LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -UNLV women’s soccer will be back out on the road for the second straight weekend as just three regular season games remain on the 2017 schedule. The Rebels will be looking to rebound after dropping matches at Fresno State and San Jose State last weekend, marking the first time in over two years UNLV had lost back-to-back contests. Up next is a trip north for a Friday afternoon game at Utah State and a Sunday matinee showdown at Boise State. Kick off is set for 2 p.m. PT in Logan and 12 p.m. PT in Boise.
The Scarlet and Gray enter the weekend sitting in sixth in the Mountain West standings at 4-4 in league play and 12-5 overall. With 12 points, the Rebels are seven behind first-place San Jose State and two behind the Broncos and San Diego State, who are tied for fourth with 14 points. The top six teams at the end of the regular season will compete in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, which will take place at Peter Johann Memorial Field. With seven points currently separating the top six teams, much is still be determined in terms of which teams will continue their seasons in Las Vegas.
UNLV is coming off a pair of uncharacteristic performances in Northern California. The Rebels gave up seven goals in a 4-1 loss at Fresno State and a 3-2 defeat at San Jose State after giving up just 13 goals in the previous 15 games. UNLV also let a 2-0 lead slip away against the Spartans, which has also been a rarity under fourth year head coach Chris Shaw. The Rebels will have to put the weekend behind them as they still have plenty to play for with every game remaining being monumentally important to making the tournament.
After the four-game road trip wraps up Sunday at Boise State, the Scarlet and Gray will return home for the regular season finale, the annual Governor’s Series matchup against Nevada, Reno on Senior Night, October 27 at 7 p.m.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Utah State is currently third to the bottom in the conference standings at 2-4-2, but did go 1-1 last weekend with a 3-1 win over Wyoming and a 2-0 loss to Colorado State. It was just the second league win for the Aggies, who are 7-6-3 overall in 2017. The Rebels beat the Aggies twice last year, which included a golden goal OT win and a narrow victory in the conference tournament semifinals. As a team, USU hasn’t been particularly strong on offense or defense, but has a pair of dangerous attackers in Ashley Cardozo, Bailee Hammond and Welsey Hamblin, who have cmobined for 12 goals and 12 assists on the year.
Boise State enters the weekend at 9-5-3 overall and 4-2-2 in conference play, having won or played to a draw in five of its last six games. The Broncos are currently tied for fourth in the standings, sitting two points ahead of the Rebels, so Sunday’s game will be key in the fight for the top six spots for the tournament. BSU’s offense has been potent this year, ranking in the top three in the conference, lead by standout Raimee Sherle, who has 10 goals and five assists in 2017. The keepers have been solid as well, allowing just 17 goals in 17 games this season.
NCAA:The Rebels currently boast a top-35 offense in the country, ranking tied for 28th in total points (97), tied for 23rd in total goals (34) and tied for 32nd in assists (29). Individually, senior Sophie Cortes is tied for 22nd in the country in total points (25) and is tied for 21st in total assists (7). The Rebels are No. 74 in the RPI rankings, the second highest tanked team in the Mountain West.
Mountain West:The Rebels continue to lead the MW in every major offensive statistical category - shots (289), goals, points and assists. Cortes is tied for first in assists with teammate Amanda Galbraith, while the senior now ranks third in the MW in shots (55) and goals and is tied for second in points.
NEWS & NOTES
Last weekend’s defeats dropped the Rebels from tied for second to sixth in the conference standings headed into the final two weeks of regular season play. The top six teams will compete in the conference tournament, which UNLV will host at Peter Johann Memorial Field Oct. 31 - Nov. 4.
UNLV's streak of not having lost two games in a row in more than two years came to an end last weekend with the back-to-back road losses. The streak ends at 48 games and dated back to the end of September of 2015.
The Rebels are 8-1 at home and 4-4 on the road in 2017, with two of three regular season games remaining on the road.
The Scarlet & Gray have had two-separate four-game winnings streaks this season. Both were snapped on the road.
UNLV has earned three Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week awards this season with redshirt sophomore Michaela Morris getting the nod on Oct. 9, junior Amanda Galbraith earning it Aug. 21 and senior Sophie Cortes picking up the award Aug. 28.
UNLV’s 8-1 non-conference record was the best start through nine games and best non-league winning percentage in program history. They finished 5-0 at home and 3-1 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.
UNLV’s 14-straight regular season unbeaten streak that dated back to October of 2016 came to an end with the loss to Sacramento State on Sept. 1.
Chris Shaw is in his fourth year with a 48-24-5 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.