Huskies Host Arena Sports Pac-10/ACC Challenge This Weekend
Aug. 26, 2003
ARENA SPORTS PAC-10/ACC CHALLENGE
Husky Soccer Field (2,100) * Seattle, Wash.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29
-- Washington State vs. #1 North Carolina, 4:30 p.m. PDT (7:30 EDT)
-- Washington vs. #18 Maryland, 7:00 p.m. PDT (10 EDT)
SUNDAY, AUGUST 31
-- Washington State vs. #18 Maryland, 11:00 a.m. PDT (2:00 EDT)
-- Washington vs. #1 North Carolina, 1:30 p.m. PDT (4:30 EDT)
The Washington women's soccer team kicks off its 13th season of play this weekend, hosting the inaugural Arena Sports Pac-10/ACC Challenge. The four-team tournament, pitting a pair of teams from both the Atlantic Coast and Pacific-10 conferences, takes place Aug. 29 and 31 at Husky Soccer Field on Washington's Seattle campus. Washington State meets top-ranked North Carolina in Friday's opener at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time (7:30 Eastern) while the Huskies and No. 18 Maryland clash in the nightcap at 7 p.m. The teams trade opponents for Sunday's action that begins at 11 a.m. with a Washington State-Maryland contest. At 1:30 p.m. the Huskies play North Carolina. The only other time the Tar Heels visited Seattle, a crowd of 3,155 witnessed a 2-0 UNC victory during the 1994 season.
All Arena Sports Challenge games will be regulation 90-minute contests with two sudden-victory 15-minute overtimes if needed. Games tied after overtime will be declared ties. The tournament champion is the team with the best win-loss record. The procedures for breaking ties for the team title are as follows: 1) head-to-head record, 2) goal differential, 3) total goals scored. Along with a trophy for the team champion, awards will be given to the Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP as voted by the coaches.
North Carolina is listed No. 1 and Maryland No. 18 in the preseason rankings published by Soccer America magazine ... The Tar Heels might be without U.S. nationals Lindsay Tarpley, Catherine Reddick and Heather O'Reilly while Washington will likely be without the services of Canadian Clare Rustad. Those players are vying for spots on their country's National Team roster for this fall's World Cup.
Higgins Returns to Northwest
Fifth-year Maryland coach Shannon Higgins-Cirovski returns to the state of Washington where she graduated in 1986 from Mount Rainier High School. She guided the Terrapins to three NCAA Tournament appearances and has collected two ACC Coach of the Year awards. Last fall, Higgins became the third female inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She played on four national title teams at North Carolina and scored the game-winning goal in the 1987, 1988 and 1989 championship games. Higgins was the 1989 National Player of the Year, capping a career during which the Tar Heels compiled an amazing 89-0-6 record. She helped the U.S. to the 1991 World Cup title.
The Arena Sports Pac-10/ACC Challenge Field
Maryland -- Friday is the first ever meeting between UW and 18th-ranked Maryland which had a 13-8-1 record in 2002 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. All-ACC forward Ali Andrzejewski returns after leading the Terps with nine goals.
North Carolina -- Dynasty. That's what 25th-year coach Anson Dorrance has created at North Carolina, a winner of 16 NCAA championships. The top-ranked Tar Heels have played in all but two (1995, 2003) championship games since the NCAA began sponsoring women's soccer in 1982. UNC won all three previous meetings with Washington, including a 5-1 decision last year in Chapel Hill. UW lost the first two meetings by matching 2-0 tallies, in 1992 at UNC and in 1993 during the Tar Heels' only previous visit to Seattle.
Washington State -- First-year coach Matt Potter inherited a talented roster with nine starters returning from last year's NCAA Tournament qualifier. The Cougars are led by second-team All-Pac-10 pick Nicole Wilcox who paced the team in 2002 with eight goals.
