utah State is now 4-0-3 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 seven 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 second this week in the WAC standings in save percentage (.900) and tied for third in saves with 54. She is also third in goals against average with a stellar 0.50 GAA just behind Louisiana Tech's Corina Brown who is first with a 0.18 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 97-77-25 (.550) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 38-9-8 (.750) 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
Preseason Players of the Year Offensive: Chelsea Small, Jr., F, Idaho Defensive: Jessica Ingram, Sr., D, San Jose State
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