Rebels Open Tournament Play Wednesday
Nov. 4, 2008
LAS VEGAS -
UNLV is looking to win a Mountain West Conference championship for the fifth straight year as it opens play in the 2008 conference tournament on Wednesday. This year's tournament is being hosted by the Rebels, and the last time the league tournament was in Las Vegas, UNLV defeated New Mexico 1-0 in the 2005 championship game to win its first-ever MWC tournament title.
UNLV has a total of two tournament titles under its belt (2005, 2006), and comes into this week knowing that its only chance of returning to the NCAA tournament after a one-year absence is to win the league's automatic bid, given to the tournament champion. The Rebels' path to the championship game also would provide them with the chance to avenge a pair of regular-season losses, beginning with its first round matchup with fourth-seeded New Mexico. The Lobos ruined UNLV's Senior Day this past Friday, handing the Rebels a 2-1 loss on their home field. That leaves UNLV looking for revenge in Wednesday's matchup, the second all-time between the schools in tournament history. A win over New Mexico would move UNLV into a semifinal contest against top-seeded BYU, who posted a 1-0 win over the Rebels in Provo back in October.
UNLV has dominated the conference tournament the past three years as it advanced to the championship game in all three, with the lone loss coming to BYU in the championship game on the Cougars' home field in the 2007 final.
The Rebels have been almost unbeatable on their home field the past two seasons (14-2-3), and have allowed just 10 goals during that stretch.
Players To Watch
Sophomore forward Ashleigh Shoughro, a transfer from San Diego and a Las Vegas native, leads the Rebels and is second in the Mountain West Conference with 28 points off 11 goals (including three game-winners) and six assists. Junior midfielder Brianna Moore is next with 16 points (tied 9th), while junior forward Niki Connolly has 13 points off four goals and five assists. Junior Alicia Lugo continues to shine in goal, as she is first in the conference with 4.5 saves per games, and also has six shutouts, which gives her 19 in her career, and a 0.94 GAA.
Scouting New Mexico The Lobos bring a 8-5-5 record into Wednesday's contest, and broke a three-game winless streak their victory over UNLV this past Friday. Though this will be just the seventh road game of the year for New Mexico, the Lobos currently own a three-game win streak on their opponents' field (at Air Force, at Wyoming and at UNLV).
UNM is led this year by Alexis Ball with 16 points (six goals, four assists), while Hannah Hand has posted three goals and eight assists for 14 points. Shannon Adragna has 70 saves on the year with a 1.05 GAA and seven shutouts.