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Sun Devil soccer hosts top-ranked Stanford and Cal

October 22, 2010

Coming off a hard-fought 2-1 win over Arizona in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series, the Arizona State women's soccer team continues its three-match homestand this weekend when it faces Bay Area Pac-10 foes No. 1 Stanford (Friday at 7 p.m.) and California (Sunday at 1 p.m.) at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.

ASU (8-3-2, 2-1-0 Pac-10) enters this week's action in sole possession of third place in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils will be more than halfway through the conference schedule following the conclusion of this weekend.

On Friday the Sun Devils will attempt to make history by recording their first ever win versus a top-ranked opponent when they take on Stanford. The Cardinal (13-0-2, 4-0-0) is on a 12-match winning streak since starting the season 1-0-2. Stanford has outshot its opponents by more than a three-to one-ratio (323-102) and they come to Tempe armed with the nation's leader in points (42) and goals (18) in the form of senior forward Christen Press. In addition, junior midfielder Teressa Noyola leads the Pac-10 in assists with nine one ahead of teammate, Camille Levin, who is one of three Stanford players in the top three for most assists in the conference.

This will be Stanford's first visit to Tempe since 2007 when the (then No. 5) Cardinal played the Sun Devils to a scoreless tie.

The highest ranked team the Sun Devils have ever defeated was No. 2 Stanford back in 2001 when ASU recorded a 1-0 win in overtime.

Pink Out
Friday's game against Stanford will be ASU's annual `Pink Out' game as the Sun Devil soccer program attempts to raise breast cancer awareness. Fans who wear pink clothing to the game will be admitted for only $3.

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 (8), points (17) and game-winning goals (4). 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). Volpe is rapidly making her way up in multiple categories on ASU's all-time career lists as she is now sixth in ASU program history with 63 career points (needs seven points to move into tie for fifth), tied for fourth in career goals with 27 (needs three more to tie for third place) and is second in career game-winning goals with 13 (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 73 of ASU's contests the last three-plus seasons. 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.

Currently Elston is second on the team in both points (10) and goals (4). As the anchor of ASU's midfield, Elston's steady play has been one of the most important factors in ASU's success this season. Most recently, Elston lifted the Sun Devils to victory by scoring both of ASU's goals in its 2-1 State Farm Territorial Cup Series win vs. Arizona (Oct. 15). Elston's game-winning goal against Arizona was the seventh of her career, which moved her into a tie for fifth place on ASU's all-time list. It also marked the fourth two-goal game of her career (she accounted for the game winner in all four contests).

Pac-10 Rankings of Note
As a team, ASU is currently tied for third in the Pac-10 in shutouts with five... Individually speaking, Karin Volpe is seventh in shots (42), tied for sixth in points (17), tied for fifth in goals (8) and tied for second in game-winning goals (4); Alyssa Gillmore is fifth in the Pac-10 in saves (39) and tied for third in shutouts (4).

Record Crowd
The Sun Devils established a new single-game attendance record when 1,503 fans poured into Sun Devil Soccer Stadium for ASU's 2-1 State Farm Territorial Cup Series win over Arizona on October 15. The old record was 1,505 which came against Notre Dame in 2004.

Getting Defensive
With six games still left to be played in the regular season, it would be a reach to label anything a `turning point.' Still, it is worth mentioning that prior to their 5-0 loss against Central Florida on Sept. 19 the Sun Devils had a goals against average of 0.97 as a team. Since that game the Sun Devils have surrendered only three goals in their last five contests (including one goal on a penalty kick) and have complied a GAA of only 0.57 in those five contests.

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 four of their home games by a combined score of 14-3. The Sun Devils have a current streak of six consecutive wins at home going back to last season.