Cowgirl Soccer Prepares For Final Two Home Matches Of The Season

Oct. 19, 2011

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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Boasting the best start in team history, the Wyoming Cowgirl soccer team (9-4-3 overall, 2-0-1 Mountain West) will host its final two home games of the regular season on Friday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 23. On Friday, UW will welcome the San Diego State Aztecs at the Louis S. Madrid Soccer Pitch. Sunday, the Cowgirls will honor seniors Kayla Davis, Allison Masumiya and Nicole Rice as they play host to UNLV.

"This is a big weekend for us," Cowgirl head coach Danny Sanchez said. "You want to be playing your best soccer at the end of the year and we are. Hopefully that translates into these last three conference games and into the MW Tournament. We are hoping to keep this momentum going and we fell well about where we are right now."

The 2011 Cowgirl soccer team has made a historic run throughout the season earning its first ever rankings, recording its best record through 16 games and setting its longest unbeaten streak in team history. Their 9-4-3 record is its best start in school history through 16 games. The Cowgirls enter this weekend's action on a nine match unbeaten streak (6-0-3), which is the best in school history. They have scored 15 goals and allowed six during their unbeaten streak. On Oct. 4th, they received their first ever regional ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Pacific region poll. In that poll the Cowgirls were ranked No. 10 and have remained in that position over the last three weeks. Also four Cowgirls are ranked in the top 20 of players in the MW by topdrawersoccer.com. As ranked by topdrawersoccer.com, Paul sits in eighth, Davis is 10th, Liz O'Reilly is 14th and Jenny Johnson is 18th.

After three conference games, Wyoming is in second place in the MW standings with seven points and a 2-0-1 MW record, it sits just behind New Mexico who has eight points and a 2-0-2 record. UW is led in total points by redshirt freshman Sara Paul who has combined for 17 points, scoring seven goals and assisting on three others. For her two goal performance in the Front Range Derby, Paul earned MW Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career. Davis has also had an excellent scoring season adding 12 points, with her four goals and four assists. Three of her four goals have been game-winning goals which is tied with Paul for the best on the team. Junior goalkeeper Courtney Merkle, coming off her first MW Player of the Week selection of the season, has played 14 games recording a goal-against average (GAA) of 0.86, 51 saves and three shutouts. So far in 2011 the Cowgirls have outscored (22-16) and outshot (231-205) their opponents.

"We have done well so far in conference play," Sanchez added. "With only six conference games and there is no room for error in any game."

A look at the upcoming weekend:

On Friday, Oct. 21 the Cowgirls will host the San Diego State Aztecs. The Aztecs are 7-6-3 overall with a 1-1-1 record in the MW. They are also 2-2 away from San Diego, Calif. They played one game last weekend falling, 1-0, to Boise State on Sunday. SDSU has outscored its opponents 20-19 and outshot its opponents 233-171. Throughout MW play SDSU has outscored its opponents 4-1. They are led in scoring by Cat Walker who has 13 points on the season with six goals and one assist. Goalkeeper Rachel Boaz has played 16 games in 2011 recording a GAA of 1.03, 35 saves and five shutouts.

"San Diego State was the preseason pick for the conference championship and they are still capable of doing that," Sanchez said. "We know they are going to be a huge challenge for us on Friday."

On Sunday, Oct. 23 UW will welcome the UNLV Rebels for senior day. The Rebels are currently 6-8-2 on the season with a 2-1-0 conference record. They are 1-6-1 away from home in 2011. They played one game last weekend defeating Boise State 5-0. They have outscored their opponents 20-18, but have been outshot 189-168. They are led in scoring by Katherine Orellana who has 12 total points, recording four goals and four assists. Rebel goalkeeper Kylie Wassell has played in all 16 games carrying a GAA of 1.08 and recording 58 saves.

"UNLV has also had a great start to conference play winning two of three," Sanchez said. "They have played really well over the last few weekends and we need to be ready to play on Sunday."

The match against the Rebels will also be the final home game for three important Cowgirl seniors. Before kickoff on Sunday the Cowgirls will honor seniors Davis, Masumiya and Rice. Davis is second on the team in total points, goals and assists. Masumiya has been a solid performer in the UW middle back scoring one goal and assisting on three others. She has also been a key member of a Cowgirl defense that has allowed less than one goal per game (.94) and just six goals over its last nine games. Rice who has battled injuries for the last two seasons, recently made her return to the UW line up playing three matches this season.

"I think this is the most unique senior class I have ever had," Sanchez said. "Kayla is a fifth year senior that has battled injuries her whole career and has never really had a chance to show what she is capable of until this year. She has been fantastic this season as our second leading scorer. Allison is a four-year starter and has been a great asset to this program. She is a senior captain and is having her best season to date. Nicole is a sixth year senior that has battled injuries the last two seasons after an all-conference season in 2009. Her returning is a testament to her commitment to Wyoming and our soccer program. I am really proud of her. I couldn't ask for a better group of seniors than we have this year."

The San Diego State match will kickoff on Friday at 3 p.m. MT, while the UNLV game will kickoff at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Friday will be `Family Friday' where fans can receive four tickets, four hotdogs and four Pepsis for $12. Sunday every fan who attends the match will receive a free box of Gobstoppers.