Wyoming Soccer To Open Conference Season With Confidence

Oct. 5, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

The University of Wyoming soccer team has played a tough first half schedule and have a solid 5-5-1 record to show for their efforts, but this weekend is when the games begin to count.

The Cowgirls will kick off the Mountain West Conference season this weekend as they play host to New Mexico on Friday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. and to Air Force on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. Both games will be played at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex, where the Cowgirls have won 80 percent of their games over the past three seasons.

"The conference season is the most important part of any season and we are very excited to get it started," said UW head coach Anne Moore. "It is nice to open play at home, but we have two tough teams waiting for us and we need to be ready to go."

The Cowgirls enter the weekend on a high note after winning four of their last five games. The only loss in that span was last Sunday at 21st ranked Colorado.

This season, the Cowgirls have excelled on the defensive half of the field, allowing just 1.12 goals a game and shutting out their opponents four times. The defensive line of seniors Christina Best, Carolyn Clarke, Kristen Stangl and sophomore Laine Hubbard have started all 11 games together.

Offensively, Wyoming has had a very balanced attack as eight different Cowgirls have scored goals. Senior Christine Nagel and freshman Emily Layton have each scored a team high two goals.

New Mexico is currently 6-4-1 and have outscored their opponents 17-8 on the season. Offensively they are led by senior Kristen Sweat who has scored four goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Adragna has started all 11 games in the Lobo net, allowing just eight goals for a goals against average of 0.71.

New Mexico leads the all-time series with the Cowgirls 8-4-1. However, Wyoming has won two of the last three meetings between the two schools. Last year, the Cowgirls beat the Lobos 1-0 in overtime in Laramie during the regular season but lost a 1-0 match in the opening round of the 2005 MWC Championships.

"It is always a battle when New Mexico and us get together," said Moore. "It seems like every game we play is decided by one goal or in overtime. The Lobos are very tough on defense. They are a very tenacious team and play very organized soccer. We need to get in on them early and finish every opportunity that we get."

Air Force enters the opening weekend of MWC play with a 3-7-2 record. They have won two consecutive games, beating both Sacramento State and Stephen F. Austin at home two weeks ago. Six different Falcons have scored one goal each on the season. Freshman Jessica Yahn leads the team in points with three. Sophomore goalkeeper Erin Wallace has played 11 games in the Falcon net, allowing just 13 goals for a goals against average of 1.13.

Air Force leads the all-time series with Wyoming 6-4 but the Cowgirls have won the last three meetings by a combined score of 6-0. Air Force travels to San Diego State to play the Aztecs on Friday, Oct. 6 before traveling to Laramie.

"Air Force comes to play every time they set foot on the field," added Moore. "They never quit and finish every play. We are going to have to be sharp and not let them take us out of our game to be successful."

This years conference season looks to be as intense as it has ever been. Starting this year, only the top six teams will advance to the MWC Championships.

Not only is Friday the opening of conference season, but it is a special day for UW students. The Cowgirls would like to invite all UW students to the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex for a chance to win an IPOD. Food and gas giveaways will also be raffled off during the match.