Oct. 25, 2006
LAS VEGAS -
UNLV Weekly Soccer Notes
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Rebels, Cougars end regular season with second place on line
It all comes down to the final game, as UNLV and BYU will close out the regular season this Saturday night in a fight for second place in the Mountain West. BYU currently stands alone in second place with 11 points, off three wins and two ties (3-1-2 MWC mark), while UNLV is in third place with nine points off three wins (3-3 MWC record). The winner of Saturday's game will stand alone in second place, and earn both the second seed in next week's MWC Tournament, and a bye in the first round. And while a tie would still give the Cougars second place, nothing less then a win will help the Rebels, and a loss could send UNLV as far down as the fifth seed. Saturday's game will also be televised live by BYU-TV.
It will be a challenge for the Rebels, who have yet to beat BYU in nine all-time appearances. The Cougars are also strong at home, having allowed just two goals scored in Provo in the last six weeks. UNLV does boast a strong offense, ranking second in the league in goals scored with 1.3 goals per game.
Players to watch
For the first time in three years Katie Carney is not leading the Rebels in scoring, as junior midfielder Armani Rice has taken over the lead with five goals and one assist for 11 points. She also leads the team in game-winners with four, three of them coming in one-goal victories.
Junior Jessica Destito is second on the team with 10 points off three goals and four assists, while classmate Katie Carney is next on the team with nine points off three goals and three assists. Another threat on offense is senior forward Tanya Roberts, who has two-game winners on the season, and for the year has nine points (three goals, three assists).
In goal, sophomore Ciera Nero has emerged as the starting keeper For the year, she has a 1.09 GAA with 49 saves and six shutouts.
Last time out
UNLV suffered an upset loss to Wyoming, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon from Peter Johann Memorial Field. UNLV dominated play in the first half, taking eight shots to just five for Wyoming, and forcing Cowgirl goalkeeper Ashley Sheppard to come up with three saves in the opening 45 minutes.
The Rebels had their best chance of the afternoon in the 65th minute, when Sheppard came out to play a ball on the right side, and it was crossed over to a wide open Jessica Destito, who was just a few feet away from the goal on the left. However, her shot on the wide open goal was just a little high.
The close call gave the Cowgirls new life, and they took advantage of it, as on the second of two straight corner kicks, Emily Layton kicked a short pass to Amanda Lathrop, got the ball back from Layton and blasted a low shot to the left inside corner. The ball just slipped through the grasp of Rebel goalkeeper Ciera Nero, putting Wyoming up 1-0 in the 74th minute.
UNLV would not find the equalizing score, though Katie Carney came very close to tying the score in the 82nd minute, when she caught Sheppard out of position and unloaded a shot from the middle of the field that hit the crossbar before bouncing back into the box.
UNLV finished with a 14-11 edge on shots, and a 7-4 advantage on corner kicks. Nero finished the game with five saves in goal, while Sheppard was credited with six saves in goal for Wyoming.
Scouting the Cougars
BYU is currently in second place in the conference with a 12-2-3 overall mark, and a 3-1-2 record in MWC play. However, the Cougars stand just one point ahead of UNLV, after suffering a 1-1 double-overtime tie at New Mexico on Oct. 21. Though BYU has two ties on the year, all three of its wins in the league are by shutout.
Leading the Cougars is sophomore Katie Larkin, with six goals and five assists for 17 points. Katie Fellows is next on the team with three goals for six points, while Brooke Bowman, Haylee Cuthbert, and Carolyn Swenson all are tied for third with five points on the year. In goal is Erika Woodbury, who has a 0.51 GAA with 49 saves and 10 shutouts for the year.
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.
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 1.13 GAA with six shutouts.