Weekly Release #11: MWC Tournament Comes to Provo

NO. 20 BYU HOSTS MWC TOURNAMENT IN PROVO

After clinching its fourth-straight regular season Mountain West Conference title with a 2-1 win over Utah, the No. 20-ranked BYU Cougars return home to host the MWC tournament Nov. 6-9 at South Field in Provo.

By virtue of its first-place finish in the regular season, BYU (14-5-0, 6-0-0) received a first-round bye and will play the winner of Wednesday's SDSU-UNLV matchup. The Cougars' semifinal game will be played Thursday night at 7 p.m. at South Field.

The championship match will be played Saturday, Nov. 9 at noon in Provo. The winner will receive an automatic bid into the 2002 NCAA Women's College Cup Championships, which begin Nov. 13. The national tournament field will be composed of conference tournament champions and teams which receive at-large invitations.

For those who cannot make it to South Field to see BYU take on SDSU at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, live stats will be available on the BYU athletic Web site. To access live stats, go to the 2002 Schedule on the women's soccer web page and click the Live Stats link on the BYU-SDSU game.

CONFERENCE DOMINATION CONTINUES AS BYU FOUR-PEATS

Since the beginning of the Mountain West Conference in 1999, BYU's name has been the only one to grace MWC women's soccer championship plaques. That trend continued this year when the Cougars defeated Utah 2-1 on Nov. 2 in Salt Lake. BYU boasts a 23-2 regular-season record against MWC opponents and went a perfect 6-0 in the 2002 campaign. What remains to be seen is if BYU can also win the MWC tournament title this week for the fourth-straight year .

The tournament title 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 crown. Last year, UNLV was the next victim in BYU's incredible run, losing 2-1 to the Cougars in the MWC tournament championship game.

VIERNES GRABS MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR FOR SECOND TIME

BYU senior midfielder/forward Jeni Viernes was named the Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer Player of the Week after helping the Cougars wrap up the regular season with victories over Weber State and conference rival Utah. This is her second player of the week honor of the season and third of her career.

Viernes, a Murray, Utah, native, scored two goals off of eight shots on the week (both game-winners). In the Cougars 2-0 victory over Weber State, Viernes knocked in a goal in the fifth minute (assisted by Brooke Bowman) to put BYU up for good. In BYU's 2-1 conference title clinching win over Utah, she scored the game-winning goal in the 64th minute (assisted by Aleisha Cramer-Rose), helping the Cougars capture their fourth straight MWC regular-season crown.

Viernes has been a big part of BYU's 11-game winning streak, either scoring a goal or assisting a goal in 10 of the wins. She finished the regular-season leading the conference in points (27), goals (11), goals per game (0.58) and game-winning goals (six).

The 2002 season has seen three different Cougars receive Player of the Week honors a total of four times. Viernes opened and closed the season receiving the award, junior Aleisha Cramer-Rose was named Player of the Week on Oct. 21 freshman Brooke Bowman grabbed the honor Oct. 28. BYU players have won the award for the last three-consecutive weeks and four out of the 10 weeks of the season.

Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer Players of the Week: Sept. 3 -- Jeni Viernes, Sr., M/F, BYU; Sept. 9 -- Marte Dolva, Jr., F, New Mexico; Sept. 16 -- Julie Herdic, So., F, Utah; Sept. 23 -- Erchen Theys, Jr., M, New Mexico; Sept. 30 -- Annii Magliulo, F, UNLV; Oct. 7 -- Cookie Day, So., M, Air Force; Oct. 14 -- Kristen Winters, So., GK, New Mexico; Oct. 21 -- Aleisha Cramer-Rose, Jr., M/D, BYU; Oct. 28 -- Brooke Bowman, Fr., M, BYU; Nov. 4 -- Jeni Viernes, Sr., M/F, BYU.

TWO NATIONAL POLLS RANK COUGARS IN TOP 25

The BYU women's soccer team is turning heads on the national level with its 11-game winning streak. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll ranked the Cougars 22nd in the Nov. 4 poll, the first time BYU has entered the NSCAA Top 25 this season. To see the NSCAA Top-25 poll, go to http://www.nscaa.com/.

The SoccerTimes College Coaches Poll, which ranked BYU 24th last week, bumped the Cougars up to No. 20 this week after wins over Weber State and Utah. The SoccerTimes poll can be found at http://www.soccertimes.com/ncaa/top25/women.htm.

MWC TOURNAMENT INFORMATION AND SEEDING

As the No. 1 seed for this week's MWC tournament, BYU receives a first-round bye and will play the winner of the SDSU-UNLV game on Thurday at 7 p.m.

