Oct. 23, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State soccer (10-2-6, 5-0-2 WAC) stretched its unbeaten streak to eight matches with a 1-0 win against San Jose State last week. The Aggies are still in first place in the conference with 17 points. Utah State concludes the regular season this week, facing Louisiana Tech (12-2-4, 3-1-2 WAC) in its only match this week on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 12 p.m. at Chuck at Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
TIGHT RACE - In the final week of the regular season, the race for the WAC title is very tight. The Aggies hold the top spot with 17 points and one match to play. Denver is in second with 14 points and two matches left. Louisiana Tech is in third with 11 points. The seeding for the upcoming WAC Tournament to be held in Logan will be determined on Sunday.
SERIES HISTORY vs. LOUISIANA TECH - Utah State leads the all-time series against Louisiana Tech 7-0-0 with the team's first meeting in 2005 when the Aggies joined the WAC. In the first meeting, USU defeated LA Tech, 2-0. Last season, Utah State defeated Louisiana Tech, 3-1, in Logan behind goals from Mari Miyashiro, and Kendra Pemberton (two).
Louisiana Tech is having a stellar season with a 12-2-4 overall and 3-1-2 in WAC action. The Lady Techsters have 36 goals and 29 assists for 101 points this season. They have four players in double digits in scoring this season.
Emily Brennan and Brittany Beddow are tied for sixth in points scored in the WAC this season with 14 points apiece. Brennan is tied for third in the league in goals scored with seven. Louisiana Tech has two goalkeepers who have played over 800 minutes each this season, both with stellar goals against averages. Caitlin Updike has allowed four goals for a 0.43 GAA, while Corina Brown has allowed three goals for a 0.31 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.
HONORING OUR ELDERS - On Sunday, the Aggies will honor their four seniors prior to the match against Louisiana Tech. Defenders Kami Montgomery and Natalie along with goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford will be acknowledged before the game. Utah State fans and players can say thanks for a great four years. The trio were part of the class that won its first WAC Tournament.
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, 0-0ON THE VERGE OF A RECORD - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is nearing a record. With one regular-season match remaining, Mulford sports a miniscule 0.50 goals against average. Last season, Molli Merrill set the school record with a 0.59 GAA. If the Aggies end the season with a GAA of under 1.00, it will the third-straight season that has had a GAA of under 1.00. With Merrill and the Aggies earning a 0.94 GAA in 2010.
FIRST TIMERS - Six different Aggies earned their Utah State point during the Aggies five-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 REACHES MILESTONE - With a win against San Jose State last week, head coach Heather Cairns reached a career mileston with her 100th career win. She holds a 100-77-25 for a .557 winning percentage. She is 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 - For the first time since joining the WAC in 2005 that Utah State 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.
BY THE NUMBERS - This season, Utah State holds and impressive 8-0-1 record when scoring first. The Aggies are also an impressive 7-1-5 when having more corner kicks than there foes. For the season, USU has 98 corner kicks compared to only 60 by its opponents.
AGGIES IN THE WAC STANDINGS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is second this week in the WAC standings in save percentage (.887) and tied for third in saves with 63. She is also third in goals against average with a stellar 0.53 GAA just behind Louisiana Tech's Corina Brown who is first with a 0.35 GAA. In WAC only matches, Utah State is tied for first in goals scored with Denver with 13. The Aggies are second in assists with 14. USU is first in goals allowed with two and GAA at 0. 27.
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 18 matches along with defender Jessica Hoskin and forward Mari Miyashiro. Norris and Rose have played all 1846 minutes this season, while roaming the Aggie backfield. Hoskin has seen time in 1641 minutes this season. Ten 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).
LAST TIME OUT - Utah State head soccer coach Heather Cairns earned her 100th career win Friday as the Aggies battled to a 1-0 win over San Jose State at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
With the win, the Aggies improve to 10-2-6 overall and 5-0-2 in Western Athletic Conference action, maintaining their spot atop the league standings. San Jose State falls to 4-11-1 overall and 2-5-0 in league play. This is the seventh-straight season that USU has won at least nine matches in a season, and the sixth time in the next seven years that the Aggies have reached double-figures in wins.
Utah State now has 17 points in conference play with one match remaining. Louisiana Tech is in second place with 11 points with three matches to play.
Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford earned her sixth complete shutout, making three saves in the match. As a team, USU now has eight shutouts this season, including five in WAC play.
ON THE PITCH - After facing Louisiana Tech on Sunday, Oct. 28, the Aggies will host the WAC Tournament Nov. 1-2 and 4 in Logan. This is the first time that USU has hosted the WAC Tournament.
SHINING ON SUNDAY - Utah State is still 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.
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 100-77-25 (.557) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 41-9-8 (.776) 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
Preseason Players of the Year Offensive: Chelsea Small, Jr., F, Idaho Defensive: Jessica Ingram, Sr., D, San Jose State
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