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Women's soccer opens 2010 season at NAU

August 20, 2010

The Arizona State women's soccer team kicks off the 2010 campaign on Friday (4 p.m.) when it travels north to Flagstaff to face Northern Arizona University.

The Sun Devils, who are under the direction of fourth-year head coach Kevin Boyd, begin the 2010 season with the goal of making it back to the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year following last year's berth in the field of 64 which marked the first time ASU qualified for NCAAs since the 2003 season. The 2003 season also represented the last (and only time) that the Sun Devils qualified for NCAAs in back-to-back seasons.

NAU will be the first of 11 opponents ASU faces this year that played in the postseason last year. In 2009 the Lumberjacks won the Big Sky Championship to earn the conference's automatic postseason bid. NAU head coach Andre Luciano was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2009 after guiding the Lumberjacks to a 10-9-2 record.

This will be the eighth time that ASU and NAU have met. The Sun Devils have taken six of the seven previous meetings, most recently last season when ASU won 4-0 in Tempe. In that game current senior forward Karin Volpe had a breakout performance as she scored two goals and assisted on two others. The two goals tied her single-game career best, which she has accomplished three other times, while the six points in a single game were a career best and represent the second-highest single-game point total in program history. ASU's other two goals against NAU came courtesy of Courtney Tinnin and Amy Dougher, who both scored the first goals of their respective careers.

The Sun Devils have been victorious in their prior three visits to Flagstaff, winning by scores of 5-1 (1998), 3-0 (2000) and 4-2 (2008). All four goals in the 2008 win were by current Sun Devils - two by Volpe, one by senior midfielder Alexandra Elston and one by senior forward Jill Shoquist.

NAU's lone win in the series came in 2001 when they edged the Sun Devils 2-1 in Tempe.

The Sun Devils return two of their top three points leaders from last season in the form of Elston (20 points - 7 goals, 6 assists) and Volpe (14 points - 5 goals, 4 assists). Redshirt sophomore Courtney Tinnin tied Volpe for second on the team with 14 points (4 goals, 6 assists), however a knee injury sustained during ASU's spring season will sideline Tinnin for the 2010 season.

Other returning starters from last season include sophomore midfielder Taylor McCarter (1 goal, 2 assists in 2009), Shoquist (1 goal, 1 assist in 2009), sophomore defender Sierra Joseph and sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore. Gillmore became the full-time starter midway through last season after Briana Silvestri, the all-time program leader in career GAA, was lost for the season with a knee injury. Gillmore concluded the season with 70 saves and a GAA of 1.54, including a 0.31 GAA the final three games of the season.