Sun Devils Meets Denver, UCF in UNLV Rebel Classic

Sept. 5, 2006

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University soccer team takes to the road for a pair of matches this weekend as it is set to compete in the UNLV Rebel Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Sun Devils open play in the event at 4:30 p.m. Friday when they take on the Denver Pioneers (3-0-1) before closing out the weekend with an 11 a.m. contest against the UCF Golden Knights (2-1-1). The Sun Devils will be one of four teams competing in the Rebel Classic this weekend with Denver, UCF and host UNLV.

The Sun Devils have played just one match in Las Vegas in its history, falling to the host Rebels, 2-0, during the 2004 season. The matches with Denver and UCF this weekend will mark Arizona State's first neutral site competitions played at UNLV.

All home Arizona State matches will have live statistical updates available on the official web site home of the Sun Devils, Fans can go to the soccer team page, click on the schedule link and then click on the Gametracker link for the match they wish to view. Fans also can visit, ASU's student radio station, to listen to highlights and other archived clips of Sun Devil soccer home matches.

Arizona State went 0-1-1 over the weekend and placed third in the four-team 2006 Heather Farr Kicks Against Breast Cancer Invitational in Tempe. The Sun Devils dropped their first match of the season on Friday night as they took No. 1 Florida State to overtime before allowing a goal for the 1-0 loss. ASU then battled No. 27 St. Louis on Sunday and walked away with a 1-1 tie with the Billikens. The two goals allowed by ASU were the first two of the season and halted a two match streak of shutting out its opponents.

The Sun Devils put together an impressive scoreless streak to open the season that ended with No. 1 Florida State scoring 2:14 into the first overtime session Friday night. Overall, the Sun Devils held their foes scoreless for 272 minutes and 14 seconds to open the year.

The Pac-10 Conference released its first statistical package of the season and Sun Devil keeper Kim Bingham is near the top of several categories. After allowing just two goals in the first four matches played this season, Bingham ranks second in the league with a 0.48 goals against average while also sitting second with a .875 save percentage. Her 14 saves and 3.50 saves per match average also rank fifth in the conference while her one assist is tied for 10th with numerous players so far in 2006.

A pair of Sun Devils, Courtney Crane and Brittney Doty, also rank highly in the Pac-10 in a pair of categories so far in 2006. The duo has each netted two goals this year, ranking them tied for second in the Pac-10 while their four points recorded are tied for the third most.

Courtney Crane has made a strong return from her redshirt year of 2005 as she has scored one goal in each of the first two matches the Sun Devils played in 2006. In both matches, Crane's goal ended the scoring for both teams and both strikes came with an assist from Alissa Oldenkamp. For her career, Crane now has eight goals, tying her for the 10th-most in a career at ASU with Aisha Thomas (1996-98).

As a team, the Sun Devils rank tied for second in the Pac-10 with seven assists recorded, averaging 1.75 assists per match this season.

Individually, the Sun Devils have seen six different players record assists this year with Alissa Oldenkamp's two helpers ranking her tied for third in the conference. The remaining five Sun Devils in the assist column are all tied for 10th in the conference rankings, including Kim Bingham, Dante Perea, Liz Harkin, Michelle Deatherage and Kylla Sjoman.

So far in 2006, three freshmen have recorded at least one point with two of the rookies scoring at least one goal. Brittney Doty got the scoring started for the rookies as she found the back of the net twice in the opening match of the season while Dante Perea scored a goal in the second tilt of 2006. Perea, who earned her first point while assisting Doty, was assisted by fellow classmate Liz Harkin, making her the third rookie with a point.

The three freshmen with points are not the only newcomers to the scoring column this year. Sophomore defender Kylla Sjoman assisted on the first goal of the season to secure the first point of her collegiate career with goalkeeper Kim Bingham following with her first collegiate point as she assisted on the team's second goal of 2006.

Kim Bingham's assist was the first point of her career and it came in her senior campaign. Fellow classmate Michelle Deatherage added an assist against St. Louis for her first point as a member of the Sun Devils. While in Utah for three seasons, Deatherage played in 62 matches and recorded one assist for one point. In just four matches with ASU, Deatherage already has equalled her career point total.

Also in the team statistics through four matches, the Sun Devils have climbed toward the top of the conference lists with the team not only ranking second in assists (seven), it also ranks tied for third in both goals scored (six) and points recorded (19).

For the first time this season, Arizona State appeared in a ranking as the Sun Devils are receiving votes in the SoccerBuzz West Region poll. The Sun Devils' opponents this weekend also have received rankings with Denver sitting sixth (NSCAA) and 10th (SoccerBuzz) in the regional rankings and receiving votes in the NSCAA national poll. UCF is ranked 11th in the southeast region according to SoccerBuzz.

Through two weekends of play in 2006, the Pac-10 Conference ranks as the sixth-best league based on win percentage, having won 60 percent of their matches played (21-13-5). The ACC leads the way with a 77 percentage (31-8-3) with the Big East (37-10-10) and Big XII (23-12-6) rounding out the Top 3 with win percentages of 74 and 63, respectively.

Arizona State's 2-1-1 overall record has the team sitting in a tie for the third-best record in the league, sharing the position with Oregon State, USC and Washington State. California leads the way with a 3-0-1 record while both UCLA, the defending league champion, and Washington, who went winless in 2005, stand at 3-1-0.