The second seed went to Utah, which finished MWC play with a 4-1-1 record and an 11-2-3 record overall. New Mexico grabbed the third seed with a 3-2-1 finish, while the fourth seed was earned by San Diego State with its 3-3-0 league record. Both UNLV and Air Force finished with 2-4-0 conference records to tie for fifth place, but the Rebels were awarded the fifth spot by virtue of defeating the Falcons in their head-to-head matchup earlier this season. With the sixth slot going to Air Force, the seventh seed went to Wyoming, which finished the regular season with an 0-6-0 mark.

Play begins Wednesday, Nov. 6 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 9, with all games being played at South Field on the campus of BYU. Below is a schedule of tournament games, all times are Mountain Standard (MST). The number before each team refers to its seeding position for the tournament.

OPENING ROUND: Wednesday, Nov. 6

Game 1: 2 p.m. No. 4 SDSU vs. No. 5 UNLV

Game 2: 4:30 p.m. No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Air Force

Game 3: 7 p.m. No. 2 Utah vs. No. 7 Wyoming

*BYU, the No. 1 seed, receives a first-round bye.

SEMIFINALS: Thursday, Nov. 7

Game 4: 4:30 p.m. Game 2 winner (UNM or AFA) vs. Game 3 winner (Utah or Wyoming)

Game 5: 7 p.m. No. 1 BYU vs. Game 1 winner (SDSU or UNLV)

FINALS: Saturday, Nov. 9

12 p.m. Championship game between semifinals winners.

TICKET PRICES

Tickets can be purchased at the South Field gate before each game or by calling 1-800-322-BYU1 (2981) or, locally, 378-BYU1. Prices for all-tournament passes, as set by the MWC, are $15 for adults and $8 for seniors, students and children under 12. Single-game tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for seniors, students and children under 12.

2002 CONFERENCE GAME RECAPS

Game 1--Oct. 10: BYU 5, Air Force 1

The BYU women's soccer team opened up conference play strong with a 5-1 victory over Air Force. The Cougars improve to 7-5, 1-0 while the Falcons drop to 5-8, 0-1 on the season.

The Falcons hoped to get their first-ever win against the Cougars as they struck first with a goal three minutes into the game by senior Mary Cholko.

BYU promptly answered the Falcon's challenge with a goal in the 13th minute by junior Annie Hoecherl off a corner kick from All-American Aleisha Cramer Rose. The goal is Hoerchel's second of the season.

Less than a minute later, senior Jeni Viernes notched her fifth goal of the season when she received a pass from junior Jennifer Henry Fielding. Fielding promptly scored off an assist from junior Britney Holman. In less than two minutes, the Cougar attack scored three goals to take a commanding 3-1 to finish the first half.

In the second half, the Cougars tacked on two goals in the final minutes as freshman Brooke Bowman and junior Lydia Ojuka scored.

BYU outshot Air Force 17-2 in the first period and 12-4 in the second. Sophomore Amanda Gott recorded three saves while the Falcon's Jennifer Monson notched 11 saves.

 

Game 2--Oct. 12: BYU 1, Wyoming 0

Senior Jeni Viernes scored her sixth goal of the season to give BYU a 1-0 win over conference foe Wyoming, the fifth win in a row for the Cougars. BYU now stands at 8-5-0 overall and 2-0-0 in conference play, while the Cowgirls fall to 4-8-1 and 0-2-0, respectively.

Viernes' headed the ball in off a corner kick from teammate Aleisha Cramer-Rose in the 10th minute of the game, a trend of late as Rose has delivered corner kicks resulting in goals in several recent games.

The Cougars out-shot the Cowgirls 23-3 for the game and came close on several shots, but were never able to extend their lead.

Game 3--Oct. 17: BYU 3, New Mexico 2

All-American Aleisha Cramer-Rose scored two goals to power the BYU women's soccer team to a 3-2 win over co-conference leader New Mexico in Albuquerque. With the win, the Cougars move to 3-0-0 in conference play and 9-5-0 overall, while UNM falls to 2-1-0 in the conference and 9-6-0 overall.

The Lobos scored first on a header by forward Erchen Theys at 26:46. Rose and the Cougars would answer six minutes later, however, as the junior midfielder/defender scored two goals in six minutes to put BYU up 2-1.

Rose's first goal came in the 32nd minute off a penalty kick, and then her free kick from 30 yards out at 38:46 also found the back of the net.

The Cougars controlled the tempo for the rest of the contest until Lobo Rachael Addison shot a goal past Cougar keeper Mandy Gott to tie the game at 2-2 in the 81st minute.

