2012 WAC Soccer Season Kicks Off Friday
The Pioneers return nine of their 11 starters from a team that went 16-5-0 in 2011, finishing third in a tightly packed Sun Belt Conference ... Denver returns the previous two Sun Belt Conference Players of the Year in Kaitlin Bast (2010) and Kristen Hamilton (2011) ... Hamilton finished 14th in the nation with 16 goals in 2011 and was 13th in the nation in
points with 41 ... Hamilton also earned NCAA All-South Region First Team honors a year ago, and earned spots on three national teams of the week throughout the season ... Bast tallied three goals and three assists in just six matches in 2011 ... in 2010, Bast finished with 14 goals and four assists ... her goal tally was good enough for 13th in the nation in 2010 ... on Oct. 25, 2010, Bast was named the Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week.
Senior forward Chelsea Small enters her final season as Idaho’s all-time leader in goals (31), points (74), game-winners (12) and shots (313) ... she also holds single-season records in goals (13), shots (121), points (30) and game-winners (8) from the 2010 season ... returning from a broken leg suffered in the third game of the 2011 campaign, senior goalkeeper Liz Boyden is poised to take hold of every career goalkeeping record at Idaho ... she already holds Idaho career records for starts (55) and goals-against average (1.26) and is tied for the career shutouts record (11) ... she needs four more games played, 30 more saves, one shutout and 59 more minutes played to take sole possession of those career records.
Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters
Louisiana Tech set a school record with fewest goals allowed in a season with 17 in 2011 ... goalkeeper Caitlin Updyke broke her own school record for most shutouts in a season with eight ... Caitlin Updyke was named WAC Player of the Week twice last year ... the honor marked only the second time that a Louisiana Tech player has garnered this award multiple times in a season ... Scotti Culton led the team in assists with six ... she is now the all-time career assists leader with 21 ... seniors Olivia Lukasewich and Scotti Culton and junior Caitlin Updyke were all named to the LSWA All-Louisiana team ... Lukasewich earned first-team honors while Culton and Updyke were named honorable mention ... after recording two assists on the season, senior Rachel King surpassed Kiva Gresham (2007-10) in most career points with 76.
New Mexico State Aggies
New Mexico State posted the most wins in school history with 10 last season ... the Aggies qualifi ed for the WAC Tournament for the second time in program history last season ... New Mexico State earned its first postseason win with a 2-1 upset of No. 3 seed Hawai’i in the first round of the 2011 WAC Tournament ... Yolanda McMillion and Daisy Hernandez earned WAC All-Tournament Team honors and became the first players to garner the award in 2011 ... New Mexico State made the WAC Tournament second round for the first time in school history ... the Aggies broke many school records last year, including shots (match and season), shutouts (7), goals against average (1.14) and longest win streak (6).
San Jose State Spartans
San Jose State qualified for its seventh consecutive Western Athletic Conference tournament and finished among the top three teams for the third straight year in 2011 ... San Jose State returns five starters and 13 letter winners from last year’s squad that finished the 2011 season third in the conference ... among the returning starters are senior Kelsey Lord (six goals and five assists for 17 points) and sophomore Catherine Ruder (three goals for six points) ... seniors Krista Cullen and Helen Phan and juniors Sarah Fraser, Cheryl Kute and Megan Molina were named to the 2011 All-WAC Academic Team ... head coach Jeff Leightman returns for his fifth season at San Jose State ... he led the Spartans to the program’s only two regular season WAC championships, doing so in 2009 and 2010.
Seattle U Redhawks
This will be Seattle U’s first season in the WAC and first season as a full Division I member after going through the NCAA Division I reclassification process for the past four years ... the team beat the highest ranked opponent in school history, topping then-No. 8 Portland on Sept. 2, 2011 ... academically, the team earned the 2010-11 NSCAA Team Academic Award out of 572 women’s soccer programs across all divisions throughout the country ... last season, two players (including returner Julia Besagno) were named NSCAA Third Team All-Pacific Region ... the Redhawks return seven starters and 14 letterwinners, who combine for a total 481 career games played, ranking fifth across all members of the WAC ... the team finished 2011 with a 12-6-1 record, marking head coach Julie Woodward’s 14th winning season in 15 years at Seattle University.
UTSA returns 14 players from last year’s squad that finished 9-9-2 overall and 5-3-1 in Southland Conference action ... this season, the team welcomes seven freshmen to the fold ... the Roadrunners have just two seniors on the roster, which is tied with Louisiana Tech for the fewest in the WAC ... it marks the fewest since the 2008 squad also had two seniors after
having none in 2006 and 2007 ... UTSA returns 86-percent of its offense from a season ago after losing just three players that recorded goals ... Maria Jose Rojas led the squad with 22 points on a team-high nine goals and four assists, while Liv Nyhegn tallied 20 points (eight goals/four assists).
Texas State Bobcats
Texas State is currently one of 20 schools in the country to win at least 12 games each of the last four years ... Texas State and Denver are the only two WAC schools to win at least 12 games the last four years ... Texas State’s 53 wins over the last four years ranks 30th in the country ... the Bobcats have been to five NCAA Tournaments since 1999, the program’s first year ... of Texas State’s 19 regular season games this season, 15 are in the state of Texas ... the Bobcats return their top two leading scorers from last season ... Felicia Leask (8 Goals, 6 Assists) and Serena Hines (8 Goals, 0 Assists) ... Texas State returns all four starting defenders from a year ago ... the group allowed multiple goals in just four games last season and posted nine shutouts ... Texas State outscored its opponents 41-19 last year.
