Boise State Hosts WAC Rivals Utah State and Nevada This Weekend...
► What’s Happening - Boise State University hosts two key Western Athletic Conference soccer matches this weekend when they play the defending champions Utah State University Aggies at 4:00 p.m. (Mountain) this Friday followed by an encounter with the University of Nevada Wolf Pack at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Both contests will be played at Boise State’s Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex on South Oakland Avenue. The Broncos enter the week with a 6-4-4 overall mark and a 1-1-0 league record following a split on the road last weekend to open conference play. Utah State is the defending WAC champions and the preseason favorite to repeat, however, the Aggies have struggled lately entering the week with a 5-7-1 overall record and a 0-1-0 league mark. Meanwhile, Nevada enters the week at 4-8-0 on the year and 1-0-0 in WAC action.  

► What’s Happened Recently - Boise State is coming off a road split this past weekend to open league play. The Broncos opened conference by losing a 1-0 heartbreaker at New Mexico State last Friday before rebounding for a hard fought 1-0 victory at Louisiana Tech in a torrential down pour that caused a one hour delay and forced a change in venues. At NMSU the Aggies scored the match-winner in the second minute of overtime to get past the Broncos for the sudden-victory win in Las Cruces, N.M.  On Sunday in Ruston, La., a pair of freshmen Erica Parks and Maureen Fitzgerald teamed up to give the Broncos the game-winning strike in the 25th minute to hand Boise State a crucial road split in league play.  Prior to that the Broncos concluded non-league action with a 5-3-4 overall mark.

► Ruiz Earns Two Weekly Honors, WAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week and  Boise State Athlete of the Week - Sophomore goalkeeper Liz Ruiz swept a pair of weekly honors this week for her performance in Boise State’s 1-0 road victory over Louisiana Tech in a torrential down pour of rain in Ruston, La.   The Boise native (Capital High) has been named the Western Athletic Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week and Boise State’s Athlete of the Week for Sept. 28-Oct.4.  Ruiz battled through the elements and a slew of shots from the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters to earn this week’s honors. Ruiz recorded her second shutout of the season to lead the Broncos to their first WAC win of the year and a split over the weekend. Ruiz made seven saves with six coming in the second half to preserve the win for the Broncos on Sunday. She leads the team with 42 saves in eight games between the posts this season. The win improved the Broncos to 6-4-4 overall and 1-1 in the WAC while handing the Lady Techsters only their second loss of the season.

Looking at Boise State...

► 2009 Scoring Leaders - Junior Shannon Saxton leads the team in scoring with five goals, one assist for 11 points. Saxton is tied for fourth in the WAC for goals scored. Freshman Erica Parks follows with four goals and two assists for 10 points. Another freshman Maureen Fitzgerald is third in scoring with two goals and a team-high four assists for eight points. Fitzgerald is tied for third in the WAC for assists.

► 2009 Team Stats - To date, Boise State has recorded 18 goals and 14 assists. Eight different individuals have scored a goal and nine have recorded an assist. Boise State averages 1.3 goals per game and has a shots on goal percentage of 44.3 percent. Defensively, the Broncos have recorded five shutouts on the year and have allowed 11 goals this season for a league second-best 0.73 goals against average.   

► Saxton Approaches New Records - In two and a half years Saxton has written her name into the Bronco record book ranking in the top-10 of 46 categories. Career records she holds include most assists with 14, most multi-assist games with three, and tied for first in most multi-goal games with five.  So far in 2009 she has increased her career assist record from 13 to 14 and has closed in on the career records for goals which is 30, Saxton has 28, and points which stands at 72, Saxton is ranked second with 70.

► The Head Coach - The 2009 season marks Steve Lucas’ 10th as head coach of the Broncos where he currently owns  a 79-83-22 record to date. This is Lucas’ 12th season overall with the program after serving two years as the assistant before his promotion in 2000. Against this week’s competition, Lucas is 2-6 versus Utah State and 7-1-1 against Nevada.

Looking at the Utah State Match...

► About Utah State - The Aggies are the defending regular season WAC champions going undefeated last year at 7-0-0 and 13-8-1 overall. They were the preseason favorites to repeat as champions this season in the coaches’ poll.  Utah State returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s championship squad. The Aggies are in their eighth year under the direction of head coach Heather Cairns who is currently 61-61-11 at the school. She is 5-2-0 versus Boise State.

► In 2009 - The Aggies enter this week with a 5-7-1 overall record and are 0-1-0 in WAC play. Utah State is coming off a pair of defeats last week losing 1-0 at home to Idaho State  on Thursday followed by a 1-0 loss at Nevada on Sunday to open conference play.  After opening the season with three-consecutive victories they have lost six of their last eight contests including three straight to #17 BYU (3-0) followed by the ISU and Nevada games. They have four preseason All-WAC honorees on their team including leading scorer Shantel Flanary with five goals and two assists and Lauren Hansen with four goals and two assists. The other two preseason honorees include Chandra Salmon and Lindsay Smart. Utah State has recorded 17 goals on the year while allowing 19 for a 1.4 goals against average.  

► The Series - Friday’s encounter between the Boise State Broncos and the Utah State Aggies will be the 11th meeting all-time between the two schools with the Aggies holing an 8-2-0 lead in the series. Last year Utah State won a pair of matches over the Broncos defeating Boise State 2-0 in Boise during the regular season and 1-0 in Reno, Nev., during the WAC Tournament semifinals.

Looking at the Nevada Match...

► About Nevada - Nevada was picked to place fifth out of nine teams in this year’s conference race by the league’s head coaches. They return seven starters and 14 letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 3-14-3 overall and 2-5-1 to place sixth in the conference standings. Jaime Frias is in his second season in charge of the Wolf Pack where he is 7-22-3 overall and 0-1 versus Boise State.

► In 2009 - The Wolf Pack enters the week at 4-8-0 overall and 1-0-0 in conference. They are coming off a 1-0 victory over Utah State in Reno last Sunday in their lone match of the week. Prior to that they recorded a 4-2 loss at Saint Mary’s on Sept. 24 followed by a 2-1 defeat at UC Davis on Sept. 27 to close their non-conference slate at 3-8.   Jill Erickson leads the Pack with four goals and one assist followed by Natalie Ratnavira and Annabelle Allen with two goals apiece. Nevada has scored 12 goals this season while allowing 26 for a goals against average of 2.2.

► The Series - Sunday’s encounter with Nevada will be the ninth meeting all-time between the two schools with the Broncos holding a 7-1-1 advantage in the series. They met last year in Reno, Nev., where the Broncos won 2-0 on goals by Janelle Jin in the third minute and Chelsea Robinson in the 63rd. Boise State has won two straight preceded by a scoreless draw in 2006 and Nevada’s lone victory in the series a 3-0 victory at the 2005 WAC Tournament. 

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