Freshman Brooke Bowman delivered the game winner on a cross from senior Jeni Viernes at 85:08 to give BYU a 3-2 win.

Game 4--Oct. 24: BYU 3, UNLV 2

Facing a two-goal deficit at the half, the BYU women's soccer team scored three goals in the second half to defeat UNLV 3-2 and extend their winning streak to eight games. BYU remains undefeated in conference play and improves to 11-5, 4-0, while the Runnin' Rebels drop to 10-5-1, 2-2.

UNLV got off to a quick lead with a header goal by freshman Nickie Olson off a cross from the right side from sophomore Jessika Vasquez. Four minutes later senior captain Cristyn Enea received a deflection six yards in front of the BYU goal for a point blank score.

The Rebels took a 2-0 into the half despite being out shot by the Cougars 14-4.

Senior forward Jeni Viernes led a furious comeback in the second half with a goal less than a minute ticked off the clock. Fifteen minutes later, Viernes scored a double-header goal, her second of the game, to tie it at 2-2. Junior Jennifer Fielding crossed the ball to freshman Brooke Bowman, who headed the ball to Viernes' head, for the score.

Bowman scored the game-winning goal, her second in the last week, with a sliding-kick from junior Lydia Ojuka to bring the crowd to their feet. Bowman was also credited with two assists on the night.

BYU out shot UNLV 33-8 in the physical game that saw a total of 29 fouls committed by both teams.

Game 5--Oct. 26: BYU 5, San Diego State 1

Senior Jeni Willardson-Viernes continued her offensive tear as she scored the opening goal to ignite BYU (12-5-0, 5-0-0) to a 5-1 win over SDSU in Mountain West Conference action. The forward/midfielder has scored three goals in the last two games, helping the Cougars to extend their win streak to nine games.

BYU did just that, as Viernes' goal came less than 90 seconds into the game. She slipped down the Aztecs' defense, received a pass from junior forward/midfielder Terra Smith-Bigelow and placed her kick in the left corner of the net past SDSU keeper Stephanie Pearson.

Hopes of a Cougar shutout ended when SDSU (10-6-0, 2-3-0) evened the score 26 minutes later as senior forward Arinda Alvarez drew Cougar keeper Ashley Smith away from the goal and put the ball in the right corner of the net.

BYU's offense again came alive at the 29:44 mark when Aleisha Cramer-Rose's corner kick found Annie Hoecherl, who headed the ball to Charlene Lui. The freshman midfielder/defender, with her back to the goal, then placed the ball over SDSU's keeper Stephanie Pearson for her second goal of the season.

The Cougars took a 3-1 lead on a great assist from junior Lydia Ojuka in the 56th minute. The forward placed a high cross from the deep right corner that found the foot of freshman Brooke Bowman who slid the ball between two SDSU defenders to notch her seventh goal of the season.

The Cougar youth movement continued as freshman Brooke Thulin fed fellow freshman Jamie Rendich, whose kick then found the back of the net to give BYU a 4-1 lead at 68:05.

BYU's fifth goal of the evening came on a breakaway by freshman forward Davia King who sprinted away from the Aztecs at midfield and then pushed the ball into the right side of the net away from Pearson in the 76th minute.

BYU out-shot SDSU 29-5, while SDSU's Pearson had nine saves and Smith grabbed two saves for the Cougars.

Game 6--Nov. 2: BYU 2, Utah 1

As it has all season, the No. 24 BYU Cougars found answers from both veteran and young players in its 2-1 victory over No. 24 Utah in Salt Lake. With the win, BYU (14-5-0, 6-0-0) wins the Mountain West Conference regular-season title for the fourth-consecutive year and extends its winning streak to 11 games.

Senior forward Jeni Willardson-Viernes put BYU up 2-0, scoring her sixth game-winning goal of the season in the 64th minute on a pass from junior All-American Aleisha Cramer-Rose. Cramer-Rose delivered a low pass from thirty yards out on a free kick to Viernes who one-timed it past Ute keeper Courtney Hills-McBeth to notch her 11th goal of the season.

BYU's defense kept Utah (11-2-3, 4-1-1) out of the goal for the entire game until a penalty kick by Ute forward Shauna Gurr-Bingham found the back of the net with 18 seconds remaining in the match, making the score 2-1. Utah threatened again moments later on a deep run but came up short as Cougar keeper Mandy Gott gathered the wide shot and allowed time to expire.