Utah State Aggies
Utah State captured its first WAC Tournament title with a 1-0 win against Fresno State last season in Fresno ... the Aggies also earned their first trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 loss to Auburn in the first round ... Utah State had seven players earn all-WAC honors last season, including five on the first team ... Norris was also named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year, while Shantel Flanary garnered her second WAC Offensive Player of the Year award ... Kendra Pemberton led the team with nine assists last season ... she now has 14 career assists and is third in career assists ... she was one assist behind Lindsey Smart’s (2006-09) who had 15 ... Flanary is the all-time leader in assists with 17.
WAC Soccer Notes
The WAC will continue its regular-season play as a single round-robin format for a total of seven 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. 1-2 and 4, in Logan, Utah.
To determine championship seeding in the event of ties between two teams or ties among multiple teams, the following criteria are applied:
In the event of a two-way tie:
1. Head-to-head competition
2. Compare the teams’ records to that of the next highest finishing team (if tie for first). If tie is for position other than first, comparison will begin at the top of the standings.
3. In the unlikely event that teams are still tied, the conference conducts a draw.
For a three or more-way tie:
1. Head-to-head competition among the teams involved in the tie. The team(s) with the best record against the other teams receives the higher seed or advances to the next tie-breaker.
2. Same procedures as above.
WAC SOCCER WELCOMES DENVER, SEATTLE U, UTSA AND TEXAS STATE TO THE LEAGUE
New to the WAC’s soccer league this season will be Denver, Seattle U, UTSA and Texas State. Denver returns 19 letterwinners from a team that placed third in the Sun Belt last season. Denver also returns nine of its 11 starters from last season. Seattle U enters its fi rst season as a full NCAA Division I member. SU returns seven starters from a team that beat the highest ranked opponent in school history last season, upsetting then-No. 8 Portland. UTSA welcomes back eight starters this season. UTSA placed fourth in the Southland Conference with a 5-3-1 mark. Texas State returns 17 letterwinners and seven starters after going 8-1-0 in Southland conference play last season to place second. Texas State won the Southland conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.
RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS
The WAC returns 21 all-conference players for the 2012 season. Denver and Texas State lead the way with five returning all-conference members. Returning to Denver this year are 2011 first team all-Sun Belt honorees Nicholette DiGiacomo, Kristen Hamilton and Sam Harder, along with second team members Jessy Battelli and Kalie Vaughn. Texas State welcomes back 2011 first team all-Southland conference honoree Felicia Leask and second team honorees Emma Staley, Michelle Bucy and Taylor Person. Taylor Kelley returns to Texas State after receiving honorable mention all-Southland conference honors. UTSA returns four all-Southland honorees, including first team selection Anka Grotle and second team honorees Maria Jose Rojas and Liv Nyhegn. UTSA’s Danielle Snyder returns after receiving all-Southland honorable mention honors. Utah State returns three all-conference honorees, including all-WAC first team selections Kendra Pemberton and Natalie Norris, along with second team selection Taryn Rose. Idaho returns first team all-WAC honorees Chelsea Small and Jill Flockhart. New Mexico State welcomes back all-WAC second team selection Yolanda McMillion, while San Jose State returns second team all-WAC honoree Kelsey Lord.
NCAA TOURNAMENT OPPONENTS
Excluding WAC members Utah State and Texas State, who each went to the NCAA Tournament last season, WAC teams will play in 16 matches against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last year. Five of the matches will be played at WAC home sites. Denver and UTSA will each play four games against non-conference opponents that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.
Aug. 19 Dayton at UTSA
Aug. 24 Texas State vs. Army
Aug. 25 UTSA at Texas A&M
Aug. 28 Prairie View A&M at Texas State
Sept. 2 Idaho vs. Montana
Sept. 7 Idaho at Miami
Sept. 9 UC Irvine at Denver
Sept. 9 Baylor at UTSA
Sept. 14 Denver at Kansas
Sept. 14 New Mexico State at Montana
Sept. 16 Denver at Texas
Sept. 16 Washington State at Idaho
Sept. 16 New Mexico State at New Mexico
Sept. 16 Seattle U at Oregon State
Sept. 21 Seattle U at Portland
Sept. 21 UTSA at Miami
2012 NCAA COLLEGE CUP
The 32nd Annual Women’s College Cup will be held Nov.30 and Dec. 2, 2012, in San Diego, Calif.., at the University of San Diego Torero Stadium. Last season, the WAC had one team compete in postseason play with Utah State falling in the fi rst round to Auburn. The following is a list of sites and dates for the 2012 NCAA Tournament:
First/Second Rounds (16)
November 9, 10 or 11, 2012
On campus sites TBD
Third Rounds (8)
November 16 & 18, 2012
On campus sites TBD
November 23, 24, or 25, 2012
On campus sites TBD
Women’s College Cup
November 30 and December 2, 2012
Host: University of San Diego
San Diego, Calif.
2012 PERSONNEL CAPSULE
Four of the nine teams in the WAC return at least eight starters for the 2012 season. Denver, Idaho and New Mexico State lead the way returning nine starters each from last year’s squad.