COUGARS GEAR UP FOR Wildcat WEEKEND
After a rollercoaster opening week of play, the BYU women's soccer team hopes to sweep a pair of Wildcats this weekend. The Cougars started the season with a record-setting win over then No. 3 Portland on Aug. 30, and, three days later, lost to then No. 18 Michigan.
Friday, BYU returns to South Field to play No. 18 Kentucky at 8 p.m. in their first-ever meeting. The Wildcats have a 2-0 record after posting wins over Indiana and Illinios last week.
Saturday, Northwestern University comes to Provo for the first time for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Cougars. BYU holds a 2-0 series record against the Wildcats, who come to South Field with a 1-0 record after defeating DePaul 2-0 on Aug. 30.
For those craving a little futbol after the BYU-Hawaii football game, BYU will provide a free piece of pizza to those entering South Field with their football ticket stub.
Idaho State comes to South Field Sept. 14 for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Cougars. BYU holds a 1-0 series edge, winning 3-0 at South Field on Sept. 19, 1998.
COUGARS CRACK THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Riding the success of its victory over then No. 3 Portland, BYU went from unranked to No. 23 in the SoccerTimes.com Top 25 College Coaches Poll. The Cougars received 63 points, only three less than the No. 21 team, Tennessee.
VIERNES GRABS MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Marlon Edge, Mountain West Conference
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior midfielder/forward Jeni Viernes has been named the Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer Player of the Week after leading the Cougars to their biggest win in school history, a 2-1 victory over No. 4 Portland.
Viernes, a product of Murray, Utah, scored two goals off of seven shots against the Pilots, including the game-winning goal in the 87th minute. Her first goal of the match came in the fifth minute on an unassisted strike. Portland tied the match at one in the 80th minute. Viernes then scored the game-clinching goal seven minutes later.
After two games, Viernes leads the team with 11 shots and two goals for the season. She, a first-team All-MWC selection in 2001, was second on the team in assists (7) and tied for second in points (21) for the Cougars last season. This is the second player of the week honor of her career.
After defeating both Indiana and Illinois in the span of three days, Kentucky leaped from unranked to No. 18 in the NSCAA/adidas National Rankings.
The Wildcats return 16 letterwinners while losing only six. Junior forward Elizabeth Ramsey leads the Wildcats this season with one goal and seven shots. Ramsey was an All-SEC selection in 2000 before redshirting in 2001.
Another one to watch is freshman forward Kathryn Grandinetti, who has notched one goal on five shots and also has one assist this season.
Friday's game with the Cougars is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
Northwestern opened its season with a 2-0 victory over DePaul at home in Evanston, Ill. Aug. 30. The Wildcats are a veteran defensive team, returning three defensive starters who only gave up 20 goals in 19 games.
Junior defender Molly Greene earned first team All-Big Ten selection last season, while sophomore Lindsey Veris was voted Northwestern's Rookie of the Year.
The Cougars are 2-0 all-time against Northwestern, having beaten them 1-0 in Evanston last year and 8-1 in 1999 at a neutral site.
A LOOK BACK: 2001 GAME RECAP VS. NORTHWESTERN
Evanston, IL. (Sept. 10, 2001) -- In only her second start of the season, freshman Krissa Campbell notched her first college goal just two minute into the game to lead BYU's women's soccer team to a 1-0 shutout over Northwestern.
The 1-0 victory gives the Cougars their third shutout of the year, as the BYU defense held Northwestern to just six shots on goal in a game that saw more defense then offense. BYU only tallied seven shots on goal, one of their lowest in school history.
Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Waldron had three saves and headlined a defense that only allowed one shot on goal for the Wildcats in the first half of action.
BYU WINS SEVENTH-STRAIGHT SEASON OPENER
With their 2-1 win over No. 3 Portland, the Cougars recorded their seventh-straight season opening victory. The streak began in 1996 when Montana fell 4-2. The next year, Fullerton gave way to the Cougars, 3-2. In 1998, U. Mass. became the next victim, losing 3-2. Arizona State lost 3-2 at home to the Cougars in 1999, while Weber State left South Field 7-1 losers in 2000. Last year, USC came to Provo for the Cougars' first game of the season and were shutout 2-0 by BYU.
FIRST 2002 ROAD TRIP ENDS IN 2-1 LOSS TO MICHIGAN
ANN ARBOR -- On its first road trip of the season, the BYU women's soccer team lost 2-1 to No. 18 Michigan on a hot, muggy Labor Day in Ann Arbor. The loss brings the Cougars' season record to 1-1, with BYU's win coming from a 2-1 upset of No. 3 Portland Aug. 30 in Provo.
Aleisha Cramer-Rose scored the Cougars' lone goal against Michigan on a direct kick past Michigan keeper Suzie Grech. The goal, coming in the 11th minute, gave BYU a 1-0 edge, a lead they would hold until the Wolverines tied the game in the 48th minute.
