► What’s Happening - Boise State University‘s soccer team (7-8-2, WAC 4-1-1) will close the regular season this week when they host Fresno State on Friday before traveling to play at San Jose State on Sunday. Friday is “Senior Day’” for the Broncos who will host the Fresno State Bulldogs (6-8-3, WAC 2-3-1) at 4:00 p.m. (Mountain) at the Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex. Then Boise State will travel to San Jose, Calif., for a potential WAC regular-season championship showdown with the Spartans of San Jose State (10-6-1, WAC 4-1-1) at 3:30 p.m. (Mountain) at Spartan Stadium. Boise State and San Jose State have already clinched WAC Tournament berths while Fresno State is battling for the sixth and final invite to the event.
► Ruiz Named WAC Defensive Player of the Week - Boise State’s Liz Ruiz has been named Verizon Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 18-24. It is the second such honor for the junior in her career and the first for any Bronco this year.
Ruiz, a junior goalkeeper from Boise, Idaho (Capital HS), anchored the Boise State defense in the Broncos’ 1-0 overtime victory over in-state rival Idaho on Sunday. Ruiz stopped all six Vandal shots on goal, including a shot from distance. Idaho sent a high-arching shot over the defense that dipped towards the goal. Ruiz was forced to stretch high to touch the ball off the crossbar and over the net to preserve the scoreless draw with 18 minutes left in regulation. The save gave Boise State the opportunity to win their lone match of the week in overtime.
► Senior Day - This Friday is Senior Day for the Broncos’ four seniors Shannon Saxton, Malia Hendrix, Cheyenne Jones and Jayne Murray. Boise State University will hold a short pregame ceremony to honor the four players who could potentially finish their careers as the winningest class in program history at 40-30-13 (.560), last year’s class went 40-29-15 (.565).
► Broncos to Defend Title - The Boise State soccer team has officially clinched a berth into next week’s Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Ruston, La., and will have the chance to defend its 2009 title. Only the top six teams in the final regular-season standings are invited to the championship, five berths have been clinched by Boise State, San Jose State, Idaho, Utah State and Louisiana Tech.
This will be Boise State’s seventh trip in 10 years of membership to the WAC’s title event, it is also the fifth-consecutive trip. Last year the Broncos rolled off three-consecutive victories to close the regular season to earn a bid to the tournament that was held at their own Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex. Boise State then ran off three-straight victories in the tournament with wins over Fresno State (2-1), Utah State (1-0) and Nevada (1-0) to claim the title. A stadium record crowd of 1,223 watch the Broncos defeat the Wolf Pack for the championship. Boise State is 4-5-1 all-time at the WAC Tournament.
► What’s Happened Recently - Ebbie Harris’ goal 43 seconds into overtime lifted Boise State to an exciting 1-0 overtime victory over instate-rival University of Idaho. It was a rain soaked afternoon in Boise but that did not stop the action as these two rivals battled hard for 90 minutes of regulation before Harris’ decisive strike in the 91st minute gave the win to the Broncos. Shortly after the start of overtime the Broncos came away with the ball in their defensive third. They drove the right flank where Katy Oehring raced across the midfield strip and down the sideline. The freshman played a low ball to an open Harris in the center. Harris drove towards the Vandal 18-yard box before pulling up and firing a rocket from 19 yards out that beat Idaho’s keeper sailing inside the far left post for the game-winning strike 43 seconds into overtime.
Match 18 Preview Vs. Fresno State
Friday’s match with Fresno State is the home finale for the Broncos. It features the Bulldogs who are trying to secure the final berth into next week’s conference tournament as they currently sit in sixth place. Last week they hosted a pair of games upsetting Utah State 1-0 then tied with Nevada 1-1.
● Live Internet Coverage: There will be live stats, audio and video for this game at www.BroncoSports.com, go to the multimedia link. The live stats are free while there is a charge for the audio and video.
● The Series: Friday’s encounter with Fresno State will be the 12th meeting all-time with the Bulldogs holding a 6-4-1 advantage in the series. Boise State has won the last two meetings.