The Cougars first goal of the game came in the 41st minute on a header by sophomore forward/midfielder Kimmie Davis. The Torrance, Calif., native headed a feed from freshman forward/midfielder Jamie Rendich into the left side of the net past Hills-McBeth to score her second goal of the season.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE FINAL STATISTICS

(conference games only)

TEAM CONF. OVERALL

BYU 6-0-0 14-5-0

Utah 4-1-1 11-2-3

New Mexico 3-2-1 10-7-1

SHOTS TOTAL AVG./GM.

BYU 148 24.67

Utah 124 20.67

SDSU 78 13

GOALS TOTAL AVG./GM.

BYU 19 3.17

Utah 17 2.83

SDSU 7 1.17

HOME ATTENDANCE (All games)

TEAM G/TOTAL AVG.

BYU 9/9,761 1,085

Utah 9/5,587 621

New Mexico 6/3,110 518

INDIVIDUAL POINTS

Jeni Willardson-Viernes 13

GOALS

Jeni Willardson-Viernes 6

ASSISTS

Aleisha Cramer-Rose 5

ASSISTS--GAME

Brooke Bowman 2 vs. UNLV (10/24/02)

GAME-WINNING GOALS

Jeni Viernes 3

Brooke Bowman 2

MWC CONFERENCE--TEAM SEASON

SHOTS

BYU 148 24.67/game

GOALS

BYU 19 3.17/game

ASSISTS

BYU 18 3/game

POINTS

BYU 56 9.33/game

MWC CONFERENCE HIGHS--TEAM SINGLE GAME

Points 15, BYU (vs. SDSU, 10/26/02)

Goals 5, BYU (at Air Force, 10/10/02, SDSU 10/26/02)

Assists 5, BYU (vs. SDSU, 10/26/02)

Shots 33, BYU vs. UNLV ( 10/24/02)

MWC CONFERENCE HIGHS--INDIVIDUAL SINGLE GAME

Points 6 GURR-BINGHAM, Shauna (Utah) vs SDSU

4 CRAMER ROSE, Aleisha (BYU) at New Mexico

4 BOWMAN, Brooke (BYU) vs UNLV

4 VIERNES, Jeni (BYU) vs UNLV

Goals 3 GURR-BINGHAM, Shauna (Utah) vs SDSU

2 CRAMER ROSE, Aleisha (BYU) at New Mexico

2 VIERNES, Jeni (BYU) vs UNLV

Assists 2 BOWMAN, Brooke (BYU) vs UNLV

Shots 13 VIERNES, Jeni (BYU) vs UNLV (Oct 24, 2002)

LAST WEEK'S GAME RECAP: Weber State

The BYU women's soccer team extended its winning streak to 10 games with a 2-0 victory over Weber State. After a 3-5 start, BYU improves to 13-5 while Weber State drops to 5-11-1.

The Cougars created several scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes of the game. Senior forward Jeni Viernes scored her 10th goal of the season after MWC Player of the Week Brooke Bowman, a freshman, headed the ball from the opposite post. Junior Aleisha Cramer-Rose was also credited with an assist in the free-kick situation.

Freshman Charlene Lui scored her third career goal 17 minutes into the second half off another Bowman assist. The Cougar defense did not allow a single shot in the second half.

The Cougars out shot the Wildcats 25-2 with an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks.

2002 SCHEDULE PITS COUGARS AGAINST NATION'S BEST

The 2002 BYU women's soccer team opened the season playing its first three games against teams that participated in last year's NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup.

No. 2-ranked University of Portland visited the Cougars' at South Field on August 30, losing 2-1 to BYU. Then BYU traveled to Wolverine country to take on No. 18 Michigan in Ann Arbor, losing 2-1. No. 18 Kentucky defeated the Cougars 2-0 in Provo, while St. Mary's, ranked No. 16 in the NSCAA preseason poll, lost 2-1 in double overtime to the Cougars on Sept. 27.

BYU took to the road to battle its remaining NCAA tournament participants with a trip to Los Angeles for a matchup against No. 20 USC, which resulted in a 1-0 loss for BYU, and then a 6-0 loss to No. 3 UCLA on Sept. 25. The Cougars would not lose again, travelling to South Bend and defeating No. 23 Notre Dame 3-2 on Oct. 19 as part of an 11-game winning streak.

The Cougar team spent the first three weeks of October on the road, returning to South Field Thurday, Oct. 24 to defeat UNLV 3-2. The team's itinerary included trips to Washington, Montana, New Mexico and Indiana.

In MWC action, the Cougars spent most of conference play on the road, hosting only UNLV and SDSU. Beginning Nov. 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.

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

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.

ROCKWOOD, YEAR-BY-YEAR

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 14 5 0 MWC

140 37 3 (.786)

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.

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