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Women's Soccer To Host Utah State Friday

Sept. 19, 2007

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Game 7
Utah State at Gonzaga
Martin Field
Spokane, Wash.
Friday, September 21, 3 p.m.

Series Record:
GU leads 4-1-0
Last Meeting:
@GU 2, USU 1 in 2005

THIS WEEK: Gonzaga University returns home this weekend to host Utah State University Friday in the Zags' lone match of the week. The Aggies and Bulldogs will face off at 3 p.m. at Martin Field.

NEXT WEEK: Gonzaga University continues its home stand next weekend as it hosts Idaho State University and UC Santa Barbara. Idaho State will face the Zags on Friday, September 28 at 3 p.m. before the Bulldogs host UCSB Sunday, September 30 at 1 p.m. Both matches will take place at Martin Field. The following week, the Bulldogs will welcome Boise State University to Spokane for a mid-week contest onOctober 2 at 3 p.m.

LAST WEEK: Gonzaga University participated in its only tournament of the season, the Vanderbilt University Tournament. The Zags brought home the tournament title, taking matches from Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama Birmingham, both NCAA Tournament teams last season. Friday, freshmen Ashley Riley and Sheridan Jones scored their first collegiate goals as the Bulldogs topped the Commodores 2-0. Sunday, after falling behind 1-0 early, Lauren Dascenzo and Riley each scored to lift GU over UAB 2-1. For her efforts at the event, Riley was named the tournament MVP.

ZAGS NOTCH FIRST TOURNAMENT CROWN IN PROGRAM HISTORY: Gonzaga University earned its first tournament crown in women's soccer history last weekend after sweeping the Vanderbilt University Tournament with a 2-0 record. The event marked the 12th time the Bulldogs have participated in a tournament. The Zags have now posted a 5-16-1 record in tournament play.

RILEY NAMED VANDERBILT TOURNAMENT MVP: Freshman Ashley Riley, of the Gonzaga University women's soccer team, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Vanderbilt  University Tournament Sunday after leading the Zags to a perfect 2-0 weekend. The native of Taos, New Mexico scored her first collegiate goal Friday against Vanderbilt during the 67th minute. Sunday, she posted the game winner at the 82:06 mark as the Zags defeated UAB 2-1 to earn the title.

FRESHMAN NAMED TO SOCCER BUZZ NATIONAL ELITE TEAM OFTHE WEEK: Ashley Riley, a midfielder on the Gonzaga University women's soccer team, has been named to the Soccer Buzz National Elite Team of the Week as announced on Tuesday. Riley was one of 11 awarded the honor by the publication after the Bulldogs' posted a 2-0-0 record en route to winning the Vanderbilt University Tournament last weekend in Nashville, Tenn. Riley posted two goals at the event to earn the national accoalde. She was the only freshman to be named to the team this week, as well as one of three representatives from West Coast Conference schools.

LIVE ON THE INTERNET: All Gonzaga University home games will be available via Gametracker on the internet at http://www.gozags.com. Check the Gonzaga web site for all Gametracker links. Select away matches will also feature live stats. Links to live stats can be found on the women's soccer schedule page on the Bulldogs' website.

SCOUTING THE AGGIES:  Utah State University travels to Spokane this week with a 3-4-0 record. The Aggies are fresh off of a 1-1 weekend in which they fell to the University of Oregon 2-1 on September 14 before topping Idaho State University 1-0 in overtime on September 16. Earlier in the week, on September 12, Utah State defeated Weber State 4-3. Dana Peart leads the Aggies with four goals and one assist for nine total points. Last week, Peart was named to Top Drawer Soccer's National Team of the Week after she tallied two goals, including a game-winner and one assist for the week. She was also named the Western Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week as well as the America First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the week. Friday's game marks the sixth game in Gonzaga University women's soccer history between the two programs. The Bulldogs hold the 4-1-0 advantage, will all four victories coming at Martin Field. During the last meeting, in 2005, Gonzaga defeated the Aggies 2-1 in Spokane.

SHOWING UP IN NUMBERS: Nearly 1,020 fans showed up to Martin Field on September 7 to watch the Gonzaga University women's soccer team face off against regional rival Washington State University. The record crowd was the largest at a Bulldog home match since the Zags battled then-No. 5 Santa Clara University to a 0-0 double overtime tie on October 23, 2005 in front of 1,164 Bulldog fans.

UPPER CLASSMEN LEAD THE WAY: The Gonzaga University women's soccer team features six seniors this season, as well as four juniors. To date, five of Gonzaga's eight goals and all 7 assists have been recorded by upperclassmen. Seniors Christine Soma, Jamie Blanche, Lauren Zuckerman and Nanda McCormick and junior Lauren Dascenzo have all posted goals for the Zags. In total, the six Zags have accounted for 17 of 23 of Gonzaga's total points.

BLANCHE SHOOTS HER WAY UP THE RANKS: Senior Jamie Blanche entered the 2007 campaign ranked seventh on the Gonzaga University women's soccer career shots list with 84 shots. During the first six games of this season, Blanche has posted nine shots to elevate her to sixth in the career ranks with 93, two shots short of Sarah Hawkins (2001-04), who is ranked fifth.

