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ASU soccer takes on rival Arizona in Tucson, Friday

November 07, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State women's soccer team closes out the Pac-10 season on Friday as they travel to Tucson, Ariz., to take on rival Arizona at 7 p.m. MT from Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium.

Quick Recap
The Sun Devils made their toughest road trip of the season last weekend as they faced two top 5 opponents. First up was top-ranked UCLA. ASU fell 3-1 to the Bruins; however, senior defender Kyleyn Felts scored the only goal UCLA has allowed in Pac-10 play this season. ASU closed out the trip at No. 4 USC. It was a physical match, but the Sun Devils came up short and were defeated 1-0 by the Trojans.

Dominating Defense
With all but one match played in 2007, the Sun Devils have allowed 16 goals, which is fourth among Pac-10 teams. Additionally, ASU has recorded eight shutouts on the year, breaking last season's mark of seven and tying for the second most in school history with the 2003 team. The single season record is 10 shutouts set in 2000. The defense has also contributed on the offensive end scoring five goals and adding eight assists.

Silvestri Shines
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 50 saves and recorded six shutouts on the season. The six shutouts ranks her third in the conference in number of shutouts. Further, her goals against average (.84) is good for fourth place in the Pac-10. In conference play she is ranked second in shutouts (3), fourth for her goals against average (1.07) and sixth in saves (26).

Front Line Finishing
Half of the Sun Devil goals scored in 2007 have come via the forwards. Leading the way are senior Courtney Crane and freshman Karin Volpe with four goals apiece. Volpe also is tied with junior Kylla Sjoman for first on the team in points (10) and with fellow freshman Alexandra Elston for game-winning goals (2).

A Helping Hand
Seventeen of ASU's 24 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 fifth in the Pac-10 in assists (6) through all games and tied for fourth 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 fifth in goals (3) and second in game-winning goals (2) as well as tied for ninth in points (6).

Making Their Debut
With all but one match remaining in 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.

Strong Slate
The Sun Devils will once again play a solid schedule of opponents in 2007, 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: Arizona
The Sun Devils and Wildcats will be meeting for the 13th time in the head-to-head series in 2007. ASU is undefeated against their in-state rival holding an 11-0-1 all-time record over the 'Cat. Last season, ASU hosted Arizona and put up a 4-0 shutout for their third consecutive victory.

Up Next
The Sun Devils await to see whether or not they will receive a berth into the postseason. The 2007 NCAA Selection Show will be held Monday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. MT on ESPNews.