Huskies Visit Defending NCAA Champion Portland

Sept. 26, 2006

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Washington at #4 Portland, 7:00 p.m. PDT
Merlo Field (5,000) / Portland, Ore.

The Washington women's soccer team (5-5) seeks to secure a winning record when they conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule, Friday, Sept. 29 at fourth-ranked Portland (7-2-1). Kick-off is 7 p.m. at Merlo Field on the UP campus. The Pilots are the defending national champions. Friday's game is the first of four straight road games for the Huskies who begin Pac-10 play, Oct. 8 at Washington State.

What's Up with Washington
The Huskies feature a balanced attack with seven different scorers, led by the three goals and three assists of sophomore forward Melissa Beal. Last year, Beal was the team's only multi-goal scorer with four. This year, Shuree Hyatt and Katy Dowling have joined her with two goals each. Both goals have been game winners for Hyatt who is playing in her first season as a Husky after transferring from the University of San Francisco. Dowling netted the game winner in Friday's 1-0 win over New Mexico.

Close Encounters
The Huskies have three one-goal victories, one year after they were winless (0-17-3) and on the losing end of 13 one-goal margins in 2005.

Last Week
Washington split a pair of 1-0 decisions against Mountain West Conference opponents. The Huskies lost to 23rd-ranked Brigham Young on Sept. 21 before beating New Mexico on Sept. 22. UW finished second in the Pac-10/Mountain West Challenge won by BYU. Husky sophomore Katie Hall was voted the Defensive MVP of the tournament.

Scouting Portland (7-2-1)
The defending NCAA champion Pilots won their last four games, and seven of their last eight. Fourth-year coach Garrett Smith has replaced 2006 NCAA Player of the Year Christine Sinclair with a more balanced attack that is out scoring opponents 31-6. Megan Rapinoe's 10 goals lead the team while Natialie Budge has seven goals and four assists. Goalkeeper Cori Alexander played in six shutouts and has a 0.66 goals against average. The fourth-ranked Pilots own a 16-2-1 series advantage, including a 5-0 win last season in Seattle. Both of the Huskies' victories in the series came at Portland including a 2-0 decision during 2004 in their last visit to Merlo Field and a 2-1 win in 2000.

Youth Movement
Seven members of Washington's starting lineup are underclassmen, including four freshmen. Six of the 18 players who competed in a game this season are first-year Huskies and five of those have started at least once. Four freshmen are regulars in Coach Lesle Gallimore's starting lineup, including forward Veronica Perez-Murillo who netted her first collegiate goal Sept. 17 at Ohio State. Freshman Chelsea Bumbaugh starts in the midfield while Lindsey Kasser and Nikki Murray are defensive starters.

Quoting UW Coach Lesle Gallimore
'That's our goal, a winning non-conference record. It's great to be able to go down to Portland Friday, play against a great team in a great soccer atmosphere and have it be an important game for us. If we can get a little healthy and get some people back so that we have a little bit more depth off the bench, I like the direction we're going. We just keep improving every week and our heart and our work rate have really taken a leap since the beginning of the season. It's fun to see.'

Kelsey the `Keeper
Anchoring UW's defense is senior goalkeeper Kelsey Rasmussen (Gig Harbor, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) who has taken part in four shutouts this season. A three-year starter, Rasmussen boasts a 1.35 career goals against average, the No. 6 mark in Husky history. She has 16 shutouts and 238 saves, figures that both rank No. 3 in the UW annals. Rasmussen posted a UW season record 10 shutouts in 2004 along with a 1.13 goals against average while playing every minute. She was credited with 13 saves against Hofstra on Aug. 28, 2005, one shy of the school single-game record of 14. Rasmussen played 4,823 minutes over the last three seasons, sitting out only 60 minutes during that span.

Strenuous Schedule
The Huskies encounter a difficult schedule that includes five opponents ranked in the current top 25, including three top-10 foes. UW's ranked opponents are; No. 2 North Carolina, No. 4 Portland, No. 6 UCLA, No. 14 BYU and No. 15 California. Nine teams that participated in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, including national champion Portland and runner-up UCLA, appear on the UW schedule. Five Husky opponents were Sweet 16 competitors last season.

• Whether the Huskies finish non-conference play with a 6-5 or 5-6 record, it will be a drastic improvement from last season's 0-8-3 mark.

• UW has scored 11 goals through 10 games, eclipsing last season's entire output of eight.

• Nine of this year's 20 UW opponents competed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, including championship game competitors Portland and UCLA. UW plays five of last year's Sweet 16 squads.

• Coach Lesle Gallimore is in her 13th season at UW. She ranks No. 2 among Pac-10 coaches in both overall (135) and conference (52) victories.

2006 Preview
Washington returns eight starters from last year's team, including a quartet of players that started all 20 games. Seniors Cathy Roe (University Place, Wash./Curtis/Penn) and Shaela Ward (Lacey, Wash./North Thurston) play in the middle of a defense that limited 12 opponents to just one goal last year. They are supported by senior Kelsey Rasmussen (Gig Harbor, Wash./Bellarmine Prep), a three-year starting goalkeeper. The midfield features junior Dani Bridges (Maple Valley, Wash./Tahoma) who started every game in her first two collegiate campaigns. Also returning is leading scorer and part-time starter Melissa Beal (Portland, Ore./St. Mary's) who netted a goal in each of the team's spring games. A cadre of newcomers will battle for playing time, including a talented five-player freshman class. The offense is bolstered by the addition of junior Shuree Hyatt (Kent, Wash/Kentlake), a transfer who tallied eight goals in each of her two seasons at San Francisco.

2005 Review
One season after advancing within one game of the Final Four, the Huskies (0-17-3) last year suffered through the first winless season in program history. All but four games were decided by a one-goal margin for UW, which lost 10 games by similar 1-0 scores.

The Head Coach
The 'Dean of Pac-10 Coaches,' Lesle Gallimore ranks No. 2 on the Pac-10 coaching charts in all-time victories (135) and conference wins (52). She directed UW to eight NCAA Tournament appearances, including an NCAA quarterfinal berth in 2004. Gallimore was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year by Soccer Buzz in 2000 after her Huskies posted an 18-3 record, won the Pac-10 title, received the No. 2 seed for the NCAAs and advanced to the Sweet 16. Gallimore has a 17-year record of 167-126-26, including a 135-101-17 mark in 13 seasons at UW. Prior to coaching the Huskies, Gallimore compiled a 32-25-9 record in four seasons at San Diego State.

The Staff
Lesle Gallimore's staff includes 11th-year Associate Head 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. Assistant Coach Tami Bennett is in her fourth year on the staff after two seasons at Portland State. Bennett concluded her collegiate career in 2000 as Washington's all-time scoring leader with 34 goals.

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