Last year, the Sun Devils posted four shut outs, but did not record their first blanking until the ninth match of the season, a 1-0 overtime victory at home over UC Santa Barbara. This year, ASU has already posted two (its first two matches of the season) and allowed just two goals in its four matches. The small amount of goals allowed to open the season ranks as the second-best in program history, just behind the 2001 team that allowed just one goal in its first four matches. Standing 2-1-1 overall through four matches is the fifth-best start in program history with the 2000 team's 4-0-0 start standing as the best in program annals.

Arizona State opened its season with a pair of victories, taking down UC Irvine, 3-0, on the road before shutting out Loyola (Md.), 2-0, Monday night in Tempe. The back-to-back shut outs marks the third time in the history of the program that the team has opened a season with two shut outs in a row. The first was in 2000 (3-0 at Northern Arizona and 4-0 home over Michigan) and the second coming the following season (3-0 at Baylor and 6-0 over LaSalle at Baylor).

The back-to-back shut out victories over their opponents to open the season also was the first time the Sun Devils had done so at any point in the season dating back to the 2003 campaign. That year, the Sun Devils picked up 1-0 victories over Oregon State (at home) and on the road at No. 24 Washington in consecutive Pac-10 matches. The Sun Devils did post back-to-back shut outs last year, scoring a 3-0 win at Washington before settling for a 0-0 draw with Stanford.

Through the first two matches of the season, 19 of the 24 players on the roster have seen action on the pitch in 2006. Of those 19 players, 11 made their Sun Devil debuts, including eight true freshmen and one redshirt freshman. Also included in the debuts was Carla Scanniello, who sat out last year after transferring in from Memphis, and Michelle Deatherage, a transfer from Utah.

As always, the Sun Devils will once again play a solid schedule of opponents, including two of the Final Four teams from one year ago in Florida State and UCLA. Arizona State also has matches slated against five foes ranked in the preseason NSCAA Top 25, including No. 2 UCLA, No. 6 FSU, No. 10 California, No. 17 Arizona and No. 20 Pepperdine. Of those five foes, only the match with Cal is on the road in 2006 while the rest will visit Tempe.

Christine Nieva, a sophomore on the ASU squad, is currently gaining international experience with the Mexican U-20 team as she and her teammates are in Moscow, Russia, taking part in the 2006 FIFA Women's U-20 World Championships. Nieva, who holds dual citizenship with Mexico and the United States, has played in two matches and started both. In the first match, the Mexicans scored a 4-2 defeat of Switzerland before dropping a tough decision to Germany, the defending champions. Mexico closes out pool play Thursday against Korea and will need help from Switzerland to advance to the knock-out stages.

Former Sun Devil Amy LePeilbet and current assistant coach Nancy Augustyniak Goffi have been training with the U.S. Women's National Team in the recent months with LePeilbet also earning playing time during several international matches throughout 2006. LePeilbet has competed in 10 matches so far this season and brought her career cap total to 20. Augustyniak Goffi recently returned from the WNT residency camp with LePeilbet at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as the team prepares for two more international matches on home soil in the coming month.

A pair of seniors will serve as the team's captains this season. Both Kim Bingham and Katie Mahoney were selected for the duty for the 2006 squad.

In recent years, the members of the Arizona State University soccer program have been the walking definition of a 'student-athlete' as the Sun Devils have held the top team grade-point average (GPA) of any varsity team on campus, signified by earning the Sparky Award since its inception three years ago. During the 2004 season, 20 of the team's 21 players recorded a 3.00 GPA or better while the 2005 edition saw 21 of the 25 rostered student-athletes attain the same standard. Also in 2005, the Sun Devil soccer program enjoyed success academically among the Pac-10 Conference as well as the nation. In the league, the Sun Devils saw a school-record 11 student-athletes attain Academic All-Pac-10 accolades, including a program-best four first-team honorees. Among the 10-team league, the Sun Devils had the most first-team honorees (four) and placed the third-most student-athletes on the overall list with 11 total. On the regional level, ASU also placed five of its players on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District VIII lists, including Elizabeth Bogus and Manya Makoski on the first team.

The Pioneers enter the weekend with a 3-0-1 record and have outscored their opponents by a 7-1 margin. Six different athletes have scored at least one goal for Denver with Taryn Hemmings leading the team with two scores on the year. So far this season, Denver has defeated SEC teams Alabama (4-0) and Mississippi (1-0) while tying Vanderbilt (1-1) before knocking off Clemson (1-0) from the ACC. The series history between ASU and DU stands 0-0-1 after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Denver during the 2002 season.

The Golden Knights enter the weekend sporting a 2-1-1 overall record after opening the season with 2-0 loss at Miami. They followed that with a 3-1 win at Florida International before returning home to score a 2-0 defeat of Florida Atlantic and a scoreless tie with Fresno State. Hanna Wilde and Jessica Hallgren each have scored two goals on the season for UCF. The Sun Devils and Golden Knights will be meeting for the first time.

This weekend, the Sun Devils will once again play a member of Conference USA while playing just its second contest against a Sun Belt Conference team. While the

The Sun Devils will play one road and one home match next weekend, opening on the road against UC Santa Barbara on Friday, September 15, starting at 5 p.m. before closing out the weekend at home with Pepperdine on Sunday, September 17, at 5 p.m. Fans can use coupons found on the soccer page of to receive Buy 1 Get 1 Free admission for the Pepperdine match.

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