Boise State University to Host WAC Soccer Tournament, Broncos Will Play Fresno State in First Round ...
► What’s Happening - Boise State University is hosting the Western Athletic Conference Tournament this week which begins Thursday afternoon with the first round matches at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. (Mountain). The competition opens with match one between the University of Nevada (8-11-0, WAC 5-3-0), the No. 4 seed, versus New Mexico State University (9-8-1, WAC 4-3-1), the No. 5 seed. That will be followed by Boise State (10-6-4, WAC 5-3-0), the No. 3 seed, versus Fresno State (6-12-0, WAC 4-4-0), the six seed.

The semifinals will follow on Friday with the No. 1 seed San Jose State University (11-5-3, WAC 5-1-2) taking on the Nevada-New Mexico State winner at 12:30 p.m., followed by Utah State University (10-8-2, WAC 5-2-1), the No. 2 seed, taking on the Boise State-Fresno State winner at 3:00 p.m.

The WAC Championship match will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday with an automatic  berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line. This is the third time in the last five years that Boise State has hosted this WAC Championship Tournament.

Looking at Boise State...

► Boise State WAC Tournament History - 2009 marks the fifth-consecutive year that Boise State has qualified for the WAC Tournament which features the top-six teams out of nine in the regular season standings. The Broncos have advanced to this championship event seven times in the school’s nine years of WAC membership. Last year, Boise State defeated San Jose State 2-1 in the first round at Reno, Nev., then lost to Utah State 1-0 on a 78th minute goal in the semifinals. The win over SJSU was the program’s first ever victory at the tournament where they are 1-5-1 all-time. 

► What’s Happened Recently - Boise State won three in a row to close the regular season with a 10-6-4 overall mark and a 5-3-0 league record tying Nevada for third place. Two weeks ago Boise State defeated Fresno State 2-1 on Oct. 23 in Fresno. Last weekend the Broncos swept a pair of home matches against Hawai’i 2-1, on Oct. 30, and San Jose State 1-0, on Nov. 1. Versus Hawai’i, Boise State rallied from one down at the half with two second-half goals by Brandy Hickcox and Kaylea Perenon to defeat the Rainbow Wahine and clinch a WAC Tournament berth. On Sunday against San Jose State, the Broncos scored the match-winner just before half on a Erica Parks strike in the 43rd minute. The win snapped SJSU’s impressive 15-match unbeaten streak and handed the Spartans their lone loss in conference action.  

► Bronco Streaks -
Boise State finished the regular season on a three-game win streak which guaranteed the following: the Broncos fifth consecutive WAC Tournament berth, their third consecutive winning season, their sixth straight season at .500 or above (five winning seasons, one at .500), and the program’s first ever back-to-back seasons with double-figure wins.

► 2009 Scoring Leaders - Junior Shannon Saxton and freshman Erica Parks lead the team in scoring with six goals and two assists apiece. Saxton and Parks are in a five-way tie for 10th in the WAC for goals scored on the year. Another freshman, Maureen Fitzgerald is third in scoring with two goals and a team-high five assists for nine points. Fitzgerald is in a three-way tie for fifth in the WAC for assists.

► 2009 Team Stats -
To date, Boise State has recorded 26 goals and 17 assists. Ten different individuals have scored a goal and 12 have recorded an assist. Boise State averages 1.3 goals per game and has a shots on goal percentage of 43 percent. Defensively, the Broncos have recorded seven shutouts on the year and have allowed 17 goals this season for a league-best 0.81 goals against average.   

► Bronco Defense Closing in on Two School Records - If the 2009 campaign was over today the Boise State defense would set two new school season records for fewest goals allowed and lowest goals against average. Heading into the WAC Tournament, the Broncos have allowed 17 goals this season, the current record is 19 set in 2004. Boise State could also set the new mark for lowest goals against average in a season with its 0.81 GAA this year, the record is 0.96 set in 2004.

► Saxton Eyes Career Record for Goals - In nearly three years Shannon Saxton has written her name into the Bronco record book ranking in the top-10 of 46 categories. On Sunday, Oct. 18, she set another school record for career points when she scored the Broncos lone goal at Idaho giving her 73 points to pass Brittany Zoellner’s (1999-03) mark of 72. Saxton is now within one goal of tying Zoellner’s record for career goals at 30, she has 29 entering the WAC Tournament. Other career records the Beaverton, Ore., native holds include most assists with 15, most multi-assist games with three, and tied for first in most multi-goal games with five. 

