UNLV Opens Conference Play With a Pair of Home Matches|
Sept. 22, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - WEEKLY RELEASE
San Jose State (3-2-3) at UNLV (7-2-0)
Friday, Sept. 23
7 p.m. at Peter Johann Memorial Field
Fresno State (5-3-0) at UNLV (7-2-0)
Sunday, Sept. 25
12 p.m. at Peter Johann Memorial Field
Live Stats - Live Video
The Rebels have two games left on their four-game homestand, with the stakes getting a little higher as the team heads into Mountain West Conference play. First up on Fri., Sept. 23 is a 7 p.m. contest against San Jose State, followed by a 12 p.m matchup on Sun., Sept. 25 versus a red-hot Fresno State team that has won five matches in a row heading into the first weekend of league play. Both games will take place at Peter Johann Memorial Field.
UNLV finished its non-conference slate with a 7-2-0 record, a stretch that included a program-record 4-0 start. The Rebels’ 22 goals through the first nine games is the second-most in school history, just one behind the 2002 team that scored 23 through its first nine games of the season. With still 11 regular season games to play, this year’s team is more than halfway to the single-season goals record of 38, set in 2010, while its 23 assists are just nine shy of the record of 32, which was set just last year.
The Rebels wrapped up their non-conference schedule with two wins at home last weekend, besting Cal State Bakersfield 3-2 and Cal State Fullerton 1-0 in a double overtime battle as both the UNLV men’s and women’s programs welcomed back former players for alumni weekend. Weekend festivities included free tailgates hosted by the Rebel Soccer Foundation and a fundraiser to support pediatric cancer awareness month.
In Friday’s 3-2 win over over the Roadrunners, the Rebels looked like they’d cruise to a win after building a 3-0 lead they held through 85 minutes, but the ‘Runners used a UNLV hand ball foul in the box to score on a penalty kick and a cleanup goal off of another set piece three minutes apart to close the gap to 3-2. Despite the frantic push, the Rebels stayed composed and held on for the win. Two of the scores for UNLV came from the usual suspects, with leading scorers Lily Sender and Susie Bernal each finding the net -- with Bernal’s proving to be the game-winner. In an exciting moment, the first goal of the night was also the first career goal for junior midfielder Sophie Cortes, who scored on a set piece after a feed from Isabella Myers in the 31st minute to give the Rebels a lead they never relinquished. All three goals were spectacular, coming from 22 yards out and ending with perfect placements in the corners of the net.
On Sunday, it was again Cortes in the spotlight. On a hot afternoon, a hard fought game between UNLV and Cal State Fullerton ended in 101 minutes of scoreless action, until Cortes took matters into her own hands and drew a foul in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. While head coach Chris Shaw turned to one of his veteran players, Cortes pleaded to finish what she had started. And that she did, burying the ball in the bottom right corner to give the Rebels the golden goal and the double overtime win.
Junior keeper Jessie Clark got her first two starts of the season in goal and looked strong in the net as she played 186 scoreless minutes for UNLV, with only two goals getting by during the frantic last five minutes against CSU Bakersfield. Senior Hayley Wilson and junior Chidera Akubuilo continued to be dominant in the back, particularly on Sunday when they helped the Rebels record their second shutout of the season.
Offensively, it’s been an all around team effort for this team, as eight different players have scored at least one goal and seven scoring at least two. Senior Sender and Bernal have led the way, combining for eight goals, nine assists and 23 points on the season.
Scouting San Jose State
The Spartans are currently sixth in the standings with a 3-2-3 record after their non-conference slate. Highlighting the start of their season was a key win over last year’s NCAA tournament participant Seattle University on Aug. 28 in Boise, Idaho. Offensively, SJSU has been led by junior forward Dorthe Hoppius, who has tallied two goals and two assists on the season to lead the team in points (6). In goal, sophomore Paige Simoneau has played just over 720 minutes in the net, boasting a 0.50 goals-against average on the year.
Scouting Fresno State
Fresno State enters league play as the hottest team in the conference, winning five straight matches after starting the season 0-3. In the five wins, the Bulldogs have given up just four goals while netting 10 of their own. Junior forward Myra Delgadillo has been a star for Fresno State, recording four goals and five assists on the season to tie for the conference lead in total points with 13. Sophomore keeper Nicole Theroux has spent the majority of the minutes in the net for the Bulldogs this year, earning a 1.79 goals-against-average (GAA), while reserve Alex Best has played in four games and turned in a 1.72 GAA.
UNLV and San Jose State are meeting for the sixth time overall, with the Rebels owning a 4-1 record -- including a 1-0 win at the home of the Spartans last year in conference play. SJSU’s lone win came in a double overtime 1-0 win at home in 2013. This will be the ninth overall meeting between the Rebels and the Bulldogs, with UNLV holding a slight 4-3-1 edge. UNLV took last year’s meeting 2-1 on the road on Oct. 25.
Next Time Out
UNLV heads out on the road for the second weekend of league play, first at Wyoming and then to Colorado State on Fri., Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. PT and Sun., Oct. 2 at 12 p.m. PT, respectively.
Weekend Giveaways and Events
For the Mountain West opener on Friday against San Jose State, UNLV will be having a t-shirt giveaway, where they will distribute 100 free shirts throughout the game. Additionally, players from local youth club team Real Henderson will accompanying the Rebels during lineup announcement and scrimmage at halftime. Fans can stick around for post-game autographs with the players as well.
UNLV Launches Locker Room Fundraising Campaign
The Rebels have been approved to move into a bigger locker room on campus and have launched a fundraising campaign to make the space their own, with the goal of fostering long-term success both on and off the field. To learn how to contribute to the future of UNLV women’s soccer visit: unlvrebels.com/sports/w-soccer
UNLV’s 4-0 start was the best-ever through the first four games of the season since its first year in 1998. The Rebels’ 22 goals through the first nine games is second-most in program history, and is more than halfway to the single-season record of 38, set in 2010. With still 11 games to play, the team’s 23 assists is just nine shy of the record of 32, set just last year.
Mountain West Honors in 2016
The Rebels’ hot start translated into recognition by the Mountain West conference office. UNLV swept the Mountain West Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week awards in back-to-back weeks for the first time in program history. Redshirt freshman Michaela Morris and Chidera Akubuilo earned the first honors of the season, followed by Dakota Blazak and fellow senior Hayley Wilson the next week. The four league honors are the most since the Rebels earned them five times during the 2010 season.