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Soccer opens Pac-10 play at Washington State


October 08, 2010

After a week off, the Arizona State women's soccer team opens Pac-10 play this weekend when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to face Washington State (Friday at 2 p.m. PT) and Washington (Sunday at 11:30 a.m. PT). The Sun Devils (6-2-2) are currently in the midst of a six-game stretch in which they are playing away from home. Following this weekend's games ASU will return home to face Arizona on October 15 in what will be ASU's first home game since Sept. 12.

If the Sun Devils are going to get off to a good start in conference play then they will have to find a way to revive their offense which helped them go unbeaten (6-0-1) the first seven games of the season. During that initial stretch the Sun Devils averaged 2.7 goals, including three contests in which they scored four or more goals. In its last three games, however, ASU has been unable to find the back of the net despite being nearly even in shots with the opposition (32-36) during that span.

Rankings
Despite not playing last week the Sun Devils returned to the Top 25 (No. 25) of the NSCAA poll after not being ranked the previous week. Of even greater importance is the Sun Devils' No. 6 ranking in the first official NCAA RPI of the season, which was released earlier this week. ASU was the second-highest Pac-10 team behind Stanford (No. 3). Other Pac-10 teams in the top 100 were UCLA (No. 10), California (No. 20), USC (No. 36), Washington (No. 54), Oregon State (No. 87) and Arizona (No. 90).

Home Away From Home
This weekend's games will be a homecoming of sorts for five Sun Devils who are from the state of Washington: redshirt sophomore forward Sierra Cook (Silverdale, Wash.), freshman defender Josie Graybeal (Gig Harbor, Wash.), freshman midfielder Holland Crook (Federal Way, Wash.), freshman defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and sophomore defender Kiara Williams (Sammamish, Wash.).

Scouting the Opponents
Washington State (5-6) enters the weekend having won four of its last six contests, including the last three in a row. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 8-0 during their current three-game winning streak. The Cougars are led by freshman forward Micaela Castain (12 points - 6 goals) and freshman midfielder Eileen Maes (9 points - 4 goals, 1 assist), who have combined for 10 of Washington State's 17 goals this season. Maes is the current reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week after scoring three goals in the Cougars' 4-0 win over Gonzaga last week.

Washington (7-3-1) has won four of its last six contests. In their most recent outing, the Huskies had their season-best three-game winning streak snapped following a 2-1 double overtime loss at No. 4 Portland. Twelve different players have scored goals for Washington thus far in 2010. Leading the way is junior midfielder Kate Deines, who has six.

Pac-10 Rankings of Note
As a team, ASU is currently tied for second in the Pac-10 in shutouts with four... Individually speaking, Karin Volpe is seventh in shots (31), tied for fifth in points (15), fourth in goals (7) and tied for second in game-winning goals (3); Alyssa Gillmore is fourth in the Pac-10 in saves (33) and shutouts (3).

Fast Starters
Combining last season and this season, ASU has an aggregate record of 13-2-4 in non-conference games. In fact, ASU's 7-1-2 record last season and its 6-2-2 record this season rank amongst the top four 10-game records in school history. ASU's best record after 10 games came in 2000 when they were 9-1.

Volpe Leads the Way
Without question, the Sun Devil who has been most dangerous on the offensive end since her arrival in 2007 is current senior forward Karin Volpe. Volpe led the Sun Devils in goals and points in both her freshman (5 goals, 12 points) and sophomore (9 goals, 20 points) seasons. After finishing second in both categories (5 goals, 14 points) last season, Volpe has come out in 2010 and quickly established herself as ASU's top offensive threat this season. She currently leads the team in goals (7), points (15) and game-winning goals (3). Earlier this season Volpe earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after tying the single-game school record with three goals in ASU's 5-0 win over Nebraska (Sept. 20). With her quick start to the season Volpe is rapidly making her way up in multiple categories on ASU's all-time career lists as she is now seventh in ASU program history with 61 career points (needs two more points to move into sixth), fifth in career goals with 26 (needs two more to take over fourth place) and tied for second in career game-winning goals with 12 (ASU record is 16).

Elston Named One of 30 Finalists for Lowe's Senior Class Award
Earlier this season ASU senior midfielder Alexandra Elston was named one of 30 candidates for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Elston has started all 70 of ASU's contests the last three-plus seasons and was named to the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team in 2007 and All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention in 2009. She entered the 2010 season tied for sixth on ASU's all-time list for career game-winning goals (6). In 2009 she earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention and NSCAA All-Region (third team) honors for a season in which she started all 20 games and led the team in points (20) and goals (7) and tied for the team lead in assists (6). On the academic side, Elston has a 3.89 grade point average as a speech and hearing major. She was named Pac-10 academic first team in 2008 and 2009. She also earned ESPN The Magazine all-district (first team) and NSCAA/adidas all-region (second team) honors.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

Home Sweet Home
Last season the Sun Devils made the most of their opportunities to play in front of their home crowd as they went 7-1-2 at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. The seven wins tied the second-highest number of home wins in program history. ASU has continued that trend of success thus far in 2010 having won all three of their home games by a combined score of 12-2.

Head Coach Kevin Boyd
Was named the third coach in the history of the ASU women's soccer program on March 30, 2007... In 2009, his third season on the job, Boyd led ASU to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003. Along the way, the Sun Devils broke into the NSCAA Top 25 for the first time since the 2004 preseason... In 2008 the Sun Devils nearly qualified for the NCAA Tournament despite losing six players to season ending injuries. ASU's 8-8-4 record included a win against seventh-ranked and defending national champion USC, ASU's first win over a Top-10 squad since 2001. In 2008 the Sun Devils also defeated No. 20 UC Santa Barbara and recorded ties at seventh-ranked Texas and at No. 22 California... In 2007, Boyd's first season at ASU, the Sun Devils produced a double-digit win total (10-9-1) for the first time since 2003... On the academic side, the Sun Devils have earned 32 Pac-10 All-Academic citations in Boyd's three seasons, including nine first-team members and four second-team members. The 2009 first-team honorees are the most of any team in the Pac-10 during that span. ASU has also had three student-athletes earn Academic All-America honors. In 2007-08 the Sun Devils' 3.55 cumulative GPA was among the top 15 in the country according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America... Prior to coming to Arizona State, Boyd spent 10 seasons as the head coach at California where he complied a 130-63-20 record and led the Golden Bears to the NCAA Tournament eight times... Under Boyd the Golden Bears produced 28 first or second-team All-Pac-10 Conference selections while also garnering 21 selections to the Academic All-Pac-10 first or second teams. Additionally, Boyd's teams carried a stellar overall GPA, leading all Cal teams during the 2003-04 season (3.34)... In his final season at California he led the Golden Bears to the third round, their deepest run in the tournament in nearly 20 years... Attended Tri-State University in Angola, Ind., where he was a four-year letterwinner... An honorable mention All-American in 1989, Boyd was a three-time team captain for the Trojans while earning three all-district selections, three all-area selections and three all-MICL selections as a sweeper. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Tri-State Hall of Fame.

Record at ASU: 33-26-11 (4 seasons)

Career Record: 157-89-31 (14 seasons)