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Zags Open WCC Play Hosting No. 4 Portland

Oct. 3, 2006

Spokane, Wash. -

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THIS WEEK:
Sunday, Oct. 8
No. 4 Portland at Gonzaga, Martin Field, 11 a.m.#

LAST WEEK:
Gonzaga 1, UC Santa Barbara 0
No. 5 UCLA 1, Gonzaga 0

NEXT WEEK:
Friday, Oct. 13 - Saint Mary's at Gonzaga, Martin Field, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 15 - San Francsisco at Gonzaga, Martin Field, 11 a.m.#
# - Indicates doubleheader with Gonzaga men's soccer team

ZAGS OPEN CONFERENCE SCHEDULE AT HOME: The Gonzaga University women's soccer team will open West Coast Conference play this weekend when it hosts defending national champions and fourth-ranked University of Portland. The Zags and Pilots will face off Sunday at 11 a.m. The game is the first game of a scheduled doubleheader with the GU men's soccer team.

LAST WEEK ON THE PITCH: Last weekend, Gonzaga University posted a 1-1 record during its final road trip before opening West Coast Conference play. On Sept. 29, the Bulldogs posted their fourth shutout of the season with a 1-0 win over UC Santa Barbara. Sunday, Oct. 1, GU faced off against then-No. 5 UCLA, who blanked the Zags 1-0.

AGAINST RANKED FOE: The Gonzaga University women's soccer team is looking to improve on its all time record against ranked opponents this weekend when it hosts No. 4 Portland on Sunday. The Zags are 4-38-1 all-time when playing a ranked opponent. The last time GU won a match against a ranked foe was Oct. 14, 2005 when the Bulldogs blanked then-No. 10 Pepperdine University, 1-0. In its last match against a ranked opponent, GU fell 1-0 to then-No. 5 UCLA on Oct. 1.

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. Also this season, the Bulldogs' match against No. 3 Santa Clara on Oct. 22 will feature a free live video feed. The free video feed will be exclusively available on the West Coast Conference's website, www.wccsports.com.

HOME SWEET HOME: During the past two seasons, Gonzaga University has posted a record of 16-3-1 when playing on their home pitch, Martin Field. The Zags have dropped two games to date at home this season, which marks the first time since the 2003 campaign that GU has dropped multiple games while playing at Martin Field.

SCOUTING THE PILOTS: The University of Portland entered the 2006 campaign as the defending national champions and currently boast a national ranking of four with a 9-2-1 overall record, including six straight shutouts. Redshirt sophomore Megan Rapinoe currently leads the Pilots after a rookie campaign in which she was named the Soccer Times Freshman of the Year, earned Soccer American and Soccer Buzz All-Freshman accolades and was named a member of the NSCAA All-America First Team. She currently ranks second in the nation for goals per game with 1.00 (10 total goals), despite missing the past two games to play for the United States Women's National Team. Joining Rapinoe on the U.S. National Team are redshirt juniors Stephanie Lopez and Angie Woznuk. Portland boats 11 players who have been involved with the US National Team Program and a two that have been involved with the Canadian National Team at some point in their career. Portland leads the all-times series 14-0-0. Last season, UP prevailed over Gonzaga University 2-0 in Portland.

OFFENSIVE THREAT: The six Gonzaga University juniors, Nanda McCormick, Cristin Leverson, Sarah Hall, Christine Soma, Jamie Blanche and Lauren Zuckerman, have been quite the offensive threat for GU opponents. The 2006 junior class has combined for all but six of the team's total goals, all but two of the total assists, over two thirds of the Zags' total points, and over half of the GU's total shots. In total, the juniors boast nine goals, eight assists, 26 points and 78 shots. Leading the pack is Leverson with seven points (3 goals, 1 assists). As a team, GU has posted 15 goals, 10 assists for 40 points and 138 shots.

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, has continued her record-breaking performance this season. With her performance so far in 2006, McCormick gained sole possession of seventh place for career goals with 11 and seventh place for total career points with 27. 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.

RECORD CAREERS: Six Gonzaga University women's soccer players have moved into the all-time career rankings to date this season. Junior Nanda McCormick is currently ranked in two career rankings, placing seventh in career goals (11) and seventh in career total points (27). Senior Beth Drollinger and junior Christine Soma are both tied for sixth in career assists (7). Junior Cristin Leverson's game-winning goal against UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 29 vaulted her into a tie for ninth on the career goal ranks (8). Junior Jamie Blanche is ranked seventh in career shots (72). Rounding out those moving up in the ranks is freshman goalkeeper Jessie Thalman, who is tied for third in career shutouts with three.

ROOKIE RECORD BREAKER: Gonzaga University freshman goalkeeper Jessie Thalman has already made a name for herself in the Gonzaga record books, even though her rookie campaign isn't over. Thalman currently boasts three shutouts while only allowing seven goals for a 0.62 goals against average. On Sept. 29, Thalman posted her third shutout of the season with a 1-0 win over UC Santa Barbara. The shutout moved her up in two different Bulldog all-time standings. Thalman is now tied for fourth in single season shutouts and tied for third in the career shutout rankings. Both records are held by Ashley Haugen who posted 23 all-time shutouts, including 11 in 2005.

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.

ZAGS PICKED THIRD IN WCC: The Gonzaga University women's soccer team has been selected to finish third in the 2006 West Coast Conference pre-season women's soccer poll as voted by the conference's head coaches. The third place selection for the Bulldogs marks the highest the team has ever been tabbed to finish. Topping the conference poll is defending national champion University of Portland.

TOUGH SCHEDULE AHEAD: Gonzaga University have already or will face three schools that are ranked in this week's national top 10, including two top-10 teams in back-to-back matches. Last Sunday, the Bulldogs traveled to Los Angeles to meet then-No. 5 UCLA, the 2005 NCAA runner-up. GU fell to the Burins, 1-0. This Sunday, seven days after taking on UCLA, the Zags will host defending national champion and No. 4 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.