Utah Soccer Gearing Up For Utah State Friday

Utes host in-state rival Aggies before hitting the road to face LMU.

Kelly Isleib looks to add to her team-leading three goals this weekend.

Sept. 8, 2008

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SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah women's soccer team (1-5-0) will try to snap its four-game losing skid against in-state rival Utah State Friday night at Ute Field. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. MT. The team will then head to Los Angeles, Calif., for its fifth road match in eight games, as the Utes face Loyola Marymount at 2 p.m. MT Sunday.

Utah and Utah State have met 10 times in the 13-year history of the Ute soccer program. Utah holds a 9-1-0 record in those meetings, including an unbeaten 5-0-0 record at home. The Utes won the first contest between the two squads in Salt Lake City in 1996, but dropped the next match in 1997 by a 1-0 score in Logan, Utah.

Sunday's match will mark just the second time Utah and LMU have squared off on the pitch, with the Lions having won the only other meeting. That match was a 2005 contest in Los Angeles that LMU captured by a 1-0 score.

Utah enters the weekend following another hard-fought pair of contests that saw the Utes drop two matches by the slimmest of margins. At Oregon Friday night, Utah erased a 1-0 first-half deficit and took a 2-1 lead, but surrendered it just before halftime. After a second-half battle with both teams missing scoring opportunities, the Ducks capitalized on a late corner kick to undo the Utah efforts and capture the 3-2 victory. Sunday's match was yet another overtime grind for the Utes, this time at Oregon State. The U was felled by a cross-turned-shot attempt that found its way into the goal in the 97th minute of play.

Offensively, the Utes are currently led by Kelly Isleib's three goals for six points. Isleib has held the team lead in both categories since the start of the 2008 campaign, when she scored in the season opener at Wake Forest. Katy Reineke, Chelsea Forbes and Katie Martinez have each tallied one goal for the Utes as well. In goal for Utah, Emalee Rogers is coming off back-to-back games in which she made seven saves to keep the Utes in a position to be successful.

The Utes and Aggies will also celebrate United States Youth Soccer Night at Ute Field, in conjunction with the Utah Youth Soccer Association (UYSA). Halftime will feature a UYSA challenge and both teams will be signing autographs on the field following the game.

Scouting The Utah State Aggies...

Utah State (2-3-1) enters Friday night's tilt following a 3-0 win over Northern Colorado in its last outing. The win ended a three-match winless spell for the Aggies that saw them fall to common opponents Oregon and Oregon State, by respective scores of 1-0 and 2-1.

Utah State is led offensively by Shantel Flanary, who has netted two goals and notched an assist for five points on the year. In the net, Ali Griffin has started all six games and holds a 1.10 goals-against-average to go with a .812 save percentage. Molli Merrill has also seen action in two games, making three saves and not allowing a goal.

The Aggies returned seven starters and 16 letterwinners to the team this year, in addition to 10 newcomers. Last year's squad posted a 10-11 record, going 5-2 in the Western Athletic Conference for a fourth-place finish.

Utah State is coached by Heather Cairns. Now in her sixth year as the head coach of the Aggies, she owns a 45-49-10 record (.462).

Scouting The LMU Lions...

Loyola Marymount (2-2-1) comes into this weekend following its first two victories of the season. The Lions earned a weekend sweep at home, taking down UC Irvine by a 3-1 score, then posting a 1-0 win against Harvard. LMU opened the season with a 1-1 draw against UNLV, then lost consecutive matches to Notre Dame and West Virginia.

LMU's Lauren Shanklin and Tiffany Harrison are tied as the team's scoring leaders, each netting a pair of goals thus far. In goal for the Lions has been primarily Allyssa Clark, who has posted a 1.19 goals-against-average while making 25 saves.

The Lions brought back nine starters and 23 letterwinners from a 2007 squad that went 12-6-1, including a 4-3-0 mark in the West Coast Conference.

LMU is coached by Joe Mallia, now in his second year at the helm for the Lions.

From The Mind of Manning...

Quotes from Utah head coach Rich Manning regarding his squad, this week's opponents and other items of note:

On the matches against Utah State and LMU:
"Every year the match against Utah State is fiercely contested and high-paced. It is always a well-played game filled with drama, and we expect the same on Friday. We have a lot of respect for Heather (Cairns, USU head coach) and her staff. The team is always well organized and we expect another battle. "I think the WCC is one of the premier conferences in the country. We have traditionally enjoyed the matchups against WCC teams. LMU is also a well-organized and successful team. I think it will be another good test for our young squad."

On the Utah defense:
"I think our defense is starting to steady itself. We have been able to put out a consistent back four and (true freshmen) Lauren Porter and Lauren Dudley are feeling more comfortable anchoring our back line. Getting Amanda Sanchez back was very big for us as well, I think she had a great game against Oregon State."

On the USYSA night:
"This will be a great opportunity for a lot of the youth players in the state to watch some good soccer and also watch some players that were once in their shoes. A lot of the USU players work our camps here at Utah, so I know the younger kids are familiar with them as well. It should be a great night for soccer from both teams."

Isleib Strikes Gold Again...

Junior midfielder Kelly Isleib found the back of the net once again last weekend, this time on a one-time blast from about 20 yards out. After her initial shot directly from a free kick rebounded off the Oregon wall, the ball fell fortuitously to Isleib who blasted it into the upper left corner for the team-leading third goal of the year.

Isleib entered the year needing just six helpers to become the all-time career leader in assists at Utah. She already stands in third place in that category with 17, and is chasing the career mark of 22 held by Amanda Feigt (2003-06). Last year she set a new school record for assists in a single season, dishing out 13.

Reineke Puts Away Season's First...

Senior midfielder/forward Katy Reineke notched her first goal of the year against Oregon last Friday as she slotted home a penalty kick in the first half. Near the top of the `shots taken' statistic in the Mountain West, Reineke had proven dangerous but unable to slip one past an opposing keeper until Friday.

She Sets `Em Up, Utes Knock `Em Down...

The season statistics sheet has yet to do justice by sophomore forward Lauren Hair. Though she remains with only one assist to her credit, Hair has been one of the most dangerous offensive player for the Utes thus far. In the 3-2 loss at Oregon last Friday, Hair got behind the Ducks' defense and was taken down in the box, drawing a penalty kick that Katy Reineke drilled home. Shortly thereafter, Hair drew another foul just outside the penalty box, which, after her first effort struck the wall, Kelly Isleib one-timed into the back of the net to give the Utes a brief 2-1 lead.

Earlier this season, Hair was responsible for feeding Morgan Skeen, who was credited with the game-winning assist on Kelly Isleib's double-overtime goal at UNC Greensboro in the Utes' only win. Hair also made herself known against No. 19 Georgia, beating the Bulldogs' All-SEC center back one-on-one, to set up multiple scoring opportunities that the Utes couldn't capitalize on.



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