First-Place USU Soccer Hosts San Jose State Friday
Oct. 16, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State soccer (9-2-6, 4-0-2 WAC) has now won four-straight matches after wins against Seattle and Idaho on the road last week. The Aggies are still in first place in the conference with 14 points. Utah State has only two regular-season matches left this season. This week, the Aggies host San Jose State (4-10-1, 2-4-0 WAC) in its only match this week on Friday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. at Chuck at Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
SERIES HISTORY vs. SAN JOSE STATE - Utah State leads the all-time series against San Jose State 4-2-2. The first time the teams met was in 2005 when USU joined the WAC. That season, the Spartans earned a 4-2 victory in San Jose. Last season, the Aggies had one of its most dominating wins against San Jose State, 3-0.
This season, the Spartans are 4-10-1 overall and 2-4-0 in WAC matches. SJSU broke a three-match losing streak last week with a 2-1 win against Seattle at home. San Jose State's other conference win came against New Mexico State 1-0 in Las Cruces.
San Jose State is led this season by Mikaella Meibock and Megan Molina who both have eight points. Meibock has four goals, while Molina has two goals and four assist. Zoe Makrigiannis has played in 11 matches in goal this season, allowing 21 goals for a 2.33 GAA.
OFFENSIVE SURGE - After tying three-straight matches, the Aggie offense has kicked it into high gear in the last four matches. Utah State has out-scored its opponents 12-2 in the last four matches, including a 4-0 win over Texas State on Oct. 7. In the four-straight wins, the Aggies have out-scored their opponents 6-1 in the first half and 5-1 in the second. USU has scored one overtime goal in the last quartet of matches.
Junior forward Mari Miyashiro has led the Aggies in points scored during the streak with two goals and three assists for seven points. Sophomore forward Jade Tarver has come on of late with two goals and two assists for six points. USU has averaged 3.00 goals per match.
WAC OPENERS - The match up between the northern and southern Aggies was USU's eighth and final Western Athletic Conference opener. Utah State is 5-2-1 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, 1-2 2012 -- at New Mexico State, T, 0-0AROUND THE WAC - Utah State and San Jose State are the only two teams in the conference to have played six league matches already. USU is in first place with 14 points just ahead of Louisiana Tech with 10 points and Denver with eight. All nine teams have earned at least one point in the conference standings. New Mexico State is in ninth place with one point with a 0-3-1 WAC record.
FIRST TIMERS - Six different Aggies earned their Utah State point during the Aggies four-match winning streak. Sophomore Lauren Roundy scored her first goal against Texas State and added her first career assist against UTSA on Oct. 5. 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. In the win against Seattle on Oct. 12 McCallson and junior defender Jackie Tillotson both found the back of the net for their first Aggie goals.
CAIRNS NEARS MILESTONE - With two wins last week, head coach Heather Cairns inches closer to the 100-win mark. She holds a 99-77-25 for a .555 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 - Utah State soccer completed the road portion of its Western Athletic Conference schedule with a 3-1 win against Idaho at Guy Wicks Field in Moscow, Idaho Sunday.
The Aggies end with a 2-0-2 mark this season on the road in WAC matches with wins against Seattle and Idaho to go with ties against New Mexico State and Denver. Overall, the USU improves to 9-2-6 this season and 4-0-2 in league play. The Aggies have now won four-straight matches after tying three in a row. Idaho falls to 4-12-1 overall and 1-3-1 in WAC matches. USU also improves to 14-1 all-time against Idaho.
With only two conference matches remaining, the Aggies remain in first place with 14 points. USU has only two league matches left this season, and both are at the friendly confines of Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
LOOKING BACK - Last year through 17 matches, the Aggies held a stellar 12-4-1 record and were 4-1 in WAC matches. This season, USU is 9-2-6 overall with a 4-0-2 conference mark. Despite the early-season scoring troubles, Utah State is only four goals behind last year's goal total through the same number of matches. In 2011, USU had scored 28 goals and had 81 points. This season, the Aggies have 24 goals and 67 points. Also the Aggies have allowed three less goals than they had at this point last season. Ashlyn Mulford and Jeannie Woller have allowed 10 total goals this season, where Mulford and Molli Merril gave up 13 at this mark last season.
AGGIES IN THE WAC STANDINGS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is second this week in the WAC standings in save percentage (.882) and for third in saves with 60. She is also third in goals against average with a stellar 0.56 GAA just behind Louisiana Tech's Corina Brown who is first with a 0.13 GAA. In WAC only matches, junior forward Mari Miyashiro is tied for second in points scored with seven behind Seattle's Stephanie Verdoia's 11 points. In WAC matches, USU if first in shots (14.83), points (37), goals (12) and assists (13).
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 17 matches along with defender Jessica Hoskin and forward Mari Miyashiro. Norris and Rose have played all 1756 minutes this season, while roaming the Aggie backfield. Hoskin has seen time in 1558 minutes this season. Eleven different players have played in all 17 matches for Utah State this season.
USU IN THE NCAA STATISTICS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is 13th in the nation this week in save percentage (.885) in this week's NCAA statistics. Florida State's Kelsey Wys is first with a .927 save percentage. As a team, USU is now seventh in save percentage (.885). USU is also ninth in the nation in goals8 against average (0.54), once again behind Florida State (0.21).
ON THE PITCH - After facing San Jose State on Friday, Oct. 19, Utah State concludes the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 28 against second-place Louisiana Tech at Noon.
SHINING ON SUNDAY - Utah State is now 5-0-3 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 eight 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.
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.
TARVER NAMED WAC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Utah State soccer forward Jade Tarver was named Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week; the league announced on Monday. Tarver is the first USU player to earn Offensive Player of the Week honors this season.
Tarver is also the third Aggie to be honored by the WAC this season. Senior defender Natalie Norris was named WAC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, while fellow senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford has been honor four times this year.
Tarver, a sophomore forward from Sandy, Utah (Jordan HS), had a goal and two assists off the bench in two Utah State road wins last week. In the Aggies' 2-1 overtime win at regionally-ranked Seattle, Tarver had the assist in Maris Hamblin's game-winning goal in the 99th minute. In USU's 3-1 win at Idaho, Tarver scored the game-winning goal in the first half against the Vandals. She helped secure the win with an assist on USU's third goal. For the week, Tarver had five points to help USU improve to 9-2-6 overall and 4-0-2 in WAC play.
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.
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 99-77-25 (.555) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 40-9-8 (.772) 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.
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