9th-Ranked UW Women's Soccer Team Opens on the Road

Aug. 28, 2001

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#9 Washington at Utah State, 12 noon PDT (1 p.m. MT)
Aggie Field, Logan, Utah

#9 Washington vs. Northwestern, 10:00 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. MT)
Aggie Field, Logan, Utah

What can they do for an encore? The Washington women's soccer team was able to revel in an off-season that followed their finest year ever. The Huskies won their first Pacific-10 Conference championship, received the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16. The Huskies' sights are now set on the 2001 season that begins with a pair of road games, beginning Saturday, Sept. 1 at Utah State. Kick-off is 12 noon Pacific Time (1 p.m. Mountain) at Aggie Field in Logan, Utah where the Huskies will meet Northwestern on Monday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. PST. UW has a 5-5 all-time record in season-opening games, including an 8-0 victory over Eastern Washington in the 2000 opener.

2000 Preview
Six starters return from the 2000 team that was the best in the school history. One loss was not due to graduation. Senior Andrea Morelli, the 1999 Pac-10 Defender of the Year, toe the ACL in her left knee during the summer while playing with the Seattle Sounders Select Team. She will red-shirt this season and return for a fifth year in 2001. Heading the list of returning starters is junior goalkeeper Hope Solo, a member of the U.S. National Team who earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2000. Solo had six shutouts and a 0.76 goals against average last season. Second-team All-Pac-10 pick Vanessa Pierce and Suzanne Culpepper are the two starters that return from a defense that limited 19 of 21 opponents to one goal or less. The midfield features the team's top returning scorer, senior Caroline Putz. The second-team All-Pac-10 selection tallied seven goals and nine assists last season. Putz has 21 career assists, five shy of the school record. Junior Megan McKinstry, who plays the defensive midfield position, will be critical for the Huskies who must break in two new defenders. Senior starter Erin Otagaki leads a group of forwards that includes sophomore Melissa Bennett who scored five goals as a freshman. Sophomore Blair Ruport, a part-time starter, returns after missing the final six games in 2000 with an MCL injury. Washington's group of freshmen was rated the nation's 10th best recruiting class by the Soccer Buzz website. That class features Canadian National Team member Clare Rustad. Rustad should challenge for a starting berth as will defender Nicole Martinez, who played with the Seattle Sounders Select Team during the summer, and speedy forward Tina Frimpong, a former Santa Clara signee who is playing again after giving birth to a daughter in March.

Gone but not Forgotten
Four starters from last year's team have graduated, including forward Tami Bennett who completed her career as the school's all-time leader in career (34) and single-season (16) goals. Midfielder Theresa Wagner finished with UW records for career assists (26), points (80) and single-season assists (12). Wagner was selected in the ninth round of the WUSA Draft and played for the champion Bay Area CyberRays. Also graduating from UW were midfielder Malia Arrant and defender Katie Goodeve.

o This is the 11th season for UW women's soccer that began competition in 1991.

o Eleven UW opponents played in last year's NCAA Tournament, including runner-up UCLA and semifinalist Portland.

o Six starters return from last year's team, including All-America goalkeeper Hope Solo and second-team All-Pac-10 honorees Caroline Putz and Vanessa Pierce.

o First-team All-Pac-10 player Andrea Morelli, the 1999 Pac-10 Defender of the Year, tore the ACL in her left knee during the summer and will not play. She is expected to return for a fifth year in 2002.

o The Huskies have a 5-5 record in all-time season-opening games, including a 3-2 record in openers on the road.

Ranking Report
Washington is a consensus top-10 pick in the preseason women's soccer polls. The Huskies are ranked No. 9 by Soccer America and Soccer Times, No. 7 by the NSCAA Coaches' poll and No. 10 by Soccer Buzz. This marks the first preseason listing for the UW in seven years, dating to a No. 20 opening ranking in 1994. Washington was unranked in last year's preseason polls, but completed the season with a No. 5 ranking in the Soccer America poll. The Huskies face a difficult schedule that includes six opponents ranked among the top 20, including No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Portland and No. 4 Nebraska.

Utah State (5-12 in 2000)
Saturday marks the first meeting between the Aggies and Washington. First-year coach Jen Kennedy Croft, a USU assistant last year and a former Seattle University head coach (1994-96), takes over a team that posted a 5-12 record in 2000. Utah State finished tied for seventh in the Big West standings with a 3-5 mark.

Northwestern (3-12-2 in 2000)
Monday will be the first meeting between the Wildcats and Washington. First-year coach Jenny Haigh inherits a team that struggled to a 3-12-2 record in 2000. Northwestern finished ninth in the Big Ten standings with a 2-7-1 mark.