UW vs. Top-Ranked Teams
Sunday marks Washington's fourth all-time meeting with the nation's top-ranked team. The Huskies lost twice at No. 1 UNC (5-1 in 2002, 2-0 in 1993) and fell at home to Santa Clara (3-1 in 1999). Washington does have a victory over a No. 2 team to its credit, staging a 2-1 road upset of Santa Clara on Sept. 4, 2000. The Huskies have a 21-58-6 all-time record against ranked teams, including a 3-6-1 mark last season.
o Three of the four teams in the Arena Sports tournament field participated in the 2002 NCAA Tournament (UNC, Maryland, WSU).
o North Carolina lost 2-1 to Santa Clara in the 2002 semifinals, failing to reach the national championship game for only the second time in 21 years. The Tar Heels won 16 NCAA titles.
o Husky junior Melissa Bennett distributed a school-record 18 assists last season, the second-highest total in the nation in 2002.
o Ten of this year's 20 UW opponents are ranked in the preseason Soccer America poll, including four of the top five teams. Thirteen UW foes competed in the 2002 NCAA Tournament, including national champion Portland.
2003 UW Preview
Nine starters return from the 2002 Washington team that was snubbed by the NCAA Tournament committee. The Huskies posted a 9-8-3 record last season, including victories over three ranked opponents. Six of UW's eight losses came against ranked foes, five of them against top-10 teams. The 2003 Huskies are determined to make up for last season's postseason absence. With a near complete cast of returning starters, the coaching staff won't be establishing a lineup as much as fine-tuning it. UW returns the top seven scorers from last year led by senior Melissa Bennett who topped all Pac-10 players in points (34) and ranked second nationally in assists (18). Sophomore Kim Taylor tied for team-high honors with eight goals and explosive junior Tina Frimpong matched her 2001 total of seven goals. Senior Lisa Brookens and prep All-American Kelsey Rasmussen will battle for the starting goalkeeper spot vacated by standout Hope Solo. The other key departure was four-year central defensive starter Andrea Morelli. The midfield is directed by senior playmaker Jaime Carstensen who ranked fourth on the squad with 12 points. A diverse group of defenders features senior Dana Dibble and sophomore Sara Davis along with juniors Nicole Martinez and Kelli Smith. That quartet seeks to shore up a defense that surrendered 31 goals in 2002, the highest combined opponent tally since 1997. A large group of 11 newcomers, headed by Iowa State transfer Nikki Gamble, seeks to buoy the Huskies' NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Senior forward Melissa Bennett ranked second nationally last season with 18 assists, eclipsing by six the previous school single-season record of 12. A second-team All-Pac-10 selection, Bennett led the league with 34 total points and distributed five more assists than any other conference player. Despite the record-setting assist total, Bennett is better known for scoring goals than setting them up. Bennett tied for team-high honors with eight goals in 2002. She amassed a Washington state prep record with 166 goals at Seattle Christian High School. Melissa broke the state's high school record of 152 goals previously held by her sister Tami Bennett, a 2000 UW graduate who is in her first year on the UW coaching staff.
The Coaching Staff
Tenth-year coach Lesle Gallimore posted her 100th Washington victory on Oct. 13, 2003 at Oregon State. The 2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year led UW to the NCAA Tournament in six of her previous nine seasons at UW. Last year she guided UW to a 9-8-3 record and a fifth-place Pac-10 finish (4-4-1). Gallimore was named the 2000 National Coach of the Year by Soccer Buzz after her Huskies posted an 18-3 record, won their first Pac-10 title, received the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time. Gallimore has a 13-year record of 134-92-19, including a 102-67-10 mark in nine seasons at UW. Prior to coaching the Huskies, Gallimore compiled a 32-25-9 record in four seasons at San Diego State. Gallimore's staff includes eighth-year assistant coach Amy Griffin (previously Allmann), a goalkeeper with the 1991 U.S. World Cup championship team who previously was the head coach at New Mexico. Tami Bennett joins the staff this season after two seasons as an assistant at Portland State. Bennett, whose sister Melissa is a senior on the UW squad, concluded her collegiate career in 2000 as Washington's all-time scoring leader with 34 goals. Also on the staff is volunteer coach Erin Otagaki, a four-year letterwinner at UW from 1998-2001.
