Aug. 16, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
The UNLV women's soccer team, under first-year head coach Michael Coll, will open the 2012 season this weekend with a pair of home games at Peter Johann Memorial Field. First up will be a Friday night contest against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at 7 pm, and Sunday, Aug. 19, will see the Rebels face Hawaii at 6 pm.
Players To Watch
While the Rebels lost last year's top scorer to graduation, Katherine Orellana (first-team All-MW), the Rebels do bring back a pair of all-conference selections from last season to lead the way. Senior midfielder Macy Jo Harrison and senior defender Caitlin Allen, both second-team All-MW in 2011, are two of seven returning starters from a year ago. Also coming back for UNLV is junior goalkeeper Kylie Wassell, who has started the last 41 games in goal for the Rebels.
It will be a completely new coaching staff for UNLV this fall, led by former eight-year Penn State assistant Coll. He has added two new assistants as well, in Mark Carr and Cortney Sobrero. Recently, the Rebels were picked to finish fourth in the preseason Mountain West coaches' poll.
Scouting Northern Arizona
The Lumberjacks are coming off a 3-9-7 season, and only bring back four starters from the 2011 squad. NAU is featuring a team with six players that list Las Vegas as their hometown, and all six played for the same club team (Las Vegas Premier). In addition, two returners were all-conference a year ago, Lauren Weaver and Sarah Tarver. The Lumberjacks were picked to finish in a tie for fifth in the preseason Big Sky poll, after placing fifth in 2011.
This will be the first meeting between UNLV and NAU since 2004, which finished in a 1-0 double-overtime victory by the Rebels at Johann Memorial Field. UNLV holds a 3-1-1 record all-time against the Lumberjacks, with the lone NAU win coming in the first meeting, back in the 1999 season.
Hawaii will come into Las Vegas on Sunday after opening the season up north at Nevada, Reno on Friday night. The Rainbow Wahine ended last year with a 5-12-1 mark, which included a 3-0 setback at UNLV on Sept. 18, also in Las Vegas. That was only the second meeting between the teams, with the first a 1-0 victory by Hawaii in Honolulu on Oct. 18, 1998.
The Rainbow Wahine, predicted to finish ninth in the 10-team Big West, have nine returning starters from last year. Leading the way is senior goalkeeper Kanani Taaca, who ranks top five in school history in starts, shutouts, and saves. Senior midfielder Rachel Domino also paced the team in assists last year with five.
Next Time Out
The Rebels will be off to the Midwest for a pair of games in the Kansas Invitational. First will be a matchup with South Dakota State on Friday, Aug. 24 at 12:30 pm (PST). That's followed by a Sunday, Aug. 26 contest against the host Kansas Jayhawks at 11 am (PST).