● Last Year: The Broncos swept a pair of matches with the Bulldogs winning the regular season game 2-1 in Fresno, before defeating them 2-1 in the first round of the WAC Tournament in Boise. In the first meeting Kaylea Perenon and Ashley Walsh scored to give Boise State a 2-0 halftime lead before Claudia Cardenas scored for Fresno State to cut the victory margin to one. In the rematch all the scoring came in the second period. Erica Parks scored first for Boise State followed by Fresno State’s Janna Sadowitz tying the match in the 65th minute. Brandy Hickcox scored the game-winner for Boise State in the 89th minute.
● About the Bulldogs: Fresno State enters the game at 6-8-3 overall and 2-3-1 in WAC play. The Bulldogs were picked by the WAC coaches to finish fifth in this year’s conference race. Offensively, they have scored 16 goals this season. Nicole Duff leads Fresno State in scoring with five goals and three assists.
● Fresno State’s Head Coach: Brian Zwaschka is in his second season as head coach at Fresno State where he has gone 12-20-4 to date. He is 0-2 versus Boise State.
Match 19 Preview Vs. San Jose State
The season finale in San Jose, Calif., could be for all the marbles if things fall right on Thursday and Friday. If San Jose State wins at Idaho on Thursday and Boise State defeats Fresno State on Friday the two would be tied for first heading into the match at SJSU on Sunday. The victor would be the WAC regular-season champion. The Spartans are coming off to solid wins last week defeating Nevada 4-0 and Utah State 4-1 in San Jose.
● Live Internet Coverage: There will be live stats for this game at www.SJSUSpartans.com.
● The Series: Sunday’s match up with San Jose State will be the 12th meeting all-time with the Broncos holding a 7-2-2 advantage in the series. Boise State has won the last four meetings.
● Last Year: The Broncos handed the Spartans their lone loss of the conference season snapping SJSU’s 15-match unbeaten streak. Erica Parks scored the lone goal of the contest in the 43rd minute on a fastbreak to give Boise State the 1-0 win in Boise.
● About the Spartans: San Jose State enters the game at 10-6-1 on the year and 4-1-1 in WAC play, tied with Boise State for first. They are the defending WAC regular-season champions. The Spartans were picked by the WAC coaches to finish third in this year’s conference race. Offensively, they have scored 35 goals this season. The Spartans are led by Kayla Santacruz and Kelsey Lord with nine goals each.
● San Jose State’s Head Coach: Jeff Leightman is in his third season as head coach at San Jose State where he has gone 26-23-8 to date. He is 0-3 versus Boise State.
Quick Bronco Notes
► Leading Boise State - To date, 12 Broncos have recorded goals on the season led by senior Shannon Saxton with five, Erica Parks and Katy Oehring are second with three goals, followed by Cheyenne Jones, Ebbie Harris, Ashley Walsh and Tylyn Hughes with two goals each. Ten players have dished out at least one assist led by Saxton with four.
► Getting Defensive - Boise State is the top defensive team in the WAC on the year ranking first or tied for first in goals allowed with 16, goals against average 0.90, saves with 6.06 per game, and save percentage at 86.6 pct.
► Ruiz Leads WAC - Boise State’s keeper junior Liz Ruiz leads the WAC on the year in goals against average at 0.91, most saves with 101 and save percentage at 86.3.
► Broncos as a Team - Boise State struggled in the early going do to injuries and youthfulness. They have been more consistent in conference play and are in position to finish the campaign strong.
● Ten of the matches have been decided by one goal, Boise State is 3-7 in those contests. There has also been two draws.
● In five games decided by two or more games Boise State is 4-1. The Broncos have scored three or more goals three times this year: W 3-1 at Colorado College, W 4-0 at Hawai’i and W 6-0 vs. New Mexico State.
● Offensively to date, the team has scored 24 goals and has been shutout seven times. Defensively, they have allowed 16 goals, two on penalty kicks, and recorded five shutouts.
● In six WAC matches to date, Boise State has gone 4-1-1 out scoring the opponents 13-2. Five of the six league games have been shutouts, three by the Broncos, one by the opponents, and one 0-0 draw.
● Overtime was not kind to Boise State earlier in the year. However, the Broncos have changed their fortunes lately in extra time. After going 0-2-1 in its first three overtime games Boise State has since gone 2-0-1 for an overall mark of 2-2-2. The Broncos last three games have all gone to overtime at Utah State (0-0), at Nevada (2-1) and versus Idaho (1-0).