Rebels Take On Falcons, Cowgirls
Oct. 19, 2006
LAS VEGAS -
Rebels face key weekend in Mountain West play UNLV takes on two Mountain West opponents this weekend and will look to wrap up a berth in the MWC Tournament with a pair of wins. For the first time this year, not every team will advance to the postseason MWC Tournament, as just six of the eight teams in the league will go to Salt Lake in November. After opening the season with a pair of losses on the road, UNLV put itself right back in the conference race with a pair of thrilling one-goal, last-minute victories, over New Mexico (1-0 in overtime on Oct. 13) and TCU (2-1 on Oct. 15), the Rebels now stand fourth in the league and a split this weekend should seal a spot in the tournament, but UNLV has its sights set on challenging for the highest seeding possible.
The Rebels will be facing a pair of teams that it has dominated recently, not having lost to either one in the last three years, and a pair of teams that have struggled on offense as well. Air Force has just nine goals this season, three in league play, while Wyoming is a little better at 15 goals, but have scored just once in its last two games.
Players to watch For the first time in three years Katie Carney is not leading the Rebels in scoring, as junior midfielder Armani Rice scored a pair of game-winning goals over the weekend to give her a team-high five goals and 11 points. She also leads the team in game-winners with four, three of them coming in one-goal victories.
Carney is still ranked in the conference however, as the junior forward has three goals and three assisst for nine points, the same stats as classmate and fellow forward Jessica Destito. Another threat on offense is senior forward Tanya Roberts, who has two-game winners on the season, and for the year has seven points (two goals, three assists).
In goal, sophomore Ciera Nero has emerged as the starting keeper For the year, she has a 1.19 GAA with 40 saves and five shutouts.
Last time out Following her final minutes game-winning goal on Friday night, UNLV junior midfielder Armani Rice repeated the same feat on Sunday , as with under two minutes remaining in the game she broke a 1-1 tie with her fifth goal of the year to lift the Rebels over TCU.
The first half saw a quick burst of goals, beginning with a goal by UNLV's Jessica Destito in the 25th minute. Destito collected the ball in the box and unloaded a shot that was saved by the TCU goalie Katy Buchanan. However, the ball was deflected back toward Destito, and she quickly resent a shot to the far left post for the score.
TCU answered back just 14 seconds later, as Karissa Hill passed off to Lizzy Karoly, who was able to slip past the Rebel defenders on the left side and get off a quick shot to the left corner, just out of UNLV goalie Ciera Nero's grasp.
UNLV would dominate play in the second half, taking six shots to just one for TCU. The Rebels could not convert on their chances until the final minutes though. With the ball on the TCU side of the field, Ashly O'Harrow moved the ball down the middle before passing off to Rice at the top left corner of the box. Rice moved in and blasted a shot from 20 yards out to the far right side of the net for the goal, her second straight game-winner. Rice also had the lone goal in UNLV's 1-0 overtime victory over New Mexico on Friday night.
UNLV held a 13-5 advantage on shots for the game and a 7-0 edge on corner kicks. Nero finished with one save in goal, while Buchanan was credited with three saves.
Scouting the Falcons Air Force, who brings a 3-10-3 record and a 0-3-1 conference mark into Friday night's contest, has struggled on offense this year. The Falcons have scored just a total of nine goals this year in 16 games and have been shutout in their last two games.
Pacing the team is Brittney Perkowski, who is the only Falcon with more then one goal (two goals, one assist, five points). Jessica Yahn (one goal, one assist), and Rachael Emory (three assists) are both tied for second with three points on the goal. Air Force has been strong defensviely, allowing just 22 goals, and have a 1.30 team GAA. Erin Wallace is the Falcons' goalkeeper, and has a 1.33 GAA with 68 saves and four shutouts in 1,419 minutes of action.
Scouting the Cowgirls Wyoming brings a 6-6-3 mark into this weekend, and are 1-1-2 in the conference, with its lone win coming over Air Force. The Cowgirls have lost at San Diego State, and posted a pair of 1-1 ties with New Mexico and TCU.
Three players are all tied for the team lead in points for Wyoming with seven, off two goals and three assists (Comfort Adetoye, Christine Nagel, and Emily Layton). Tamika Wilson meanwhile has a team-high three goals. Wyoming has split time in the net between its two goalkeepers, as Ashley Sheppard has a 0.88 GAA with 48 saves and four shutouts in 820 minutes of action, while Jamie Scarcliff has a 1.44 GAA with 47 saves in 625 minutes of action.
MWC Player of the Week honors Junior defender Ashly O'Harrow was named MWC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5, after helping the Rebels post back-to-back shutouts in the UNLV adidas Classic in a 3-0 win over UC Irvine and a 7-0 win over Oakland. She helped UNLV limit the teams to an average of eight shots over both games. Sophomore goalkeeper Ciera Nero was named Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25, after posting back-to-back shutouts over North Dakota State and Creighton to lead UNLV to the Blue Jay Classic championships, and averaged 4.5 saves over the two wins. Senior midfielder Tanya Roberts became the first Rebel to win Offensive Player of the Week honors, as her second game-winning goal in three games gave UNLV a 1-0 win over 20th ranked Pepperdine in double-overtime on Oct. 1. Junior midfielder Armani Rice (Oct. 16) is the most recent Rebel to earn MWC weekly honors, after a pair of game-winners over New Mexico and TCU.
National Honors Armani Rice is the first Rebel to earn national honors this season, as she was named to Top Drawer Soccer's national Team of the Week on Oct. 16 after an outstanding weekend performance. She scored two game-winners in a pair of one-goal victories in the final minutes of both victories. In a 1-0 overtime win over New Mexico on Oct. 13, she scored nine minutes into the first overtime, while she broke a 1-1 tie against TCU on Oct. 15 with a score in the final two minutes of the game.
History in the Ranking The Rebels claimed their first-ever win over a ranked team on Oct. 1, as Tanya Roberts headed in a free kick from Dani Davis in the 107th minute of the second overtime to lift UNLV to a 1-0 win over Pepperdine, ranked 20th by Soccer American, and 27th by Soccer Buzz.
Solid in Goal
Sophomore Ciera Nero has emerged from a two-way battle for the starting goalkeeper spot. Starting with the Rebels' 1-0 win over North Dakota State, Nero posted three shutouts in a four-game span, and allowed just one goal in a 1-0 loss at Arizona State. She was named MWC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25, and is boasting a 1.19 GAA with five shutouts.