ASU soccer hosts Cal and No. 4 Stanford this week
TEMPE, Ariz. - In their final two home matches of the 2007 season, the Arizona State women's soccer team plays host to the California Golden Bears (8-5-0) and the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (10-2-2) Friday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 28. Game times are set for 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively from Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
The Sun Devils traveled to Oregon to face the Ducks on Friday and the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday. In a change of climate, the Sun Devils were unable to finish against the Ducks despite holding a 14-11 shots advantage. Ultimately, ASU fell 1-0 to Oregon for their only defeat in conference play this season. The Sun Devils turned it around against OSU on Sunday as freshman Alexandra Elston came up big in overtime for the second week in a row. Her game-winning goal in double overtime gave the Sun Devils a 2-1 win and a 3-1-0 Pac-10 record. Elston also scored the game-winner in overtime against Washington State (Oct. 14).
Of the 15 matches played so far in the 2007 season, the Sun Devils have only allowed nine goals, which is tied for second among Pac-10 teams. Additionally, ASU has recorded seven shutouts on the year, tying the team total from a year ago. They now need three 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 three 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 37 saves and recorded five shutouts on the season. The five shutouts ranks her tied for second in the conference in number of shutouts. Further, her goals against average (.61) is good for third place in the Pac-10 as well. In conference play she is ranked second in save percentage (.867) and shutouts (2) and third for her goals against average of 0.48.
Front Line Finishing
Of the 22 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 22 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 second in the Pac-10 in assists (6) and tied for first 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. This past weekend, 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 Resucue
For the second straight week, 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. Last weekend at Oregon St., 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).
Making Their Debut
Through the first 15 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 (11-1-2) is ranked No. 1 nationally by Soccer Buzz; others ranked include No. 2 USC (11-1-2), No. 4 Stanford (10-2-2) and No. 27 Washington State (9-2-2); at 9-6-0 the Sun Devils are No. 15 in the West Region Poll.
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. Following the 2006 season, six Sun Devils earned academic honors. Senior Kim Bingham was joined by Kyleyn Felts in earning Pac-10 First Team All-Academic honors. Alissa Oldenkamp was named to the second team, while Lara Kezer, Lauren Niblett and Kylla Sjoman were honorable mention selections. Bingham and Felts were also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII First Team.
Looking At: California
The Sun Devils and Golden Bears will be meeting for the 11th time in the head-to-head series in 2007. ASU is 4-5-1 against Cal all-time. Last season, ASU visited Berkeley, Calif., where current ASU head coach Kevin Boyd coached for 10 seasons, and upset then No. 12 Cal for a 1-0 win.
Looking At: Stanford
Sunday's match with Stanford will be the 11th meeting between the schools. The Sun Devils are 3-5-2 against the Cardinal. Last season ASU fell to then No. 25 Stanford, 3-2, in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Sun Devils travel to Los Angeles to take on top ranked UCLA Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in Drake Stadium. ASU rounds out the weekend at No. 2 USC Sunday Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. from McAlister Field.