Rebels Open Against The Pac-10
Aug. 23, 2006
LAS VEGAS -
The UNLV Rebels, two-time defending Mountain West Conference women's soccer champions, with two games on the road for the fourth time in the eight-year history of the program, begining on Friday against the host Washington State Cougars in the Cougar Classic Tournament in Pullman. UNLV finishes play in the classic on Sunday against Oregon State, the second of four Pac-10 schools UNLV will face this year.
The Rebels hope to return to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year this season. To do so, they will need to replace a pair of all-conference players on defense, graduated goalkeeper Jenna Huff and defender Nickie Olson. However, the Rebels do return their top two scorers from last year, first-team all-conference senior midfielder Tanya Roberts, and junior forward Katie Carney, 2005 MWC Tournament MVP.
Though UNLV will have to replace a three-time all-conference goalie in Huff, sophomore Ciera Nero should be up to the task, as she started the first 10 games of 2005 after Huff suffered a broken bone in the preseason, and finished with two shutouts and a 0.81 GAA.
Washington State finished the 2005 season with an 11-7-2 mark, and was 4-4-1 in league play. The Cougars return seven starters from last year, but brought in a big class with 13 newcomers. The top returning scorer for WSU is sophomore forward Megan Hyte, who posted five goals and two assists for 12 points, while senior midfielder Sasha Baines added two goals for four points. One of two goalkeepers could start against UNLV, junior Brynn Bemis or freshman Amber Wittmers.
Oregon State finished the 2005 season with an 10-8-1 mark, and was 3-5-1 in league play. The Beavers return nine from last year's team, including 80% of its offense. Key returnees include junior forward Jodie Taylor, 2005 leading scorer with 10 goals and six assists (26 points), while on defense, Melissa Onstad returns for her senior year after posting a 1.05 GAA with 79 saves and seven shutouts.