Title Defense Begins In San Diego
Oct. 1, 2008
LAS VEGAS -
UNLV, four-time Mountain West women's soccer champions (2004-07), will open defense of its 2007 regular season title this Friday, when the Rebels take on San Diego State on the road in the league opener for both teams. Friday's game will also be shown live nationally on The Mtn. at 4 pm, one of two regular season games for UNLV on the Mtn. this season.
Coming in with an 8-3-1 mark and a regional ranking of 10th, UNLV hopes to continue its success from the non-conference portion of this year's schedule, which included seeing the Rebels earn their first-ever top-25 ranking. UNLV is also looking forward to its first TV appearance this year, as the Rebels are always at their top form in front of the camera, owning a 2-1-3 record in televised action (two of the ties resulted in PK shootout victories in the 2006 MWC Tournament).
The Aztecs own a 7-6 lead in the all-time series between the two, but the Rebels have won six of the last seven meetings while outscoring SDSU 13-6 over that stretch. Historically, however, UNLV has not had much success on the Aztecs' home field, winning just one game (3-0 in 2004), while losing in 2000, 2002 and 2006.
Friday's game is also the second of four-straight road games for UNLV, who will play its first games of the league schedule away from home, and all three are against teams that were in the top four of the 2008 preseason poll. The last time UNLV started out the MWC season with a stretch of road games was in 2005, with four straight, but all were against teams that finished in the bottom half of the league standings that year.
Sophomore forward Ashleigh Shoughro, a transfer from San Diego and a Las Vegas native, leads the Rebels and is fourth in the Mountain West Conference with 11 points off six goals (including two game-winners), and three assists. Junior midfielder Brianna Moore is next with 11 points (tied seventh), while sophomore midfielder Amanda Forrester also ranked in the top 10 in the league with 10 points (tied ninth). Junior forward Niki Connolly is right behind the trio with nine points on the year. Junior Alicia Lugo continues to shine in goal, as she has allowed just eight all season while posting five shutouts, which gives her 18 in her career, and her 0.73 GAA is second in the conference.
San Diego State (4-5-1) has played a similar non-conference schedule to the Rebels in that the majority of their games have been away from its home field. While they have struggled away from the SDSU Sports Deck (1-5-1 combined road and netural record), the Aztecs have defended their home field very well. So far in 2008 SDSU is 3-0 at home, with wins over Arizona State (2-1), UC Riverside (3-1) and San Jose State (3-0).
Leading the team is Cat Walker with four goals and nine points. Heath Vandevanter and Jessica Gordon both have three goals each for SDSU. In goal is Aubree Southwick, who is currently posting a 1.74 GAA and has 39 saves in 881 minutes of action.