"We were fortunate to be ahead at the half," BYU Head Coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "They came out very strong, hard and fast, and they were very aggressive to the ball. We couldn't find any sort of passing rhythm."
In the second half, the Cougars were able to penetrate the Wolverine defense and, on several occasions, took solid shots at the goal.
"In the second half we finally settled down and had some decent looks, but just couldn't put them in," Rockwood said. "We're still a very young team with a very bright future, so we'll just have to take it one game at a time."
Michigan's Stephanie Chavez scored in the 48th minute to tie the game 1-1 on a set piece after BYU forward Lydia Ojuka picked up a yellow card. The Wolverines made the game-winning goal in the 61st minute when Erika Kleinholz fed an assist to Abby Crumptom
For the game, the Cougars took 17 shots on goal while the Wolverines fired off 18 shots and Cougar goal keeper Amanda Gott matched Michigan's Grech with six saves.
COUGARS STUN NO. 3 PORTLAND IN SEASON OPENER
PROVO -- The BYU women's soccer team made history Friday night, upsetting third ranked Portland 2-1 in front of 1,570 vocal Cougar fans. Portland's number three ranking marks the highest ranked opponent BYU has defeated in school history. The Cougars previous best was a 3-2 win over No. 6 Stanford Oct. 5, 1998.
"Our players started preparing for this game last summer, and that allowed us to pull off the biggest win in the school's history," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood.
In the 80th minute, after leading 1-0 for virtually the entire game, the Cougars surrendered a goal to the Pilots when Portland midfielder Erin Misaki's shot deflected off Amanda Gott's out-stretched hands into the right corner of the net.
BYU answered seven minutes later, however, as BYU senior Jeni Willardson-Viernes took a pass from freshman forward Jaime Rendich and hooked a pin-point shot into the right corner of the net to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead and the win.
"I was thinking, 'Jaime, just drop it to me,' then I was praying it would go in, and it did," Viernes said. "It's a huge win for us, we worked so hard this summer knowing this was our first game."
Viernes also made the first goal of the game on an alert play in the fourth minute. Pilots keeper Cristin Shea attempted to switch the field but her kick was blocked by Viernes, who then gathered in the rebound and scored the first goal of the Cougars' season. For the game, Viernes led all players with seven shots on goal.
2002 SCHEDULE PITS COUGARS AGAINST NATION'S BEST
The 2002 BYU women's soccer team opens the season playing its first three games against teams that participated in last year's NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup.
The University of Portland opened the Cougars' season at South Field on August 30, losing 2-1 to BYU. Then BYU traveled to Wolverine country to take on Michigan in Ann Arbor, losing 2-1. Kentucky and St. Mary's will make first-ever appearances at South Field on Sept. 6 and Sept. 27.
BYU will have to battle its remaining NCAA tournament participants on the road with a trip to Los Angeles for matchups against USC and UCLA and to South Bend for a first-ever meeting with Notre Dame.
The Cougar team spends the first three weeks of October on the road, returning to South Field on Oct. 24. The team's itinerary includes trips to Washington, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.
In MWC action, the Cougars will spend most of conference play on the road, hosting only UNLV and San Diego State. But beginning November 6, by virtue of winning last year's Championships in Las Vegas, BYU hosts this year's Mountain West Conference Championships with the title game scheduled for Sat., Nov. 9. The MWC champion gets an automatic bid into the 2002 NCAA Women's College Cup Championships which begin on Nov. 13.
COUGARS GRAB THIRD CONSECUTIVE MWC TITLE
Complete dominance is the best way to describe BYU's stranglehold on the Mountain West Conference. The Cougars have won both the regular season and tournament titles in the MWC in each of the last three years. After taking care of business during the regular season, going 17-2 in three years of MWC conference play, BYU proved to be the real deal by winning the conference tournament as well.
The streak began in 1999, when BYU posted a 2-1 victory over San Diego State University to win the tournament title. In 2000, the Cougars beat Utah 6-1 to again claim the title. Last year, UNLV became the next victim in BYU's incredible run, losing 2-1 to the Cougars in the MWC tournament championship game.
For the 2002 season, the conference coaches also voted the Cougars to win the regular season and championship crown.
CREAM OF THE CROP
The nine new freshmen players set to kick off their soccer collegiate years at BYU this fall were recently ranked the 17th best recruiting class in the nation by Soccer Buzz Magazine. That's the highest ranking ever for an incoming class in the program's history. BYU also finished fifth in the West Region behind UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and California.
All-Americans Brooke Bowman (Plano, TX) and Jennifer Henry Fielding (Pasco, WA) are two of the highly touted players. Bowman and Fielding will add more strength and depth to BYU's team along with the other seven very experienced and accomplished freshmen.
