Huskies Look To Rebound At Home Against Bay Area Schools

Oct. 16, 2008

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This Week's Schedule

Friday, Oct. 17, 2008
No. 27 Washington (9-4-0, 0-2-0) vs. No. 2 Stanford (12-0-1, 2-0-0) • 7 p.m. PT
Husky Soccer Field • Seattle, Wash.
Live stats available via Gametracker, www.gohuskies.com

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008
No. 27 Washington vs. No. 13 California (9-3-0, 2-0-0) • Noon PT
Husky Soccer Field • Seattle, Wash.
Live stats available via Gametracker, www.gohuskies.com

THIS WEEK
The 27th-ranked Washington Huskies continue the most difficult stretch of their 2008 season when they host the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal on Friday at 7 p.m. and the 13th-ranked California Bears on Sunday at Noon. UW is in the midst of a five-game stretch against top-25 teams and a four-game stretch of games against teams in the top five. The Huskies will look to snap a three-game losing streak after dropping overtime heartbreakers to No. 3 Portland and then-No. 5 USC and a 4-0 loss to No. 4 UCLA. The games this weekend also mark UW's first home action since defeating Hawai'i on Sept. 28.

LAST WEEK
The Huskies dropped a pair of matches at defending national champion USC and defending Pac-10 champion UCLA, coming up just short against the Women of Troy, 3-2, in overtime on Friday before falling, 4-0, to the Bruins on Sunday.

Against USC, UW struck first when junior Veronica Perez scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season but the Women of Troy tied it up when Olympic gold medalist Amy Rodriguez scored the first of her two goals in the match. Husky senior Melissa Beal put the Huskies back on top in the 60th minute with her fifth goal of the season off an assist from Perez, but once again USC tied it up and sent the match to overtime. In UW's third consecutive overtime match, it was USA National Team star Rodriguez who sent UW to their second straight loss.

Sunday's game wasn't as close as the Bruins scored early and often to hand UW a 4-0 defeat. The loss was even greater than what appeared on the scoreboard as the Huskies learned they would also lose starting goalkeeper Alex Phillips to a torn ACL. Phillips played the first 20 minutes before getting tangled up and having to leave the field. Freshman Kari Davidson was pressed into duty and played valiantly, making four saves against the high-powered Bruin offense.

PULLING RANK
The Huskies dropped out of the NSCAA rankings this week after reaching a season-high No. 16 ranking last week, but they stayed in Soccer Buzz's top 30 for the fourth consecutive week at No. 27. UW is appearing in the national polls this season for the first time since the final poll of the 2004 season.

UW is also keeping a close eye on the NCAA's RPI rankings, which will be very important come tournament selection time. Despite a three-game losing streak, UW is No. 20 in the RPI, which takes strength of schedule into consideration. The Huskies have certainly had faced one of the most difficult schedules in the country, especially recently, as they have had to face No. 1 Portland, No. 11 UCLA and No. 17 USC (RPI rankings) in their last three games. They face No. 3 Stanford and No. 19 Cal this weekend, which should only improve their RPI standing.

FOLLOW THE HUSKIES LIVE
All Husky home games will be streamed live via Gametracker on the Huskies official website, www.gohuskies.com. Most away games can also be followed via the internet. Check the GoHuskies.com website to find links to all the action.

DID YOU KNOW...
UW's stretch of three-consecutive overtime games marked its first such streak since they went to OT in three straight matches to open the 2003 season, the only two times it has happened in school history.

BOUNCING BACK
With the season past the halfway point, UW looks poised to return to the NCAA tournament after three difficult seasons. After a program-best Elite Eight finish in 2004, the Huskies suffered three-consecutive losing seasons but head coach Lesle Gallimore has the team back on the right track.

The Huskies posted the second-best start in program history by winning their first seven matches and nine of the first 10. While they are currently riding a three-game losing streak, two of those losses came in overtime at the hands of No. 3 Portland and No. 6 USC along with a 4-0 loss to No. 4 UCLA.

