BYU WOMEN'S SOCCER BEGINS SIX-GAME ROAD TRIP
Over the next three weeks, the BYU women's soccer team will play six-consecutive road games, travelling approximately 5,700 miles in the process.
The Cougars begin the road swing this week as they head to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State (6-3-0) Thursday at 3 p.m. BYU holds a 1-0 series edge over Washington State, having defeated WSU 3-0 in Provo Sept. 4, 2000.
The University of Montana (3-7-0) will host the Cougars Saturday, Oct. 5 in Missoula, Mont., in the second of the six-straight road matches. The Cougars and Grizzlies have met six times, with the Cougars coming out on top in four of those contests.
UP NEXT: COUGARS OPEN CONFERENCE PLAY
The Cougars open confernce play next week against Air Force and Wyoming as BYU plays the third and fourth matches of its six-game road trip. Air Force will host the Cougars Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. in Colorado Springs, Colo., and then BYU heads to Laramie, Wyo. for a 1 p.m. tilt with the Cowboys.
BYU PICKED TO WIN CONFERENCE BY MWC COACHES
BYU was selected as the favorite to capture its fourth straight Mountain West Conference title in a preseason vote by the league's coaches.
The Cougars collected a total of 36 points (six first-place votes) to capture the top position in the poll. Utah, which collected the other first-place vote (28 total), was picked to finish second in the ballot, followed by UNLV (22), San Diego State (21) and New Mexico (20). Air Force (14) and Wyoming (6) rounded out the voting as they were picked to finish sixth and seventh, respectively.
BYU, 14-7-1 overall last year, won the 2001 regular-season title with a 5-1 record and captured the conference tournament crown with a 2-1 victory over UNLV. The Cougars advanced to the second round of NCAA Tournament play before falling to Nebraska, 3-0.
Preseason Women's Soccer Coaches' Poll
Pl. Team (1st pl. votes) Points
1. BYU (6) 36
2. Utah (1) 28
3. UNLV 22
4. San Diego State 21
5. New Mexico 20
6. Air Force 14
7. Wyoming 6
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE
After winning its first five matches of the season, WSU has dropped three of its last four games, including two losses in a row to Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. Two of their six wins saw Washington State score eight goals, including an 8-1 victory over Montana, BYU's next opponent after WSU.
The Cougars are led by junior forward Nicole Wilcox, who has five goals on 28 shots and four assists. Leading WSU in assists is Alix Rustrum, a freshman forward who has five assists and four goals on the year.
The Grizzlies are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, including an 8-1 loss to No. 1 Stanford Sept. 29. A tough schedule and a young team have contributed to Montana's 3-7-0 record. There are 19 freshman and sophomores on the Grizzlies' roster.
Montana is led by senior Zajonc McKenzie, who has two goals and one assist on the season. In the goal for the Grizzlies is freshman Sarah Braseth, who has played all the minutes in goal for Montana, notching 84 saves while giving up 30 goals.
Sophomore midfielder Aydre Soffe injured her right leg during the Cal State Northridge game, fracturing the tibia. Soffe will not return to the field this season. Aleisha Cramer-Rose is experiencing tendonitis of the shins, an ailment that often feels similar to shin splints.
Junior Annie Hoecherl headed a perfectly delivered corner kick from All-American Aleisha Cramer-Rose into the back of the net to give BYU a 2-1 win over St. Mary's College in double overtime. With the win, the Cougars improve to 4-5-0 on the season, while the Gaels fall to 3-5-1.
That first half saw the Cougars take a 1-0 lead off of Rose's second goal of the season. The junior midfielder/defender placed a free kick beyond the reach of Gael keeper Ruth Montgomery, Soccer America's 2001 most valuable player.
BYU out-shot SMC 13-1 in the first half and had several good looks at the net as Montgomery scrambled for seven saves in the first 45 minutes.
St. Mary's evened the score in the 63rd minute when Jennifer Barbara poked the ball past Cougar keeper Ashley Smith, who had six saves on the night in her second start of the season.
Regulation ended 1-1, as did the ensuing first overtime, but not without seven more shots by the Cougars. A crowd of 1,352 saw BYU take 40 shots compared to SMC's eight for the game.
For the first time in three meetings, the UCLA women's soccer team defeated the BYU team 6-0 in Los Angeles. The Bruins out-shot the Cougars 20 to 2 and scored three goals in each half for the win.
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 opened the Cougars' season 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 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 USC, which resulted in a 1-0 loss, and then a 6-0 loss to No. 3 UCLA on Sept. 25. The Cougars will head to South Bend for a first-ever meeting with No. 21 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 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.
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 4 5 0 MWC
130 38 3 (.760)
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.