Laramie, Wyo. – Wyoming women’s soccer will compete in the Mountain West Tournament for the fourth-consecutive season this Tuesday in San Diego, Calif. The fifth-seed Cowgirls will battle the fourth-seed Utah State Aggies at 5 p.m. MT at the San Diego State Sports Deck.
Wyoming earned a fifth-place finish in the conference after a 1-0 victory against rival Colorado State last Friday. The Cowgirls concluded the regular season at 10-7-2 overall and 6-4-1 in league play. UW enters postseason competition with a four-game unbeaten streak, the second-longest in the MW, allowing just one goal during that span. The Cowgirls posted a 6-1-1 record in the month of October after going 2-5-0 in September. Wyoming is no stranger to the Mountain West Tournament. This year’s senior class have earned a tournament seed in each of its four years, and seven of UW’s starters were members of the 2014 team that reached the MW Tournament championship game.
Friday’s win over the Rams was one for the record books. Last year, the Cowgirls made history notching back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time ever, and Friday marked their third-consecutive year accomplishing the feat. Wyoming also posted its eighth shutout of 2016 against Colorado State, tying last year’s single-season record. Junior goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree is the only MW keeper to post eight shutouts this season, and she also owns the fifth-best goals-against average at 1.07. The Cowgirl defense tied for the fourth-fewest goals allowed in conference games, conceding just 13 goals in 11 games.
On the offensive end, the Cowgirls are much improved in their shot selection since beginning conference play. Wyoming has tallied fewest shots per game (9.73 s/g), but are fourth in goals (16), assists (14) and points (46). Wyoming’s leading scorer, freshman forward Michaela Stark, has tallied six goals on the year and four in league games. Stark’s six goals rank tied for ninth in the MW, and she is tied for second in the conference in scoring among true freshman. Senior defender Sammi Dunda and junior defender Alisha Bass lead UW with four assists each this season. All of Bass’s assists have come in league play, tying for the second-most in the MW.
“When you get to the tournament, every team is capable of winning it all,” UW head coach Pete Cuadrado said. “Each team presents different challenges that we have to make sure we’re ready for. Every matchup comes down to following your game plan, being ready to play and bringing the effort. We have a good veteran group and we have the experience, so we need to rely on that and play a full 90 minutes on Tuesday.”
Utah State (11-8-0, 7-4-0 MW) won five of their first six conference games this season, but head into the MW Tournament with a 2-3-0 record in its last five games. However, the Aggies will travel to San Diego feeling confident after a 6-1 demolition against Boise State in their final regular-season game. The Aggies’ six goals, including five in the second half, were the most scored by any team in MW competition this season and helped them secure a fourth-place finish in the league.
The Aggies sit just ahead of Wyoming in most offensive categories, ranking third in points (59), goals (21) and assists (17) in MW games. Utah State is tied for the highest goal differential in league play (+1.09), netting 21 goals and allowing just nine. Senior forward Jessica Brooksby is second in the MW in shots per game (3.45 s/g) and points (16). She leads the Aggies with six goals and four assists in conference games, and nine goals and assists across the 2016 campaign.
Wyoming trails in the all-time series with Utah State, 4-5-2, after falling on the road to the Aggies earlier this season. Utah State handed the Cowgirls their worst loss of the season, but UW bounced back winning three of their next four contests.
The live stream of the match will be available through GoWyo.com, and will also be available for viewing on the Mountain West Network at TheMW.com and on Campus Insiders at CampusInsiders.com. Follow the Cowgirls on Twitter (@WYOSOCCER) for live updates throughout the game.