Rebels Open 2007 Season Friday|
Aug. 29, 2007
LAS VEGAS -
UNLV, three-time defending Mountain West Conference women's soccer champions, will being the 2007 season at home for the fourth time in the last five years, but will need every bit of its home field advantage as the Rebels will take on a pair of very tough opponents in the UNLV adidas Classic.
Friday night's contest will see the Rebels take on Cal State Fullerton, who finished last season at 12-8-2 and are receiving votes in the NSCAA preseason top-25 poll, in a 7 pm contest, while Arizona State, UNLV's opposition on Sunday at 1 pm, is a perennial Pac-10 power. Both games will be held at Peter Johann Memorial Field.
The Rebels are hoping to return to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season this year, and have high hopes for that goal as they return 10 starters from last year's team, as well as three all-conference players. First team All-MWC defender Brie Kuhne is joined by second-team selections Armani Rice (forward) and Erica Jensen (midfielder) as key players for UNLV, while also returning is senior forward Katie Carney, 2005 MWC Tournament MVP who has also led the team in scoring the past three seasons.
UNLV has also added a strong freshman class, as well as a couple of transfers who will be looking to break into the starting lineup. In goal is sophomore Alicia Lugo, split time in goal last year before not allowing a single score over three games in the MWC Tournament.
Players To Watch Carney led the Rebels in scoring last year with 12 points, including a game-winning goal in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals, and is one of the top offensive threats in the Mountain West. Joining her up front are the two quickest players on the squad, Rice and senior forward Jessica Destito, giving the Rebels the top returning set of forwards in the league.
Leading the midfielders are Jensen and senior Ashly O'Harrow, who has played at defense for the majority of her career in Las Vegas. The defense is strong, thanks to Kuhne and several other strong veterans. Lugo meanwhile will be the story in goal, and looks to lead the Rebels to the NCAA tournament once again in 2007.
Scouting The Titans Cal State Fullerton returns 13 letterwinners and eight starters off of last year's squad that finished 12-8-2 overall, 4-2-1 in the Big West Conference (third place), and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Three of the team's top four scorers return from a season ago, but gone are three-time conference Goalkeeper of the Year, Karen Bardsley, last year's Defensive Player of the Year, Erica Janke, and second-leading scorer Lauryn Welch.
Scouting The Sun Devils Though Arizona State finished with an 8-8-3 record last season, that didn't tell the whole story as all eight losses were by just one goal each, including losses to eventual College Cup participants Florida State and UCLA.
The Sun Devils' top three scorers from 2006 all return, led by senior forward Courtney Crane, who posted five goals and three assists for 13 points. Dante Peres and Alissa Oldenkamp meanwhile both tied for second on the squad with 10 points each. In goal ASU will have to find a new goalkeeper after the graduation of Kim Bingham, who posted an 0.86 GAA with 89 saves for the season.
All Home Game Stats LIVE!!!!!!!!! Once again this season, live stats for all home UNLV games will be available on GameTracker on the UNLV athletics website, which can be accessed at www.unlvrebels.com.