ON THE PITCH
Utah State soccer (9-6-3, 4-4-2 MW) is set to play its final match of the 2017 regular season this weekend, as it hosts Boise State (11-5-3, 6-2-2 MW) on Friday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m.
All home and 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.
Utah State's tradition of Freebie Friday continues this week against the Broncos. The first 100 fans in attendance at Friday's match will receive a free long sleeved Utah State soccer T-shirt.
Friday's match will be the final home match for Utah State's seven seniors. Prior to the contest against Boise State, the Aggies will honor goalkeeper Sara Cobb, midfielder Kacey Erickson, forward Bailee Hammond, forward Wesley Hamblin, defender Mikayla Howes, forward Rachelle Parrish and midfielder Erin Rickenbach. The Senior Day celebrations will begin at 2:50 p.m. on Friday, with kick-off set for 3:05 p.m.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE
Boise State makes the trip to Logan with an 11-5-3 record, including a 6-2-2 Mountain West ledger. The Broncos are tied for third in the conference standings and have secured a place in the Mountain West Championships. Last weekend, Boise State defeated Nevada (3-1) and UNLV (6-1) in a pair of home matches. Sophomore forward Raimee Sherle leads the Broncos and the Mountain West with 15 goals on the season. She also has a team-high six assists for 36 total points. Senior Janelle Flores guards the net for the Broncos, where she has tallied 66 saves and allowed 17 goals. Jim Thomas is in his fifth season as the head coach at Boise State, where he has an overall record of 46-41-17.
All-time, Utah State is 10-4-4 against Boise State, with the series dating back to 1998. Since both teams joined the Mountain West, the Aggies have gone 1-1-2 in competition against the Broncos. Last year, USU took a 6-1 win over Boise State in Boise.
Heading into the final day of the regular season, Utah State is in seventh place in the Mountain West standings. While just the top six teams will qualify for next week's Mountain West Championships, the Aggies are not out of the running. Utah State can make the tournament if they defeat Boise State and Fresno State loses or Air Force loses or ties. USU can also
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.
HIT THE ROAD
Utah State closed the road portion of the 2017 season in a 4-0 win at Nevada. With that victory, the Aggies posted a 6-4 road record this year. The ledger marks the first time Utah State has had a winning road record since 2013, when the team went 4-3-3 in road games. The six away victories by the team this season are the most in program history.
GOING OUT ON A HIGH NOTE
Senior forward Bailee Hammond is making a statement in her final year as an Aggie. Hammond is one of two players to lead the USU offense with eight goals on the season. With her goal at Nevada last week, Hammond officially cracked onto the Utah State career record lists. She is now tied for 10th all-time with 14 goals in her career. Her eight goals this season more than doubled her career total, as she entered the year with six.
SHUT THEM OUT
Of Utah State's nine wins this season, seven have been shutouts. This is the eighth-straight season that USU has had seven or more shutouts. The 2011 and 2013 squads hold the program record of 11 shutouts in a year. This season's seven shutouts are the most in the Mountain West. Butler leads the NCAA with 14 shutouts this year.
IN THE BOOKS
Several Utah State players have continued to secure their places in the program record books this season. Along with claiming the all-time assist record, senior forward Wesley Hamblin currently ranks sixth in total points (50) and tied for eighth in goals (15). Senior forward Bailee Hammond is tied for 10th in goals scored with 14. In the net, senior Sara Cobb is sixth in goals against average (1.07) and 10th in minutes (1,532), saves (80) and shutouts (6.5). Junior Grace McGuire has seen limited playing time this season, but continues to climb the record lists. She is currently third in GAA (0.88), tied for fifth in shutouts (9.5) and ninth in saves (82) and minutes played (1,944).
Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo leads the Aggie offense this season, tallying eight goals and six assists for 22 total points. 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.
TAKING THE LEAD
With her two assists at Wyoming, senior forward Wesley Hamblin became the all-time assist leader at Utah State. She currently has 20 assists in her career, passing the former record of 17 set by Jessica Brooksby.
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 154-116-37 in her 15 years as head coach.
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 2-0 Mountain West record last week as it defeated UNLV, 2-1, in a double-overtime match at home and topped Nevada, 4-0, on the road. Against the Rebels, senior forward Bailee Hammond scored both goals to give the Aggies the win. She scored first in the 58th minute, assisted by sophomore forward Alecia Robinson and freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo. After UNLV evened the score and forced overtime, Hammond scored the golden goal in the 102nd minute, assisted by senior forward Wesley Hamblin. Junior goalkeeper Grace McGuire played the majority of the match after an injury to Sara Cobb, picking up six saves. Against the Wolf Pack, the Aggies saw goals from four different players en route to their seventh shutout of the season. Cardozo scored first in the seventh minute, while Hamblin added a goal in the 17th minute. In the second half, Robinson added a goal in the 76th minute, assisted by Cardozo. Hammond then put the finishing touch on the match with a goal in the 86th minute, assisted by sophomore midfielder Kanyan Ward. McGuire tallied two saves in the win. On the week, Utah State took 28 shots, with 16 on goal, while its opponents combined for 20 shots with nine on target. McGuire ended the weekend with eight saves and one goal allowed
Utah State now waits to see if the team will qualify for the 2017 Mountain West Championships. Tournament action from Las Vegas will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 31. The semifinal round of matches will be played on Thursday, Nov. 2, with the championship game set for 8 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, Nov. 4.
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