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Women's Soccer Heads to Northwest for Games Against Gonzaga and Portland

Oct. 11, 2006

After posting a 2-0 record with wins over UC Davis (2-0) and San Francisco (4-1) last week, the Saint Mary's women's soccer team currently has a 3-8-2 overall record. The Gaels will continue with two West Coast Conference road games this week. SMC will travel to Gonzaga and Portland and will look to improve on its 1-0 WCC record. Saint Mary's will open the week on Friday at Gonzaga with a 1 p.m. game at Martin Field. The Gaels will close the week against the No. 5 ranked Portland Pilots on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game at Merlo Field.

Freshman midfielder Jessica Menzhuber was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week after scoring three goals in SMC's two wins last week. Menzhuber scored both goals in SMC's 2-0 win over UC Davis and then scored her third goal of the week just six seconds in to the match against USF. The six-second goal by Menzhuber matched the second fasted goal in NCAA women's soccer history.

Gonzaga is coming off an 0-2 week, but dropped both games to ranked opponents. The Bulldogs are 6-6-1 overall and 0-1 in WCC play. GU was defeated by No. 5 UCLA 1-0 on Friday and the suffered a 3-0 loss to No. 4 Portland on Sunday. Gonzaga is 3-3 in its last six games with all three losses to ranked opponents.

Gonzaga is averaging 1.17 goals per game after scoring just 15 goals in 13 games. The Bulldogs defense has been stingy this season, allowing just 10 goals for a 0.78 goals against average.

Two players are tied for the team lead in goals scored, as Cristin Leverson and Lacey Castleberry have three goals each. Leverson, has one assist to give her the team lead with seven points. Jessie Thalman has started all 13 games in goals this season and has a 0.81 goals against average and three shutouts. In more than 1,100 minutes played, Thalman has 50 saves and allowed 10 goals.

Friday's game between SMC and Gonzaga will mark the 14th game played between the two schools. Saint Mary's holds a 10-2-1 advantage in the series. The only tie in the series came last season when the two teams played to a 0-0 draw in Moraga. In the last game played in Spokane, Gonzaga defeated the Gaels 3-0. Prior to the loss in Spokane, Saint Mary's had won six straight games. Saint Mary's has outscored the Bulldogs 39-11 in the series.

On Sunday, Saint Mary's will travel to Portland to battle the No. 5 ranked team in the nation, and 2005 National Champions, the Portland Pilots. Portland has an 11-2-1 overall record and has won eight straight games and 11 of its last 12. The Pilots are 1-0 in conference play after defeating Gonzaga 3-0 on Sunday. Portland has outscored its opponents 44-7, and in its last eight games, UP has outscored its opponents 26-1 and has posted seven shutouts. As a team, Portland has posted nine shutouts in 13 games.

Michelle Enyeart and Megan Rapione lead the team with 11 and 10 goals each. Enyeart is the team leader with 28 points and has six assists. The team assist leader is Angie Woznuk with nine. Portland's number-one goalkeeper is Cori Alexander. Alexander has played all but 135 minutes in net this season and has a 0.55 goals against average. She has allowed all seven goals and has collected 37 saves.

Sunday's conference match up will be the 21st game played between the two schools. Portland has won the last four games and 16 of the last 17. The Pilots hold a 16-4 advantage in the series.

Although Menzhuber was the conference player of the week, Nikki Schrey had a hot week for the Gaels as well. Schrey collected five points scoring two goals and dishing out one assist. Schrey scored twice against San Francisco to move her team-leading goals total to five. Schrey is just one goal off her pace from last season when she scored six times as a freshman.

Heading into this weekend's two games, fifth-year senior defender Sarah Churchill has played in 74 games in her Saint Mary's career. Churchill is just five games behind Chelsea Montero and Jill Anderson for the school record of 79 games played in a career. Churchill has started 71 of 74 games in her career.

Tara Larson, McKenna Belzer and Stefani Rocco were named to the Harvard Invitational All-Tournament Team when the Gaels posted two ties on the trip to Boston. Larson recorded 12 saves and allowed one goal in the tournament. Belzer had the most scoring opportunities for the Gaels, taking seven shots, with six on goal, in the two games. Rocco played solid for the Gaels in the midfield as she recorded four shots.

For the first time all season, Saint Mary's posted back-to-back wins. After posting a 1-8-2 record, and not winning in their last 10 games, the Gaels posted wins over UC Davis and San Francisco. Saint Mary's got two goals from Jessica Menzhuber in the 2-0 win over the Aggies on Friday. It was SMC's first win since the season opener and marked just the second shutout of the season for the Gaels. Against the Dons in the WCC opener, Saint Mary's got out to a 3-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the game. SMC got on the scoreboard in just six seconds when Menzhuber hit a shot from the half line over the head of the USF goalkeeper. Allie Weiner and Nikki Schrey added goals in the eighth and 20th minutes, respectively, to give SMC a three-goal lead at halftime. USF answered with its goal in the 53rd minute and Schrey scored her second of the game, and team leading fifth of the season, in the 78th minute to keep the game out of reach.

Next Week
Following the WCC road trip to the Pacific Northwest, Saint Mary's will return home for games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. The Gaels will open the week on Friday, October 20 against the Waves with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. The final game of the week will have the Gaels playing LMU at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both games will be played at Saint Mary's Stadium.