ON THE PITCH
Utah State soccer (7-6-3, 2-4-2 MW) continues its 2017 season with a split weekend of competition. The Aggies will host UNLV (12-5-0, 4-4-0 MW) on Friday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m. The team will then travel to play at Nevada (1-15-0, 0-8-0 MW) on Sunday, Oct. 22, 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.
Due to equipment malfunction, Sunday’s match at Nevada will not be streamed. However, live stats will still be available.
Utah State’s tradition of Freebie Friday continues this week against the Rebels. The first 100 fans in attendance at Friday’s match will receive a Utah State soccer scarf.
UNLV comes to Logan with a 12-5-0 overall record, including a 4-4-0 Mountain West slate. The Rebels are on a losing streak though, having dropped their contests at Fresno State (4-1) and San José State (3-1) last weekend. Senior midfielder Sophie Cortes leads the UNLV offense, where she has nine goals and seven assists on the year. Senior goalkeeper Jordan Sallee has played the majority of minutes in the net, where she has tallied 63 saves while allowing 17 goals. The Rebels return nine letterwinners and six starters from last year’s team that won the Mountain West title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The 2016 Rebels finished the year with a 16-4-3 record, including, going 8-1-2 in league play. Chris Shaw is in his fourth season as the head coach at UNLV, where he has an overall record of 48-27-7.
All-time, Utah State is 2-9-0 against UNLV, dating back to 1998. The teams met twice last year, both in the regular season and in the Mountain West tournament, with the Rebels taking the victory in both contests. UNLV won the regular-season matchup, 1-0, and eliminated the Aggies from tournament play with a 2-1 victory.
Nevada enters the weekend with a 1-15-0 overall record, still seeking its first conference win. The Wolfpack is on a14-match losing streak, with its sole win coming against Sacramento State on Aug. 20. Last weekend, Nevada dropped a pair of road contests at San José State (2-0) and Fresno State (3-1). Freshman forward Rachel Gensch is the leading scorer for Nevada, netting three goals this season. Junior Lauryn Horstdaniel has guarded the net for the majority of the season, picking up 83 saves and allowing 28 goals. The Wolfpack returns nine letterwinners and seven starters from last season, a team that went 5-13-0 overall and 2-9-0 in Mountain West play. Erin Otagaki is in her first season as the head coach at Nevada after spending two seasons as an assistant coach.
All-time, Utah State is 11-6-0 against the Wolfpack, having spent time together in the WAC before both teams joined the Mountain West. The Aggies took the victory, 1-0, last season, but in the 2015 meeting in Reno, Nevada earned the 3-1 win.
TAKING THE LEAD
With her two assists at Wyoming, senior forward Wesley Hamblin became the all-time assist leader at Utah State. She has tallied 19 assists in her career, passing the former record of 17 set by Jessica Brooksby.
A DYNAMIC DUO
Senior forwards Bailee Hammond and Wesley Hamblin led Utah State to its 3-1 win at Wyoming last week, as the two combined for two of the teams’ goals with Hammond scoring both, assisted by Hamblin. Friday was the first time the same players have scored and assisted on multiple goals since Nov. 3, 2007, when Candice Clark assisted on two of Lauren Hanson’s goals in a 10-1 win against Louisiana Tech. In their four years at Utah State, Hammond and Hamblin have paired up on eight goals.
Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo leads the Aggie offense this season, tallying seven goals and five 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.
AGGIE HOT SHOTS
In Utah State’s scoreless draw against Air Force, the Aggies 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 43 shots this season, 29 of which have been on goal. Her .674 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.
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.
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 152-116-37 in her 15 years as head coach.
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 defeated Wyoming, 3-1, and fell at Colorado State, 2-0. Against the Cowgirls, the Aggies came from behind after Wyoming scored first in the 13th minute. Senior forward Bailee Hammond got USU on the board in the 54th minute, assisted by senior forward Wesley Hamblin. The two combined again for a goal from Hammond in the 82nd minute. USU added one more insurance goal in the 88th minute, when freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo scored with an assist from sophomore forward Alecia Robinson. Senior Sara Cobb tallied six saves in the match. Against the Rams, the Aggies took 10 shots, but were unable to capitalize. Cobb added six saves to her total in the loss. On the week, Utah State took 26 shots, with 13 on goal, while its opponents combined for 20 shots with 15 on target. Cobb ended the weekend with 12 saves and three goals allowed.
Utah State will conclude the 2017 regular season at home, as it hosts Boise State on Friday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. The Aggies will celebrate their eight seniors prior to the match.
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