Sensational Solo
All-America candidate Hope Solo is Washington's standout junior shot-stopper. The Richland (Wash.) High School product was the Soccer America Collegiate MVP goalkeeper. She earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2000 after making the second team as a freshman in 1999. Solo is one of the finest 'keepers in the nation, not just among collegians. She has earned seven 'caps' with the U.S. National Team which she will rejoin Sept. 4 in Chicago to train for the Nike U.S. Cup. Solo surrendered only five goals in nine Pac-10 contests last season, no more than one in any game. She posted a UW single-season record 0.76 goals against average and registered six shutouts while starting three other shutouts. Her presence between the posts was pivotal for the Huskies who won 10 games by one-goal margins. Solo has surrendered only three goals in her last 669 minutes in goal.

Prolific Putz
Senior forward Caroline Putz was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection last season. The former two-time Parade prep All-American (1996, '97) should be in line for ever more honors in 2001. Putz is Washington's all-time leader in game-winning assists with 10. She is within striking distance of some other school records. Putz is second among all-time Huskies with 21 assists, five shy of Theresa Wagner's (1997-2000) record of 26. She ranks among the all-time UW career leaders in goals (6th with 17), game-winning goals (5th with 6) and points (4th with 55).

Strenuous Schedule
Washington's schedule ranked among the nation's top-10 most difficult each of the last six years. This year's schedule is no different. Eleven opponents on the 2001 Husky schedule participated in the 2000 NCAA Tournament, including NCAA runner-up UCLA and semifinalist Portland. Six UW foes are ranked in the current Soccer America top-20 poll, including No. 2 Portland, UCLA (3), Nebraska (4), California (11), Texas A&M (13) and Stanford (14).

Pac-10 Pride
Washington was the first school from outside the state of California to capture the Pac-10 women's soccer championship. Winning the conference championship in 2000 was an even more remarkable feat when considering that the Pac-10 was the nation's toughest league in the eyes of the selection committee. Seven Pac-10 teams earned NCAA bids, including three of the top eight seeds. UCLA advanced to the championship game before losing 2-1 to North Carolina.

2000 Recap
The 2000 season was the finest in the history of the Washington women's soccer program. The Huskies posted an all-time best 18-3 record, won their first Pacific-10 Conference championship, received the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16. Head coach Lesle Gallimore, who guided UW to its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and the Soccer Buzz National Coach of the Year. The Huskies registered 22 school records, including the marks for single-season victories (18) and longest winning streak (11). The 2000 team featured All-America goalkeeper Hope Solo along with senior standouts Tami Bennett and Theresa Wagner. Bennett completed her career as the school's all-time leader in career (34) and single-season (16) goals and points (36). Wagner finished with Washington records for career assists (26), points (80) and single-season assists (12). Washington wrested the Pac-10 trophy away from the southern powers, becoming the first school outside the state of California to win the conference women's soccer championship. Winning the conference crown wasn't easy as eight of nine Pac-10 games were decided by one-goal margins, including four 1-0 decisions. During the memorable season, UW had several notable victories, including a 2-1 win at Santa Clara that snapped the Broncos 32-game home winning streak. Washington defeated six ranked opponents, half of them top-10 teams. The Huskies posted a 5-0 win over Montana in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the first time UW hosted a postseason game. On Sept. 10, 2000, Gallimore registered her 100th career coaching victory with a 3-1 win over Ohio State. Washington was the third most-improved team in the country during 2000, besting the previous year's record by 7 � games with an 18-3 mark. Attendance at Husky Soccer Field soared to an average of 1,592 spectators per game, the second-highest figure in the nation. The 1-0 overtime triumph over No. 4 UCLA on Oct. 22 drew a single-game record 3,403 fans. Un-ranked entering the 2000 season, Washington joined the polls in early September, its first ranking since 1996. During the season, the Huskies climbed to as high as No. 2 and completed the season ranked No. 5 in the final Soccer America poll.

Home Sweet Home
For the fifth year, all Washington home games will be played on campus at the 1,800-seat Husky Soccer Field. The facility is located north of Husky Stadium on the southeast corner of the Montlake Boulevard parking lot. Lights were installed prior to the 2000 season, enabling the Huskies to play home games at night. The home field proved advantageous for the Huskies who had an 8-1 record at Husky Soccer Field during the 2000 season, including a 13-game winning streak that dated to 1999. UW's average attendance of 1,592 was the second highest in the nation, including a school-record crowd of 3,403 against UCLA on Oct. 22.

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