Aggie Soccer Faces Host Nevada In WAC Tournament Semifinals Friday
Nov. 2, 2006
LOGAN, Utah - Second-seeded Utah State will face host and third-seeded Nevada in the Western Athletic Conference Soccer Tournament in Friday's semifinal round. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) on the Wolf Pack's home field at Nevada's Mackay Stadium at Reno, Nev.
Nevada eliminated sixth-seeded Hawai'i, 3-0, Thursday evening.
Friday's first semifinal pits fourth-seeded San Jose State against No. 1 seed and regular-season champion Fresno State on Friday at 2 p.m. (Mountain Time). San Jose State and fifth-seeded Boise State went to penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless draw through regulation and the two overtime periods. San Jose State won on PK's, 4-2.
If Utah State wins Friday, the Aggies will play in Sunday's WAC Championship match on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. (Mountain Time).
Utah State established a new program record with five conference victories, posting an unbeaten 5-0-2 WAC mark. USU also tied a program with 10 overall victories after the Aggies ended regular-season action with a 10-7-2 mark, going unbeaten in their last seven matches and in nine of the last 10 matches, entering the WAC Tournament which begins Thursday at Reno, Nev.
The Aggies earned a first-round bye after finishing second, exceeding preseason predictions, as Utah State was picked fifth in the preseason WAC poll.
Utah State's 5-0-2 conference record tops the previous program-record marks of four conference wins, done four times, most recently last season, and the .750 conference winning percentage is a new school record, topping last season's .643 (4-2-1). Utah State's 10 wins matches the 2003 squad for most-ever wins in a season, while the .579 winning percentage (10-7-2) ties the program record mark of .579 in 2003 (10-7-2).
The Aggies had three players receive all-WAC honors, as the all-WAC teams were announced Wednesday. Defender Lindsey Smart was named WAC Freshman of the Year and was named to the second-team, while senior forward Charity Weston earned first-team all-WAC accolades for the second year in a row and junior midfielder Dana Peart was tabbed to the second-team.
Smart becomes the first-ever Utah State player to receive a specific individual honor, while Weston becomes the third player in Utah State soccer history to earn first-team honors twice and the third Aggie to receive all-conference accolades in three or more seasons. Weston received first-team all-WAC honors last year and honorable mention all-Big West honors in 2004, Utah State's final season in that conference. It was Peart's first-ever all-conference award in an Aggie uniform.
Offensively, the Aggies rank seventh in the WAC statistics in goals (18, 0.95 per game), fifth in assists (14, 0.74 pg) and sixth in points (50, 2.63 pg). Defensively Utah State is third in both goals allowed (16, 0.84 pg) and goals against average (0.80), as well as tied for third in shutouts (8), and sixth in saves (89, 4.68 pg).
Weston leads USU and is tied for 12th in the WAC with four goals, as well as tied for the team-high and tied for 12th in the conference with three assists. With 11 points, Weston leads the Aggies and ranks tied for 11th in the league. Weston has a goal in four of the last nine matches.
Weston became the USU career assists record holder, tallying her 12th career assist in the win over Nevada on Oct. 20, surpassing Amber Tracy's 11 career assists from 2000-03. She also is fourth on the career points list with 40, as well as fourth on the career goals chart with 14.
Appearing in 72 matches in her Aggie career, Weston will finish at No. 3 on the USU career matches played list and has 64 career starts, and will end her career in the top five on the matches started list.
Freshman forward Erin Salmon is one behind Weston on the team goals list with three. Salmon also has two assists to rank second on the team with eight points.
Fellow freshman, defender Lindsey Smart and senior forward Charlsie Harris netted their first goals of the season in Sunday's match, while sophomore midfielder Lacey Christenson scored not only her first goal, but her first points of the season with the game-winner in Friday's 1-0 OT win over Boise State.
This past weekend marks the third time in the last four matches and a streak of four goals in a row that a Utah State player had scored their first goal of the season, as sophomore forward Jessica Darrow netted her first career goal in the 2-0 win over Nevada on Oct. 20, Christenson scored her first goal of the season in Friday's 1-0 OT win over Boise State, and then Smart and Harris in Sunday's win over Idaho.
Peart netted a goal in consecutive matches the previous week, and both goals were game-winners, hitting the winner in Monday's 2-1 win over Hawai'i and the first goal of Friday's 2-0 win over Nevada. All three of Peart's goals this season have been game-winners, ranking tied for third in the league in game-winners, and she adds an assist for seven points.
Smart earned the assist on Darrow's goal in the Nevada match by taking the corner kick, Smart's third assist on the season which is tied with Weston for the team-high honors in assists and is tied for 12th in the conference. With the goal, Smart now has five points, ranking fourth on the team.
With the goal on Sunday, Harris recorded her 11th career goal and 26th career point, moving up to tie for fifth on the USU career goals list and tied for seventh on the Aggies' career goals' list.
Between the pipes for every minute this season for the Aggies, sophomore goalkeeper Ali Griffin has made 83 saves on the year, including a career-high nine in the win over Nevada on Oct. 20. Griffin has moved up to No. 2 on USU's single-season saves list. Griffin posted three-straight shutouts and eight on the season, as the goal yielded to Idaho snapped Griffin and the USU defense's streak of shutout minutes at 364 scoreless minutes. Griffin ranks third in the WAC in saves, as well as second in the league in shutouts, third in save percentage (.838) and fourth in goals against average (0.80).
Utah State is 4-2-0 all-time vs. Nevada, winning this year's regular-season meeting, 2-0, on Oct. 20 at Logan, but the Aggies are 0-2 at Reno.
The Nevada Wolf Pack are now 12-4-3 overall, winning four in a row since losing to Utah State, and posted a 4-2-1 mark in WAC action.
Nevada wasted little time in finding the back of the net, as Samantha Miller scored a pair of goals just moments apart, at the 7:39 mark and the 8:44 mark. The Wolf Pack added an own goal at 47:46 for the final score, marking the second time in a week that Nevada had shutout Hawai'i, scoring early and often en route to a 5-0 win last Friday at Reno.
Nevada won its last three matches of the regular season after falling to Utah State, 2-0, on Oct. 20. The Wolf Pack outscored its opposition, 15-1, in those three victories, including 7-0 over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 22 and 5-0 over their first-round opponent Hawai'i last Friday.
In the WAC statistics, Nevada entered the tournament leading the league in shots (311, 17.28 per game), goals (37, 2.06 pg), assists (34, 1.89 pg) and points (108, 6.0 pg). Defensively the Wolf Pack ranks second in goals allowed (12, 0.67), goals against average (0.64) and shutouts (9).
Karen Zmirak, a sophomore forward, leads Nevada with 26 points off 11 goals and four assists. She leads the conference in goals and points, and ranks tied for fourth in assists.
Freshman goalkeeper Caitlin Holmes has spent the majority of time in net for the Wolf Pack, allowing five goals in nine matches, making 36 saves and has posted a 0.56 gaa and .878 save percentage, while recorded four shutouts. Holmes is second in the WAC in both gaa and save percentage, as well as 10th in saves and tied for fourth in shutouts.