ASU women's soccer travels to face Pacific Northwest foes
The Arizona State women's soccer team wraps up the regular season portion of its 2008 schedule this weekend when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on the No. 24 (Soccer Buzz) Washington Huskies (12-5-1, 3-3-1 Pac-10) and the No. 24 (NSCAA) Washington State Cougars (8-5-5, 2-3-2 Pac-10). The Sun Devils face the Huskies on Friday at 7 p.m. PT and the Cougars on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT.
ASU (8-6-4, 2-4-1 Pac-10) comes into this weekend's play looking to make its case for a potential at-large berth in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The 64-team field will be announced on Monday evening. The Sun Devils are coming off a split in last weekend's contests, the final two home games of the regular season, against the Oregon schools. The Sun Devils lost to Oregon 1-0 on Oct. 31 before coming back to down Oregon State 1-0 two days later. Junior Carly Kallas' fourth goal of the season proved to be the difference maker in the win over Oregon State.
ASU begins this weekend's play tied with Oregon for seventh in the Pac-10 Conference. Arguably the toughest conference in the country, the Pac-10 had seven of the top 46 teams in the most recent RPI rankings released earlier this week. Depending on the results of other Pac-10 games this weekend, the Sun Devils could conceivably end the regular season with a share of third place if they were to upset both the Huskies and Cougars.
Despite the plethora of injury issues they have had in 2008 - six season ending injuries - the Sun Devils have remained competitive throughout the season accumulating quality results along the way against USC (No 14 RPI, W/1-0), at Texas (No. 16 RPI. T/0-0), Long Beach State (No. 20 RPI, W/1-0), and at California (No. 39 RPI, T/2-2). ASU head coach Kevin Boyd feels the Sun Devils are capable of anything when they play their game.
"When we decide to get determined we are a really difficult team to play against," said Boyd. "If we can bring that together the way it needs to be I think we'll do quite well."
The Sun Devils managed to capture wins against both of the Washington schools at home last season. Against the Huskies the Sun Devils had three different players score goals on their way to a 3-0 win. Sun Devil goalkeeper Briana Silvestri had six saves to record the shutout while Jessie Richardson scored the first goal of her career. Two days later the Sun Devils were victorious again when Alexandra Elston scored the first goal of her career in the fifth minute of overtime for a 1-0 win over Washington State. Silvestri was once again outstanding between the posts, securing nine saves for her second straight shutout.
• With her third assist of the season in last week's win over Oregon State, senior Kylla Sjoman moved into a tie for eighth place on ASU's all-time assists list with 15.
• Currently with a GAA of 0.75 Silvestri is still on pace to break her own single-season record. Last season Silvestri set the school mark with a final GAA of 0.85. With one more shutout Silvestri would tie the school's single-season mark for most shutouts in a season.
• If the Sun Devils qualify for the NCAA Tournament they will be making the journey without one of their top players. Shortly after returning from this weekend's trip, junior defender Liz Harkin will depart with the U-20 WNT for the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, which takes place from Nov. 19 - Dec. 7 in Chile.