Jamie Rendich and Brooke Thulin, from Southern California have trained and played in one of the country's most talented pools of players. Their So. Cal Blues club is considered one of the top youth clubs in the country with a National Youth Championship to prove it. They have also both represented Southern California on their State ODP team and on the Region IV ODP team.
Two of the Utah recruits, Ashley Smith and Natalie Evans, along with sophomore keeper Amanda Gott, will be vying for the starting goalkeeper spot.
South Field, home to the Cougars since 1995, is a tough place to steal a victory. In seven seasons, BYU has posted a 52-8-1 (.852) record on their home grass. At one point, the Cougars had a three-year win streak in Provo, from Sept. 30, 1995 to Sept. 6, 1998.
BYU's home field advantage is enhanced by the presence of a large and vocal Cougar crowd. Attendance at South Field consistently ranks among the best in the nation. Last year, BYU ranked 12th among national attendance leaders with an average of 1,087 fans filling the seats at South Field.
THE ROCKWOOD FILE
Jennifer Rockwood begins her eighth season at the helm of BYU's women's soccer program. In six years she has guided her team to four conference championships and five straight appearances in the NCAA Championships, beginning with the 1997 season. The Cougars have had two "Sweet Sixteen" finishes: in 1998 and in 2000, both times losing to Santa Clara. Last year the BYU team lost to Nebraska in Second Round action. Her many honors include two Coach of the Year honors by the WAC in 1996 and in 2000 by the MWC.
Under Rockwood's tutelage, a long list of All-American soccer players have emerged from BYU's program. Among them are two that are current players of the newly organized Women's United Soccer Association. Maren Hendershot plays for the San Jose Cyberrays and Shauna Rohbock with the San Diego Spirit. Other noteworthy All-Americans include Aleisha Cramer Rose, Staci Reynolds and Michelle Peterson.
During the 2000 season, she became the first MWC coach to eclipse the 100-win total on Sept. 23 with a 2-0 victory over Milwaukee-Wisconsin. Entering the 2000 season, coach Rockwood was ranked fifth among active coaches by winning percentage. She has averaged 18.6 wins per season over the past five years, which ranks second behind only Anson Dorrance of North Carolina for wins per season. Dorrance has won an average of 22.2 matches per season.
Prior to becoming the head coach, Rockwood led BYU's highly successful club soccer team for six years. In her final two years, she took her teams to first place in the Western National Collegiate Club Soccer Association (NCCSA) championships and to second place in the NCCSA national championships.
The Lake Oswego, Oregon, native was a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and track. After one year at Ricks College on a basketball scholarship, she transferred to BYU and was four-year starter at center midfield on the Cougars' club team.
Rockwood has also coached in the Utah ODP , the youth club's and high school levels.
Year W L T Conference
1995 11 8 1 WAC
1996 22 1 0 WAC
1997 19 4 0 WAC
1998 20 5 0 WAC
1999 21 4 0 MWC
2000 19 4 1 MWC
2001 14 7 1 MWC
2002 1 1 0 MWC
127 34 3 (.774)
BYU club team under Rockwood:
128-25-9 (.790), six years (1989-1994)
COUGARS LOVE COUGARS
Several members of the Cougars' soccer team have married members of BYU's other athletic teams. Junior defender Farrah Hofheins-Olmstead is married to Shawn Olmstead, a member of BYU's volleyball team. Terra Smith-Bigelow stole the heart of Mark Bigelow, a star on BYU's basketball team. Senior Jeni Willardson-Viernes likes to kick it around with husband Spencer, who is on the men's soccer club team at BYU. Also of note, freshman midfilder/defender Brooke Thulin has a brother, J.R., who is an offensive lineman for the football team.
DEFENSE GARNERS NATIONAL RECOGNITION
BYU's ability to shutout its opponents is among the best at the national level. The Cougars tied for 18th nationally in shutouts per game last year, holding opponents scoreless in 11 of 22 games for a 0.50 average. BYU has posted three seasons with 11 shutouts (1998, 1999, 2001), while the Cougars' 1996 team holds the school record at 12.
BYU TO HOST 2002 MWC TOURNAMENT
The Cougars will play host to the 2002 Mountain West Conference Championships Nov. 6-9 at South Field in Provo. The following is a breakdown of the three-day tournament. The winner of the Championship receives an automatic bid into the 2002 NCAA Women's College Cup Championships which begin Nov. 13.
OPENING ROUND: Wednesday, Nov. 6
Game 1: No. 4 seed vs. No. 5
Game 2: No. 2 seed vs. No. 7
Game 3: No. 3 seed vs. No. 6
*The No. 1 seed receives a first-round bye.
SEMIFINALS: Thursday, Nov. 7
Game 4: No. 1 seed vs. Game 1 winner
Game 5: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner
FINALS: Saturday, Nov. 9
Championship game between semifinals winners.