THALMAN PICKS UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: Sophomore goalkeeper Jessie Thalman continued her pursuit of school records Friday, posting her ninth career shutout, as well as the third of the season as the Zags downed Vanderbilt University 2-0. Thalman currently ranks second on the career shutout list. As a freshman, Thalman recorded six shutouts, to place her second on the single season list. Currently, her three shutouts also places her tied for third on the single season list.

MOVIN' ON UP: As the 2007 season continues, numerous members of the Gonzaga University squad are looking to move up in the Bulldogs' women's soccer career record book. With her goal against the University of Montana on Sept. 2, Christine Soma entered the top ten in goals scored, placing her in a three-way tie for ninth with eight goals. Nanda McCormick currently ranks third in career goals (17), fourth in total points (39) and eighth in shots (83). Joining McCormick on the shots list is Jamie Blanche, who ranks sixth (93). Cristin Leverson currently is tied for ninth on the goals scored list with eight, while Soma ranks tied for second in assists with nine.

ZUCKERMAN LAUNCHES CAREER FIRST: Senior Lauren Zuckerman, of the Gonzaga University women's soccer team, scored her first career goal September 9 during the Zags' 2-0 victory over Eastern Washington University. Zuckerman recorded ther goal at the 18:21 mark of the match as the senior connected on a pass from Kelcey Goddard. This season marks the first year Zuckerman has played at the forward position, as the past three years she has been a mainstay on the Bulldog backline.

ZAGS LOOKING TO BREAK TREND: So far this season, Gonzaga University has posted a 4-0-0 record when playing away from the friendly confines of Martin Field. The Bulldogs have gone 3-0-0 as the visting team and 1-0-0 when playing at a neutral site. On the other hand, the Zags will be looking to break a losing streak at home when they host Utah State University on Friday, as the Bulldogs have dropped both home matches this season for a 0-2-0 record in Spokane.

GAME WINNING GOAL PROPELS SOMA: Senior Christine Soma's goal during the 56th minute of the September 2 game against the University of Montana not only lifted Gonzaga University over the Grizzlies, but it also propelled Soma into the record books. The goal was the eighth of her career, placing her in a three-way tie for ninth place in the career record ranks.

TWO NEW ADDITIONS TO COACHING STAFF: Gonzaga University head coach Shannon Stiles has announced two new assistant coaches on the sidelnes this season. Joining the Zags  are assistant coach John Cossaboon and volunteer assistant coach Tiera Como. Cossaboon joins the Bulldogs from Southern Methodist University where he served as head coach for the last four years. During his tenure, he led the Mustangs to four conference titles. In addition to SMU, Cossaboon has been the head coach at UC Santa Barbara and the University of San Diego, where he led the Toreros to four consecutive NCAA appearances from 1999-2002. Como joins the Stiles' staff after capping an outstanding career as goalkeeper at Eastern Washington University where she was twice named All-Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year.

OFFENSIVE THREAT: The six Gonzaga University seniors - Nanda McCormick, Cristin Leverson, Sarah Hall, Christine Soma, Jamie Blanche and Lauren Zuckerman - were quite the offensive threat for GU opponents last season. As juniors, the pack combined for over half of the team's total goals, all but five of the total assists, over half of the Zags' total points and over half of the GU's total shots. In total, the seniors boasted 14 goals, nine assists, 37 points and 130 shots. Leading the pack was McCormick with a team-high seven goals and two assists for 16 points. As a team, GU posted 23 goals, 14 assists for 60 points and 225 shots.

ZAGS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH IN WCC: The Gonzaga University women's soccer team has been picked to finish sixth in the West Coast Conference for the 2007 season according to a preseason vote of the league's head coaches. The University of Portland, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2006 NCAA Tournament, was selected as the preseason favorite to take home the conference's regular season title. Santa Clara, who garnered a No. 1 seed to heading into the NCAA's last season, was picked to finish second, followed by Pepperdine University and the University of San Diego picked third and fourth, respectively. Selected fifth was Loyola Marymount University followed by the Zags at sixth. University of San Francsico was picked to finished seventh with Saint Mary's College rounding out the poll in eighth.

THE STILES FILE: The first female head women's soccer coach in the history of the West Coast Conference, Shannon Stiles enters her ninth season at Gonzaga University with the program coming off its fourth consecutive winning season. Last season, the Zags posted its fourth straight 10 or more win season with a 10-9-1 overall record. In 2005, 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. In 2003, Stiles was named the WCC Coach of the Year after guiding the Bulldogs to their first winning season in program history. For her career, Stiles has amassed a 64-88-7 overall record.

BULLDOGS FACE TOUGH 2007 SLATE: This season Gonzaga University is looking to return to the NCAA postseason for the second time in program history as it faces a tough 2007 schedule. The Bulldogs will play six matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season, including three in West Coast Conference action. Of the six teams that competed in the postseason - Vanderbilt University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Idaho State University, University of Portland, Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University - the Zags will host two of the teams at Martin Field. The Bulldogs will play Idaho State on Sept. 28 and open their home WCC schedule with Santa Clara on Oct. 25. Gonzaga faced both Vanderbilt and UAB as part of the Commodores' tournament in Nashville on Sept. 14 and 16.