ASU soccer faces No. 1 UCLA and No. 4 USC this week
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State women's soccer team travels to Los Angeles this weekend to take on top-ranked UCLA on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. PT from Drake Stadium. The Sun Devils will cap the weekend with a match at No. 4 USC on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. PT from Mcalister Field.
The Sun Devils hosted No. 18 California Friday. Junior Kylla Sjoman scored in the fifth minute for ASU, but the Golden Bears fought back to beat the Sun Devils 3-1. Sunday marked the final regular season home game as the team said good-bye to five seniors. The Sun Devils went into double overtime with then No. 4 Stanford and came up with a 0-0 tie.
Of the 17 matches played so far in the 2007 season, the Sun Devils have only allowed 12 goals, which is third among Pac-10 teams. Additionally, ASU has recorded eight shutouts on the year, breaking last season's mark of seven. They now need two more shutouts to tie the school single season record of 10 shutouts that was set in 2000. The defense has also contributed on the offensive end scoring four goals and adding eight assists.
Sophomore GK Briana Silvestri earned her first career start as a Sun Devil in the season opener versus Idaho State. So far, she has collected 44 saves and recorded six shutouts on the season. The six shutouts ranks her tied for first in the conference in number of shutouts. Further, her goals against average (.70) is good for third place in the Pac-10 as well. In conference play she is ranked second in shutouts (3), third for her goals against average (.78) and fourth in save percentage (.800).
Front Line Finishing
Of the 23 goals scored by the Sun Devils in 2007, 12 have been by the forwards. Leading the way are senior Courtney Crane and freshman Karin Volpe with four goals apiece. Volpe also leads the team in points (10) and is tied with fellow freshman Alexandra Elston for game-winning goals (2), while Crane leads the team in shot on goal percentage at .706.
A Helping Hand
Sixteen of ASU's 23 goals scored in 2007 have been assisted. Junior Kylla Sjoman is leading the way with six, moving her into a tie for eighth place in ASU's record book for single season assists. She is tied for fourth in the Pac-10 in assists (6) and tied for second in conference games (3).
That's a First
Six different Sun Devils have scored their first career goals so far in the 2007 season. In the first weekend of action both junior Carla Scanniello and freshman Karin Volpe scored their first career goals. On Sept. 30, junior Kylla Sjoman scored the first goal of her Sun Devil career in a 4-0 win over Creighton. Against Washington and Washington St., freshmen Alexandra Elston and Jessie Richardson, along with sophomore Rachel Newell, all scored for the first time in their Sun Devil careers.
Crane Climbs Charts
Adding her fourth goal of the season in the conference opener against Washington, senior Courtney Crane is in eighth place on ASU's all-time career goals scored list with 15 goals. She is also in ninth place on ASU's all-time career points category; she currently has 37.
Elston to the Rescue
For two consecutive weeks, freshman midfielder Alexandra Elston came up big in extra minutes. Against Washington St. (Oct. 14) Elston scored her first collegiate goal in the first overtime period to give ASU the 1-0 victory. At Oregon St. (Oct. 21), Elston scored in the 65th minute to tie the game and send it into extra minutes. In the second overtime period Elston found the back of the net once again for the game-winner. She currently is third on the team in goals (3) and fourth in points (7). In conference play, Elston is tied for second in goals (3) and game-winning goals (2) and is tied for sixth in points (6).
Making Their Debut
Through the first 117 matches of the 2007 season, 23 of the 26 players on the roster have seen action on the pitch. Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Cochran saw the first action of her Sun Devil career against San Diego State. Additionally, six of the 23 players have been true freshmen: Alexandra Elston, Erica Long and Karin Volpe have all recorded their first collegiate starts. Freshmen Akaylah Fisher, Jessie Richardson and Jill Shoquist have also seen time on the pitch this season.
Seven of the 10 teams in the Pac-10 conference currently have winning records. UCLA (12-1-2) is ranked No. 1 nationally by Soccer Buzz; others ranked include No. 4 USC (11-2-2), No. 7 Stanford (11-2-3) and No. 27 Washington State (10-2-3); at 9-7-1 the Sun Devils are No. 15 in the West Region Poll. California and Oregon also hold winning records.
As always, the Sun Devils will once again play a solid schedule of opponents, including a Final Four participant from one year ago in UCLA. Arizona State also has matches slated against six foes ranked in the Soccer Buzz Preseason Top 25, including No. 2 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Texas, No. 14 USC, No. 15 Santa Clara and No. 19 Oregon.
Welcoming Coach Boyd
Boyd was named head coach of the Arizona State University women's soccer program on March 30, 2007. The third head coach in the 11-year history of the Sun Devil program, Boyd brings a successful track record and years of collegiate coaching experience to Tempe following a 10-year stint as the head coach of Pac-10 rival California where he collected a 124-63-20 record and eight appearances in the NCAA tournament.
One Last Time
Five of the 26 Sun Devils on the roster for the 2007 season are entering their senior campaigns, led by forward Courtney Crane. Also on the offense for the Sun Devils are seniors Lara Kezer, Lauren Niblett and Alissa Oldenkamp, all of which will be competing in their final seasons for ASU. The defense will be led by senior Kyleyn Felts.
In recent years, the members of the Arizona State University soccer program have been the walking definition of a 'student-athlete' as the Sun Devils have held the top team grade-point average (GPA) of any varsity team on campus. So far in 2007, three Sun Devils have earned academic honors. Seniors Kyleyn Felts and Alissa Oldenkamp have been named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII's first team, while sophomore Liz Harkin has received second team honors.
Looking At: UCLA
The Sun Devils and Bruins will be meeting for the 11th time in the head-to-head series in 2007. ASU is 1-9-0 against UCLA all-time, with the lone win for ASU coming in 2000. Last season, ASU hosted then No. 3 UCLA, but was defeated 2-1 in a close match up.
Looking At: USC
Sunday's match with USC will be the 12th meeting between the schools. The Sun Devils are 2-9-0 against the Trojans. Last season ASU fell to then No. 21 USC, 1-0, in Tempe.
The Sun Devils close out the Pac-10 season as they travel to Tucson, Ariz., to take on their intrastate rival Arizona on Friday, Nov. 9. The Sun Devils have never lost to the 'Cats as they hold an 11-0-1 record over Arizona. Game time is set for 7 p.m. MT from Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium.