SCHEDULE: Week #1
August 21 (Friday)
Nevada at California, 2:00 p.m. PT
Idaho at Washington State, 3:00 p.m. PT
Northern Arizona at Utah State, 4:00 p.m. MT
Lamar at Louisiana Tech, 5:00 p.m. CT
Fresno State at San Diego State, 4:00 p.m. PT
Boise State at Seattle, 5:00 p.m. PT
New Mexico State at UTEP, 7:00 p.m. MT
Santa Clara at San Jose State, 7:00 p.m. PT
#Brigham Young at Hawai‘i, 7:00 p.m. HT
August 23 (Sunday)
Idaho at Seattle, 12:00 p.m. PT
Idaho State at New Mexico State, 12:30 p.m. PT
Boise State at Portland State, 1:00 p.m. PT
Fresno State at Long Beach State, 3:00 p.m. PT
#Stanford at Hawai‘i, 5:00 p.m. HT
# Ohana Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi (Honolulu, Hawaii)
All times local/subject to change
The WAC will continue its regular-season play as a single round-robin format for a total of eight conference matches. The points system is as follows: each team will receive three points for a win and one point for a tie. The six teams with the most points at the end of the regular season will advance to the WAC Tournament which is being held Nov. 5-6 and 8 in Boise, Idaho.
TOP STAT LEADERS FROM ‘08 RETURN FOR ‘09 SEASON
Following are the returning stat leaders in the WAC for 2008. 12 of the 15 WAC-only statistical leaders return this season. San Jose State’s Emmy Belding returns after leading the WAC in league-only games with nine points last season. Belding was also the leader in WAC games in points per game (1.29), goals (4) and goals per game (0.57). Utah State’s Lindsey Smart led the conference with four assists in WAC games, and also led the league with 0.57 assists per game. Defensively, Fresno State’s Kaitlyn Revel returns for her junior season after leading the WAC in goals against average (0.13), save percentage (.974), shutouts (6) and shutouts per game (0.86). Idaho keeper Liz Boyden also returns after leading the conference in both saves (49) and saves per game (7.00).
RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS
The WAC returns 12 all-conference players for the 2008 season. Utah State leads the way with four returning all-WAC members, including last year’s WAC Freshman of the Year, Shantel Flanary. First teamers Chandra Salmon and Lindsey Smart, along with second teamers Lauren Hansen and Flanary return for the Aggies. Fresno State welcomes back one first teamer and two from the all-WAC second team. The Bulldogs return Kaitlyn Revel from last year’s first team, along with Molly Nizzoli and Kendall VanDine from the second team. Hawai‘i returns all-WAC first team midfielder Mari Punzal for her junior season. The Rainbow Wahine also return second team selection and 2007 WAC Offensive Player of the Year Ambree Ako. Boise State returns a pair of all-WAC second team selections from last season in Shannon Saxton and Brandy Hickcox. Nevada welcomes back 2008 all-WAC first team selection Cristen Drummond for her junior campaign.
NCAA STAT LEADERS RETURNING
One player who ranked in the top-50 individually in the nation in a statistical category returns to the pitch this season. Idaho’s Liz Boyden returns for her sophomore season after leading the WAC and ranking 43rd nationally in saves per game at 5.63.
Excluding last year’s WAC representitive Fresno State, WAC teams will play in 14 matches against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last year. Five of the matches will played at WAC home sites.Utah State plays four games against non-conference opponents that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.
Hawai‘i vs. Brigham Young, Aug. 21
Idaho at Washington State, Aug. 21
Nevada at California, Aug. 21
Utah State vs. Northern Arizona, Aug. 21
Hawai‘i vs. Stanford, Aug. 23
Fresno State at Long Beach State, Aug. 23
Nevada vs. UC Santa Barbara, Aug. 28
San Jose State vs. Fairfield, Sept. 4
Utah State vs. Oklahoma State, Sept. 4
New Mexico State at Northern Arizona, Sept. 12
Louisiana Tech at Mississippi Valley State, Sept. 18
Nevada at Minnesota, Sept. 18
Utah State at Washington, Sept. 18
Utah State at Brigham Young, Sept. 26
2009 PerSONNEL CAPSULE
Six of the nine teams in the WAC return at least seven starters for the 2008 season. San Jose State leads the way with 10, while Louisiana Tech returns eight.
Boise State Broncos (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
The Broncos enter their 10th season under the direction of head coach Steve Lucas ... Boise State returns the bulk of last year’s squad, 18-of-24 players, that set the school record for wins going 11-8-2 overall and went 3-3-1 in league to place fourth ... among the 18 returners are seven starters including leading scorer Shannon Saxton. The junior forward recorded six goals and eight assists for 20 points as a sophomore last fall ... she ranks first in career assists with 13 and second all-time in career points (59) and goals (23) ... the Broncos return four of their top-five scorers from last season.
