Nov. 11, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - After winning its first Western Athletic Conference Tournament last week, Utah State women's soccer team looks to continue its historic season, taking on third-seeded Auburn on on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. (MT) at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
Utah State (15-4-2) earned its first trip to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Fresno State in the finals of the WAC Tournament, 1-0 on Sunday, Nov. 6.
There are several ways to follow the Aggies first round tournament match. Fans can go to www.utahstateaggies.com and go to the schedule and the bottom of the main page and find a link to GameTracker to follow the match for free. For a minimal cost, fans can click on the "Watch Live" link to watch the match through www.auburntigers.com. Soccer results and updated brackets can also be found at www.NCAA.com.
Auburn earned its first-ever Southeastern Conference Tournament title with a 3-2 win over No. 23 Florida on Nov. 6 at the Orange Beach Athletic Complex in Alabama. With the win, Auburn becomes the lowest seed to ever win the title (seventh) and the first program from the SEC's Western Division to win the tournament championship.
The Tigers are 14-6-2 this season and have won three-straight matches. SEC Tournament MVP Katy Frierson leads the team with eight goals and 13 assists for 29 points this season. Auburn has five players in double-digits in scoring. Three different players have seen time in goal for the Tigers this season. Amy Howard has seen the bulk of the minutes, playing in 14 of AU's 22 matches this season. She has allowed 19 goals in 14 matches for a 1.38 goals against average.
Auburn is currently ranked No. 24 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25 poll. This is the second ranked team that the Aggies have faced this season after taking on then-No. 2 Oklahoma State on Sept. 18, falling 3-0 in Stillwater. The Cowgirls are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
This is the first meeting between the Aggies and the Tigers and the first time that Utah State has ever faced a team from the SEC. The Aggies are the only team from the Beehive State to earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament as the WAC's automatic bid.
Utah State is led by five seniors forward Shantel Flanary, forward/defender Marissa Sanchez, midfielder Chandra Salmon-Christensen, defender Summer Tillotson and goalkeeper Molli Merril. Flanary, Salmon-Christensen. Tillotson and Merrill all earned all-WAC honors this season.
In the latest NCAA Rankings Molli Merrill has moved up to 11th in the nation in goals against average with a 0.52 goals against average. Oklahoma State's Adrianna Franch leads the nation with a 0.25 GAA. Merrill is 21st in the country with a .864 save percentage. As a team, the Aggies 0.60 GAA is 15th in the country.
With two assists against Idaho and Fresno State in the WAC Tournament last week, senior Shantel Flanary passed Aggie-great Lindsey Smart (2006-09) with 17 career assists. In the Aggies historic weekend in Fresno, Flanary also scored 85th career point which puts her just past Lauren Hansen (2007-10) in career points. Hansen (2007-10) set the record of 84 last season.
Utah State and Auburn met in football earlier this season in Auburn. The Tigers defeated the Aggies 42-38 in that meeting.
Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
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