ON THE PITCH
Utah State soccer (6-5-3, 1-3-2 MW) returns to the road this weekend for a pair of Mountain West matches. The Aggies will play at Wyoming (7-5-2, 3-2-1 MW) on Friday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m., and at Colorado State (3-7-4, 1-3-2 MW) on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m.
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.
Wyoming opens the weekend with a 7-5-2 overall record, going 3-2-1 in Mountain West play. Last weekend, the Cowgirls split a weekend of road action, topping Nevada, 4-2, before falling to UNLV, 1-2. Redshirt junior forward Brittney Stark leads the Wyoming offense with six goals on the year. Senior Georgia Rowntree has played the majority of the teams’ minutes in the net, where she has allowed 12 goals and tallied 56 saves. Wyoming returns 16 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s squad that went 10-8-2 overall and 6-4-1 in the conference, finishing fifth. Pete Cuadrado is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Cowgirl program, where he has an overall record of 53-47-15.
All-time, Utah State is 6-4-2 against Wyoming. The teams met twice last year, both in the regular season and in the Mountain West tournament, with the Aggies taking the victory in both contests. Utah State’s last trip to Laramie came in the 2015 season, where Cowgirls topped the Aggies, 2-1.
SCOUTING COLORADO STATE
Colorado State goes into the weekend slate with a 3-7-4 record, including a 1-3-2 Mountain West ledger. The Rams split a pair of matches last weekend, falling at UNLV, 1-3, and topping Nevada, 1-0. Freshman forward Ally Murphy-Pauletto is the leading scorer for the Rams, scoring three goals this season. Redshirt sophomore Hunter Peifer guards the net for CSU, where she has allowed 17 goals and picked up 56 saves. Colorado State is in its fifth season as a program, with Bill Hempen serving as head coach since its inception. In its history, CSU has posted a 15-64-11 record.
Utah State has won all four previous meetings against the Rams, including a 3-1 victory last season. The Aggies’ last trip to Fort Collins in 2015 resulted in a 1-0 win.
ALL TIED UP
Utah State has had three draws this season, the most since 2013. Last weekend, the Aggies had back-to-back tied matches, battling Colorado College and Air Force to 1-1 and 0-0 draws, respectively. Last weekend was the first time USU had back-to-back tied games since the 2012 season. Sunday’s scoreless draw was the first since 2013, when the Aggies had three scoreless double-overtime matches. The Aggies have finished a game with a tied score 41 times in program history.
AGGIE HOT SHOTS
In last week’s scoreless draw against Air Force, Utah State fired off a season-high 18 shots. Of those, 11 were on goal, which was also a season high. In the match against Colorado College, the Aggies held the Tigers to just three shots, the fewest of any USU opponent this season.
RIGHT ON TARGET
Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo leads the team with 37 shots this season, 26 of which have been on goal. Her .703 on-goal percentage is the highest by a Utah State player with as many shots since at least 2002. Shots on goal were not tracked in the six seasons prior to that.
AGGIE ENERGIZER BUNNY
Freshman defender Kami Warner has played every minute (1,346) of the 2017 season, the only USU player to do so this year. Warner is one of three players to have started every match.
BABY IN A CORNER
Last weekend provided the Aggies with several corner kick opportunities. Against Colorado College, Utah State took a season-high 12 corner kicks. The team followed that with 11 in the match against Air Force. The 12 corner kicks against the Tigers are the most by a Utah State team since Sept. 9, 2007, when the Aggies had 12 against Northern Arizona. Prior to last weekend’s two matches, Utah State had averaged 3.9 corner kicks per game, taking a season-best nine at Oakland.
Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo leads the Aggie offense this season, tallying six goals and four assists so far. She is the highest-scoring USU freshman since 1999, when Brigid Turner set the freshman scoring record with 25 points (12 goals, one assist). With her goal against San Diego State, Cardozo took the second-place spot as she passed Jayme Gordy, who earned 14 points (six goals, two assists) as a freshman in 1997.
COBB SAVES THE DAY
Senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb is having a strong season in the net for the Aggies, tallying 67 saves thus far in 84 shots on goal faced. Cobb tallied a career-high nine saves in the team’s win at Fresno State. She has 69 total saves in her career, which ranks 10th all-time at Utah State.
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 151-113-37 in her 15 years as head coach.
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 an 0-0-2 Mountain West home record last week, as it recorded double-overtime draws against both Colorado College (1-1) and Air Force (0-0). Against the Tigers, junior midfielder Emma Clark scored the team’s only goal, forcing overtime with the shot in the 89th minute. She was assisted by freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo. Senior goalkeeper Sara Cobb tallied two saves in the draw. Against the Falcons, Cardozo and senior forward Wesley Hamblin led the team to a season-high 18 shots, taking six apiece. Cobb recorded six saves, again playing the full match. On the week, Utah State took 30 shots with 18 on goal, while its opponents combined for 12 shots with nine on goal. Cobb ended the weekend with eight saves and one goal allowed.
The Aggies will play a split week of competition next weekend. Utah State will host UNLV on Friday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m., before playing its final road contest of the season at Nevada on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. (MT).
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