The Huskies are three wins shy of equaling their win total from the last two seasons combined as they went 5-13-1 last season and 7-12-1 in 2006. The Huskies have been led by juniors Veronica Perez and Alex Kirk, who lead the Huskies in goals (8) and assists (5), respectively, while senior Melissa Beal has chipped in five goals, two of which have been game-winners.

TOUGH LOSS
The Huskies got some bad news this week when they learned junior goalkeeper Alex Phillips will be lost for the season with a torn ACL, which came in UW's 4-0 loss to UCLA. Phillips had held the high-scoring Bruins scoreless before having to come out of the game in the 20th minute.

In her first season as a starter, Phillips has done a phenomenal job for the Huskies, allowing 11 goals in 12 games and making 25 saves while posting four shutouts. She came into this season having made one career start and playing a total of 135 minutes in goal in her career, but she earned the job over freshman phenom Kari Davidson proved to head coach Lesle Gallimore she made the right decision. Davidson, who posted a shutout against Kennesaw State in her only start this season, will take over for Phillips.

SCOUTING STANFORD
The No. 2 (12-0-1, 2-0-0) Cardinal have yet to lose this season, their only blemish being a 1-1 tie with then-No. 5 North Carolina back in September. Stanford is coming off identical 3-0 wins over Oregon and Oregon State last weekend to open Pac-10 play.

Stanford has out-scored its opponents 40-3 this season, led by freshman Lindsay Taylor who has a Pac-10 conference-best 10 goals. Sophomore Christen Press, the 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, has also chipped in eight goals and six assists while junior All-American Kelley O'Hara has six goals and eight assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Kira Maker has posted eight shutouts this season.

The Cardinal returned just four starters this season to a team that advanced to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament last season, but a strong freshman class has them challenging for a national title.

SERIES HISTORY WITH STANFORD
The Huskies haven't had much success against the Cardinal, a perennial national powerhouse. Stanford holds a 14-2-2 advantage over UW in their history and has won the last three match-ups between the two teams. UW last defeated the Cardinal in 2004 when they pulled out a 1-0 victory in overtime in Seattle. Prior to that win, the only other time the Huskies emerged victorious against Stanford was another 1-0 win at home in 2000, the year UW won its lone Pac-10 title.

WAGNER RETURNS
Stanford assistant coach Theresa Wagner is the third former Husky soccer player to return to Seattle this season, following Leslie Weeks and Erin Otagaki, who now coach for Utah and Hawai'i, respectively. Wagner, in her first year as an assistant with the Cardinal, played for the Huskies from 1997-2000 and earned All Pac-10 honors in each of her four seasons. She was a three-time All-Academic Pac-10 selection and garnered NSCAA Scholar Athlete All-American honors as a senior in addition to being named second team All-West Region.

After graduating with a B.A. in Business, Wagner went on to play for the San Jose CyberRays for three seasons in the WUSA and was a part of their 2001 championship-winning team. Wagner was a volunteer assistant with Stanford in 2002 before spending five seasons as an assistant coach with the University of San Diego.

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA
The Bears (9-3-0, 2-0-0) come into this weekend with their highest ranking of the season and are tied for first in the Pac-10 after a 1-0 win over Oregon State and a 5-1 win over Oregon last weekend, highlighted by sophomore Alex Morgan's first-half hat trick over the Ducks.

The sophomore Morgan, a freshman All-American last season, leads the Bears with eight goals while redshirt sophomore Lisa Kevorkian has bounced back from a knee injury to chip in six goals. Sophomore defender Megan Jesolva has been the team's most unselfish player this season with seven assists.

SERIES HISTORY WITH CALIFORNIA
The Huskies hold a slight series edge over California, 9-8-0, but the Bears have won the last three times the teams have squared off since UW won a series-high five consecutive matches between 2000 and 2004. UW last defeated Cal, 1-0, at home in 2004.

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