Fresno State Bulldogs (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
In 2008, Fresno State made its third NCAA Tournament appearance in program history ... the Bulldogs had six players earn All-WAC honors and 10 earn Academic All-WAC honors in 2008 ... Fresno State played in its fourth consecutive WAC Tournament Championship game last season ... goalkeeper Kaitlyn Revel and the Bulldog defense recorded 11 shutouts last year ... Revel was named the 2009 Preseason WAC Defensive Player of the Year ... the ‘Dogs have won two WAC Tournament Championships and a WAC League Championship in the last three seasons ... Molly Nizzoli returns as the top offensive player with four goals and three assists as a freshman.
Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Hawai‘i returns senior Ambree Ako, who was the 2007 WAC Offensive Player of the Year and was named second team all-WAC in 2008 ... three UH players were selected to the preseason all-conference team, including senior Ambree Ako and juniors Mari Punzal and Chelsea Deptula ... UH has a strong core of players returning to go along with all-WAC players Ako, Deptula and Punzal. Starting midfielder Kristyn Shapka and starting defender Brittani Lum played in all but one game each last season ... the Rainbow Wahine return 11 letterwinners and five starters from last years team that finished in third place in the WAC.
Idaho Vandals (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
The 2008 Vandal women couldn’t catch a break during the year ... Idaho had 10 losses by one goal in 2008, with three coming in overtime ... Idaho has reduced its opponents’ scoring average in each of the last three seasons. In 2006, the Vandals allowed 3.09 goals per game, then allowed 2.19 in 2007 and 1.62 in 2008 ... the 2009 freshman class at Idaho is the largest since 1999–the program’s second year of existence. One-half of Idaho’s 2009 roster will be true freshman, as 12 of the team’s 24 players will be fresh out of high school.
Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
The Lady Techsters historic 2008 campaign, where they went 10-5-5, was highlighted by the NCAA naming the team the most improved squad in the nation ... the season marked Tech’s first winning season in its five-year history ... along with Tech establishing a school record in wins with 10, they also set single-season records in shutouts (10), goals (49), fewest goals allowed (19), assists (40) and points (138) ... the team notched single-game records in assists (9) and points (25), while they tied the record for most goals (8) ... fourteen letterwinners return from the 2008 team, including senior Hikari Kurokawa and graduate student Kat McCullough along with fellow WAC Player of the Week honorees Cat Buchanan and Scotti Culton.
Nevada Wolf Pack (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Nevada returns two of its top three goals scorers from a year ago – forward Cristen Dummond (four goals) and defender Erin Smith (three goals) ... Drummond is also the Pack lone returning All-WAC honoree from 2008. She was named to the All-WAC First team as well as to the WAC All-Tournament team ... Nevada returns 14 letterwinners from its 2008 team that made the program fourth consecutive WAC Tournament appearance ... Nevada’s 2009 roster will feature 25 players including 11 newcomers. The 25-player roster is the largest roster in program history ... Soccer’s 12-member incoming class was ranked first in the WAC by topdrawersoccer.com.
New Mexico State Aggies (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
New Mexico State begins the women’s soccer program in the fall 2009 ... the Aggies inaugural class has 30 student-athletes and the roster consists of 20 freshmen, four sophomore, three juniors and three seniors this season ... the state of New Mexico leads the Aggie roster with nine student-athletes while California and Texas trail with six and five, respectively ... NM State is playing its inaugural season in Aggie Memorial Stadium ... the Aggies are hosting seven home matches this year ... soccer is now the 17th sponsored intercollegiate sport at NM State.
San Jose State Spartans (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
In Jeff Leightman’s second year in charge, San Jose State will be in search of its first winning season since going 12-7-1 in 1999 ... SJSU returns WAC Offensive Player of the Year candidate Emmy Belding as a senior striker in 2009 ... Belding led the team in virtually all statistical categories a year ago, totaling 17 points from eight goals and one assist. She was tied for second in the WAC in goals and tied for sixth in points ... SJSU had seven true freshmen and one redshirt freshman who started at least 11 matches a season ago ... SJSU has qualified for the WAC Tournament in each of the past four seasons, reaching the championship game in 2005 and the semifinals in 2006.
Utah State State Aggies (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Utah State returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last season’s squad that posted a 13-8-1 ... the 13 wins set the USU record for most-ever wins in the program’s 13-year history ... the Aggies became the first WAC school since SMU in 2001 to go undefeated in league play, ending conference play with a 7-0-0 ... USU captured its first WAC regular season title and No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament, falling in the championship game to Fresno State in double overtime ... the team received the NSCAA/Adidas College Women’s Team Academic Award for the sixth-straight year.