Season tickets are available for the 2003 Washington women's soccer season and can be obtained through the Husky Ticket Office (206-543-2200). Advanced single-game tickets are also available at the ticket office, or on-line via the athletic department website (www.gohuskies.com) or through the Husky Ticket Office (206-543-2200). General admission tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children and senior citizens. Other ticket options are also available, including group and Family Plans.
One of Washington's most dangerous scoring threats is speedy junior Tina Frimpong who had seven goals during each of her first two collegiate campaigns. Frimpong played with the Seattle Sounders Select team this summer, leading them to the W-League semifinals. She amassed eight goals in six games. Her sister, Crystal, is a senior starter at Florida who led the Gators in 2002 with six goals. Tina is a year behind her sister in school because she did not play in 2000 while she was pregnant with daughter MacKenzie who was born on March 8, 2001. Despite being out of competitive soccer for over 18 months, Frimpong returned to lead UW in 2001 with seven goals. She netted a hat trick against Idaho in her fourth game and had a two-goal performance at USC. Frimpong also found the back of the net in UW's first-round NCAA win over San Diego. She also had a hat trick last season and ranked third among UW scorers. A product of Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver, Wash., Frimpong initially signed a letter of intent with Santa Clara. Before attending any classes, she decided to matriculate at Washington beginning in August of 2000.
Washington was picked sixth in the annual preseason coaches' poll that was released Aug. 19 by the Pac-10 office. Defending champion Stanford was tabbed as the favorite by the coaches, receiving six first-place votes and 77 total points. The Cardinal won the 2002 conference crown with a 9-0 record and reached the NCAA quarterfinals. UCLA received the remaining four first-place votes and finished with 66 points. Arizona State was projected third with 61 points, USC was fourth with 50 and California was fifth with 48. The Huskies totaled 44 points to place sixth in the poll, ahead of Washington State (38), Oregon State (25), Arizona (18) and Oregon (13). UW placed fifth in last year's Pac-10 standings with a 4-4-1 record. That was the lowest conference finish ever for the Huskies who won the 2000 Pac-10 title. Six teams from the Pac-10 received NCAA Tournament invitations last year.
So Long Solo
The most decorated player in Husky history, goalkeeper Hope Solo, is now guarding the nets for the Philadelphia Charge. A senior in 2002, Solo was the fourth overall selection in January's WUSA Draft. She left Washington as the school's leader in nearly every goalkeeping category, including career saves (325), shutouts (18) and goals against average (1.02) along with single-season goals against average (0.68 in 2001). The 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Solo was one of 13 finalists for the national Player of the Year in each of her final two seasons.
2002 UW Season Review
The Huskies finished the season with a 9-8-3 record against one of the nation's most difficult schedules. Six of the Huskies' eight defeats came against teams that were ranked in the final Soccer America poll, including five setbacks versus teams listed in the top 10. Washington played 11 games against opponents that received postseason berths, posting a 2-7-2 record in those encounters. Among the Washington seniors whose collegiate careers concluded were goalkeeper Hope Solo, the 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year, and Andrea Morelli, the 1999 Pac-10 Defender of the Year. Solo departed as the Huskies' leader in nearly every goalkeeping category, including career shutouts (18), saves (325) and goals against average (1.02). The Huskies finished fifth in the Pacific-10 Conference standings with a 4-4-1 record, capping the season with a 5-0 victory over 15th-ranked USC.
The Huskies face a difficult schedule that includes 10 opponents ranked in the current top 25, including four of the nation's top five. UW's ranked opponents are; No. 1 North Carolina, Stanford (2), UCLA (3), Texas (5), Portland (7), Arizona State (14), Connecticut (15), California (16), Maryland (18) and USC (21). Thirteen teams that participated in the 2002 NCAA Tournament are on the Husky schedule, including national champion Portland and Final Four participant North Carolina. A treacherous eight-game road schedule includes six postseason participants from last season.