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Rebels Begin Mountain West Title Defense On The Road

Sept. 21, 2017

@unlvwsoccer | 2017 Schedule | Purchase Tickets | Weekly Release

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV women’s soccer wrapped up its non-conference slate with a pair of wins last weekend, taking down CSU Bakersfield 2-1 on the road followed by another 2-1 dispatching of UC Riverside at home. At 8-1, the 2017 squad now owns the program’s best start through nine games and best non-conference winning percentage in a single-season. The defending Mountain West Champions head into conference play with the top record in the league, but as head coach Chris Shaw would say, that doesn’t mean anything as everyone starts at 0-0 this weekend.
UNLV (8-1) at New Mexico (5-3)
Friday, Sept. 22 
6:30 p.m. PT | UNM Soccer Complex | Albuquerque, NM
New Mexico leads the all-time series 13-10-1
UNLV (8-1) at San Diego State (3-5)
Sunday, Sept. 24 
12 p.m. PT | SDSU Sports Deck | San Diego, CA
SDSU leads the all-time series 15-7-2
Live Stats | Live Video 

The Scarlet and Gray will open conference play on the road with two tough games out of the gate, facing New Mexico on Friday, September 22 and San Diego State on Sunday, September 22. The Lobos enter the weekend 5-3, which includes a 3-2 win over Houston and a narrow 1-0 loss to the University of Washington, and are 3-1 at home this season. UNM may have revenge on its mind after losing on a buzzer-beater goal by former Rebel Jordan Magnin with less than 10 second remaining in the contest.

San Diego State will be an intriguing matchup after the teams played two intense matches last season. Prior to the 2016 meetings, the Rebels had lost eight straight to the Aztecs dating back to 2009. Both of last year’s contests ended in draws, but with the second one coming in the Mountain West championship game, a winner had to be determined. The Rebels edged out the Aztecs in the shootout, completing the sweep of the regular season and conference championships and earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament - the program’s first appearance in 10 years. UNLV will be looking for its first outright win over SDSU since 2008.

The Rebels will look to senior Sophie Cortes to continue to lead them through conference play. Cortes has been dynamic in the attack in 2017, registering career highs in goals (7), assists (4) and points (18) to lead the team and the entire conference in those categories. In last weekend’s wins, the midfielder scored three of UNLV’s four goals, including both at CSU Bakersfield, landing her a spot on Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week.

UNLV will return home for its Mountain West home-opener on Friday, September 29 against Colorado College.

SCOUTING THE COMPETITION 
  • At 5-3, New Mexico finished non-league play with the third-best record. While the Lobos have only scored 11 goals on the season, they have managed to fire off the second-most shots behind UNLV with 149, so the Rebel defense will need to be prepared for a lot of action. They also haven’t needed to score a ton because they are second in the MW with a .750 goals-against-average, having given up just six goals in eight games.
  • SDSU’s record of 3-5 is deceiving as the Aztecs faced a tough non-league slate that included two teams ranked in the top 25 (No. 9 UCLA and No. 22 Nebraska) in addition to three other Power-5 opponents. Regardless of out of conference results, SDSU competes year-in and year-out for MW titles and this year will be no different.

STATISTICAL RANKINGS
  • NCAA: The Rebels currently boast a top-25 offense in the country, ranking tied for 25th in total points (62), tied for 24th in total goals (21) and tied for 23rd in total assists (20). Individually, Cortes is tied for 9th in the country in total points (18) and is tied for 13 in total goals (7). Senior keeper Jordan Sallee is also in the top-50 in save percentage, tied for 46 at .841.
  • Mountain West: The Rebels lead the MW in nearly every major offensive statistical category, including shots (157), goals, points and assists, while they are fourth in goals-against-average (.86). Cortes leads the league in points, goals and is tied with teammate Amanda Galbriath for first with four assists. Sallee is second in the conference with 37 saves on the year.

NEWS & NOTES
  • The 8-1 record is the best start through nine games and best non-conference winning percentage in program history. 
  • The defending MW champions will be looking for their first back-to-back regular season titles in program history.
  • UNLV finished non-league play 4-0 at home and 4-1 on the road.
  • The Rebels are 2-0 in overtime games this season, with both game-winners coming with less than three minutes left in the second overtime.
  • The Rebels haven’t lost two games in a row in almost two years - a span of 42 games - dating back to the end of September of 2015. 
  • UNLV’s 14-straight regular season unbeaten streak also came to an end with the loss to Sacramento State on Sept. 1.
  • For the fifth straight week, a Rebel received a Top Drawer Soccer’s Team of the Week honor with Cortes’ selection this week. 
  • The Rebels sit atop the Mountain West standings and are the only team with just one loss.
  • Chris Shaw is in his fourth year with a 44-23-5 overall record.
  • The Rebels were picked to finish third in the Mountain West preseason coaches poll, their highest spot in the poll since 2013. San Diego State and San Jose State were picked to finish one-two, but UNLV’s five first-place votes were the most of any school.
  • Akubuilo, the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, collected several preseason honors. She became the first Rebel to be named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, the most prestigious award in collegiate soccer. She was also named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Women’s DI Best XI Third Team and is ranked No. 32 on the site’s Women’s Collegiate Top 100.
  • The Rebels return two All-Conference First Team selections in Akubuilo and Cortes, a second team selection in Jordan Sallee and two Mountain West All-Newcomer team selections in Paige Almendariz and Georgia Kingman.
  • Sallee also garnered preseason honors as she was ranked No. 66 overall and the No. 9 senior keeper on Everybody Soccer, a site dedicated to collegiate goalkeepers

 

 

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