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Bulldogs Travel To Arizona For Four Points Cats' Classic

Sept. 6, 2006

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THIS WEEK:
FRIDAY - Sept. 8 (Four Points Cats' Classic)

Gonzaga at University of Arizona, 7:30 p.m. at Tucson, Ariz.
SUNDAY - Sept. 10 (Four Points Cats' Classic)
Gonzaga vs. University of the Pacific, 11 a.m. at Tucson, Ariz.

LAST WEEK:
Gonzaga 4, Birmingham-Southern 0
Gonzaga 3, Eastern Washington 0

NEXT WEEK:
Friday, Sept. 15 -

Oregon at Gonzaga, 3 p.m., Martin Field
Sunday, Sept. 17 -
Utah Valley State at Gonzaga, 1 p.m., Martin Field

Gonzaga Travels to Desert for Four Points Cats' Classic: The Gonzaga University women's soccer team travels to Tucson, Ariz., this weekend to compete in the Four Points Cats' Classic. Friday the Bulldogs will battle host University of Arizona at 7:30 p.m. before taking on the University of the Pacific Sunday at 11 a.m.

Last Week On The Pitch: Last weekend, Gonzaga University extended its home undefeated streak to 10 matches with victories over Birmingham-Southern College and Eastern Washington University. The games also marked the first time since 1997 that GU has played back-to-back home matches on consecutive days since 1997. The Bulldogs earned a 4-0 victory over BSC Friday afternoon in their home season opener. Freshman Taylor Hall posted two goals in the match. Saturday afternoon, the Zags defeated regional foe EWU 3-0.

Career Firsts Highlight Home Opener: Freshman Taylor Hall posted her first career goal Friday against Birmingham Southern College...and then posted her second three minutes later. Her first goal of the afternoon came at 55:49 when she sailed the ball over the finger tips of Panther goalie Brittany Green. Hall then scored her second goal at 58:19 off of an assist by Christine Soma. Also posting her first career goal in the match was sophomore Sarah Hall. Hall posted the match-winning goal in the 21st minute when she connected with a pass from Cristin Leverson from five yards out.

Earning National Attention: Gonzaga University's women's soccer team is on the verge of bursting back to the national rankings. This week, the Bulldogs are receiving votes in the Soccer Buzz polls. The Zags are also ranked in the West Region in both Soccer Buzz and the NSCAA/adidas poll. In both the Soccer Buzz and NSCAA/adidas West Region polls, GU is ranked ninth, a one spot improvement from last week's 10th-place ranking.

Scouting The Wildcats: The University of Arizona entered the season ranked as high as 17th in the national polls, but has slipped out of the top 25 this week after going 1-1 at the University of Utah Fall Classic. Arizona still maintains a presence in the regional rankings, receiving votes in the Soccer Buzz West Region poll. The Wildcats 2006 roster includes 13 returning players from last season's NCAA Sweet 16 squad. The Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time before falling to top-ranked University of Portland 4-0. Currently leading Arizona is sophomore forward Gianna DeSaverio with a pair of goals and an assist. Gonzaga University is 0-1-0 all-time against the Wildcats. In the only meeting between the two schools Arizona prevailed 6-2 in 1996. This trip marks the first time the Zags have traveled to Tucson. The last time the two programs met on the pitch was at a neutral site in Corvallis, Ore.

Familiar Face: Gonzaga Unviersity is no stranger to University of Arizona head coach Dan Tobias. From 1998-02 Tobias served as the head coach at Washington State University. During his five years with the Cougars, Gonzaga and WSU met four times on the pitch, with the Cougars taking all four matches from the Zags.

Scouting the Tigers: The University of the Pacific is boasting an unblemished 4-0-0 record, with all four wins coming via shutouts. The Tigers travel to Tucson one shutout shy of the program record for consecutive shutouts of five, which was set in 1999. Pacific posted a 10-9-1 overall record in 2005 before ending its season in the first round of the Big West Conference Championship. The Tigers are led by junior goalkeeper Jamie Souza with 21 saves and a perfect 0.00 goals against average. Souza also posted her first career assist in Pacific's 3-0 victory over Air Force. Gonzaga University will be looking for its inaugural win over the Tigers when they meet on the pitch on Sunday. Pacific holds the 4-0-1 all-time advantage over the Bulldogs, with the most recent match ending in a 1-0 Tiger victory in 2001 as part of the adidas Tournament held in San Jose, Calif.

Rookie Blanks Opponents: Rookie goalkeeper Jessie Thalman posted her second career shutout on Saturday in her fourth start. Thalman, who started the match against BSC on Friday, was not credited with the 4-0 shutout over the Panthers because sophomore Laura Higby played the final 22 minutes of the match in the net for Gonzaga University. Thalman's two career shutouts tie her for fifth in the record book for single season shutouts. In her first four starts, the freshman boasts an undefeated 3-0-1 record. The rookie leads the West Coast Conference with a 0.29 goals against average and is tied for first in shutouts and shutouts per game with 0.50.

Movin' On Up: Junior Nanda McCormick continues to move up in the Gonzaga University women's soccer record books. McCormick, who had a breakout season in 2005, posted a goal last weekend against Eastern Washington University. With her performance so far this season, McCormick gained sole possession of seventh place for career goals with 11 and seventh place for total career points with 26. The forward also holds numerous spots on the single-season record books thanks to her performance during the 2005 campaign. She ranks tied for fifth in single season goals (9), tied for fourth in total points (21) and ranks eighth in shots with 40.

Home Sweet Home: During the past two seasons, Gonzaga has posted a record of 15-1-1 when playing on their home pitch, Martin Field. The Zags last suffered a loss at home on Oct. 10, 2004, when they fell to then-No. 4 University of Portland, 1-0.

Live On The Internet: All Gonzaga University home matches will be available via Gametracker on the internet at http://www.gozags.com. Check the Gonzaga web site for all Gametracker links.

The Stiles File: The first female head women's soccer coach in the history of the West Coast Conference, Shannon Stiles enters her eighth season at Gonzaga University with the program coming off its third consecutive winning season. The Bulldogs set single single-season program records for wins with 12, most consecutive wins with seven, most shutouts with 11, as well as its highest finish in the WCC with a 3-1-3 record last season. In 2003, Stiles was named the WCC Coach of the Year after guiding the Bulldogs to their first winning season in program history.

Tough Road Ahead: Gonzaga University will face three schools that are ranked in this week's national top 10, including facing two top-10 teams in back-to-back matches. On Oct 1 the Bulldogs will travel to Los Angeles to meet No. 3 UCLA, the 2005 NCAA runner-up. Seven days later the Zags will host defending national champion and No. 6 University of Portland at Martin Field. Gonzaga will face No. 3 Santa Clara University on the road on Oct. 22. All three schools that are currently ranked in the top-10 have been atop the rankings at some point this season. Portland topped the rankings in some of the preseason polls, as did UCLA. Santa Clara topped the Soccer Buzz national poll following the first week of the season.

Schedule Note: The Oct. 1 match versus UCLA will be played on UCLA's campus in Los Angeles. Some 2006 Gonzaga University women's soccer shedules may incorrectly indicate the location of the match. The match will be held at Drake Stadium at noon on Oct. 1. The match will mark the first meeting between the two progams. The Bruins are currently ranked as high as third in the national polls.