► The Head Coach - The 2009 season marks Steve Lucas’ 10th as head coach of the Broncos where he currently owns  a 83-85-22 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 3-6-1 versus Fresno State and 2-6-0 against Utah State.

Looking at the Fresno State Match...

► About Fresno State - The Bulldogs were picked to place third in the 2009 league race by the conference’s coaches. They returned six starters and 16 letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 11-9-2 overall and 5-1-1 to place second in the league during 2008. Fresno State has two Preseason All-WAC honorees in defender Danielle Solich and WAC  Preseason Defensive Player of the Year goalkeeper Kaitlyn Revel. The Bulldogs are in their first year under the direction of head coach Brian Zwaschka who is 6-12 at the school, he is 0-1 versus Boise State.

► Fresno State in 2009 - The Bulldogs enter the tournament as the number six seed with a 6-12 overall record and 4-4 mark in WAC action, good for sixth place. They are coming off a 2-1 road loss at San Jose State last Friday in their lone match of the week. Claudia Cardenas leads the Bulldogs in scoring on the year with five goals, followed by three players with two goals apiece Callie Hancock, Laura Dodd and Janna Sadowitz. Fresno State has recorded a league low 13 goals on the year while allowing 24 for a 1.3 goals against average.  

► The First Bronco-Bulldog Meeting in 2009 - The two teams met during the regular season on Oct. 23 in Fresno, Calif. Boise State jumped out to a two goal halftime advantage one strikes by Kaylea Perenon in the 22nd minute and Ashley Walsh in the 45th. They then held on as Fresno State battle hard to get back into the match placing eight shots on goal in the final 45 minutes. Boise State’s defense held firm playing 89:50 of shutout ball before allowing the Bulldogs a score, by Claudia Cardenas, with 10 seconds remaining in the match. The win was the first in six years for Boise State over Fresno State and the first on the road over the Bulldogs since 2001.

► The Series - Thursday’s encounter between Boise State and Fresno State will be the 11th meeting all-time with the Bulldogs holding a 6-3-1 advantage in the series. It will also be the second time that the two programs have met in the WAC Tournament with Fresno State winning the first encounter 4-1 in Boise during the 2007 edition of this event. Last year, Fresno State won the regular season meeting defeating Boise State 1-0 in Fresno on a 67th minute score by Alex Jensen.


Looking at a Potential Utah State Match...

► About Utah State - The Aggies were picked to repeat as WAC champions in the 2009 league race by the conference’s coaches. They returned seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s title squad that went 13-8-1 overall and undefeated 7-0-0 in league play. Utah State has four Preseason All-WAC honorees on its roster including, forwards Shantel Flanary and Lauren Hansen, midfielder Chandra Salmon and defender Lindsay Smart. The Aggies are in their eighth year under the direction of head coach Heather Cairns who is 66-62-12 at the school, she is 6-2 versus Boise State.

► Utah State In 2009 -
The Aggies enter the tournament as the number two seed with a 10-8-2 overall record and 5-2-1 league mark, good for second place. They are coming off a home sweep to close the 2009 regular season with victories over Louisiana Tech (2-1) and New Mexico State (3-0). Shantel Flanary leads Utah State in scoring on the year with 10 goals (t-2nd in WAC) and three assists. She is followed by Lauren Hansen with six goals and three assists. Utah State has recorded 28 goals on the year while allowing 25 for a 1.2 goals against average.  

► The First Bronco-Aggie Meeting in 2009 - The two teams met during the regular season on Oct. 9 in Boise. Utah State won the match 1-0 with a 67th minute score when Natalie Norris headed a corner kick in from 12 yards out. The match was a defensive struggle with neither team having many opportunities to score as USU out shot Boise State three-to-two in shots on goal during the 90 minutes.

► The Series - If the two teams meet on Friday in the WAC semifinals it would be the 12th encounter between Boise State and Utah State all-time with the Aggies holding a commanding 9-2-0 advantage in the series. It would also be the second consecutive year that the two programs have met in the WAC Tournament semifinals with Utah State defeating Boise State 1-0 in Reno, Nev., last year.

» «