2006 Season In Review: Sun Devil Soccer

Nov. 24, 2006

Year In Review (pdf) | Final Statistics | Schedule/Results

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University soccer team completed its 11th season of varsity play this year with an 8-8-3 overall record and a 3-5-1, finishing seventh overall in the league. Here is what sixth-year Head Coach Ray Leone had to say about his team and the season:

Coach Leone on the season as a whole:
'We will take a lot of positives from this season,' Leone said. 'We played one of the toughest schedules in the country and were competitive in every game. We had a lot of growing pains with so many freshman, but I believe we will be stronger next year because of the adversity we dealt with this year. The team really played a gritty style and I am proud of the team's toughness and resilience shown all year.

Coach Leone on a tough stretch at the start of conference play:
'We had a very young team and had a bad stretch where we did not score enough goals in the middle of the season,' Leone said. 'Our record is not what we had hoped for at the start of the year, but considering that five-match stretch, we finished pretty well.'

Coach Leone on the close contests and strong finish:
'Every match we lost in 2006 was by one goal and we played two of the Final 4 teams from 2005 (UCLA and Florida State) quite well this year,' Leone said. 'We finished the year 2-0-1 in the final three matches and that earned us a .500 record overall. We now look to working on scoring so those one-goal matches turn into wins for us in the future.'

Coach Leone on the play of the defense:
'We were very sound at the back and in the goal, setting a school record for goals against in a season,' Leone said. 'Kim Bingham had an awesome year, her best ever, and we hope she gets a chance at the next level at some point. She was amazing against the Mexican National Team. That match was one of the highlights of our season and again, gave us more experience for next year.'

Coach Leone on the home crowd:
'Our fans were fantastic this year,' Leone said. 'It was our best showing in the six years I have been at Arizona State and we hope to build upon the great support shown for our players not only next year, but also beyond.'

Coach Leone on looking ahead to 2007:
'Next year, we want to keep the toughness, but improve our play,' Leone said. 'Our main focus will be our possession game and creating more attacking chances as we look to improve for next fall.'

How did you think the freshman class played this year?
'They did well,' Leone said. 'They learned a lot about competing at this level. They paid their dues this season and I know they will be much stronger next year because of this season and our spring development program.'

How did you think the Pac-10 season went?
'Well, we struggled scoring in the middle of the season and unfortunately that came as we started Pac-10 play,' Leone said. 'However, we finished strong, going 2-0-1 in our final three matches against the Pac-10. I think we, as a conference, were very surprised that only four Pac-10 teams were invited to the NCAA Championships this year.'

What are you thoughts about playing against the Mexican National Team?
'It was an awesome experience playing against one of the best teams in the world,' Leone said. 'We held our own and were very pleased to see so many fans at the game.'

What sticks out about this season?
'All the games were so close,' Leone said. 'That kind of pressure will help us next year because we learned a lot being in so many tough matches. Experience can't be given to you; you have to earn it and that is what we did all season long. I am proud of how this team fought all season through the ups and the downs.'

What is your outlook for next year?
'It is a great time to be a Sun Devil,' Leone said. 'We have a great nucleus returning next year and a spring training program still ahead of us. That training will be invaluable to our young team as we pursue our ultimate goal of getting the Sun Devils back to the NCAA tournament and compete for a national title.'

Following the season, the Pac-10 Conference announced several 'team' honors with several Sun Devils earning a placement on those lists. The conference announced its All-Pac-10 selections first with GK Kim Bingham earning a placement on the first team. The lone Sun Devil to earn a place on the all-conference playing team, Bingham was joined by five other teammates on the academic teams as she and Kyleyn Felts both earned First Team Academic All-Pac-10 honors. Alissa Oldenkamp was a second-team selection while Lara Kezer, Lauren Niblett and Kylla Sjoman all were honorable mention selections.

Two other academic awards were announced with Kim Bingham and Kyleyn Felts earning high placements. Both student-athletes were selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII First Team, making them eligible for national honors. Bingham was then selected as an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team selection as only three goalkeepers are honored each year.

Led by a stellar performance in the goal by Kim Bingham, the Sun Devil defense turned in the best performance in school history as the back line limited Arizona State's opponents to 17 goals allowed, surpassing the previous low of 23. In all, the defense recorded seven shutouts, the second-most in a single season and allowed more than two goals against only once this season, a 3-2 defeat at No. 25 Stanford.

GK Kim Bingham moved her name up both the single-season and career ledgers for keepers at Arizona State with her performances in 2006. On the career lists, Bingham ended her career ranked second in all three major categories: total saves (264), goals against average (1.15) and shut outs (16.5). On the single season ledger, her 89 saves in 2006 ranked as the fifth-most while her 0.86 goals against average and 7.0 shut outs both are the second-best showings in a season. Her 0.86 GAA was just behind the leader, Kelly Fitzgerald (2003), who recorded a 0.85 GAA.

The Sun Devils held an 8-8-3 record with seven of the team's victories seeing the defense post a shut out. Conversely, five of the eight losses this season came with the Sun Devils not scoring with five losses coming in 1-0 decisions.

Twice this season, the Sun Devil defense put together long scoreless streaks with the latest ending over the weekend in Santa Barbara, Calif. After opening the year with a streak of 272 minutes and 14 seconds, the Sun Devils held St. Louis without a goal for the final 25:03 of match before shutting out both Denver and UCF in Las Vegas. Adding in the 22:04 of scoreless play at UC Santa Barbara, the Sun Devils latest streak totaled 286:51.

The defense held seven opponents scoreless, three more than the team compiled last season. The shut out total of 2006 is tied for the third-most in a season at Arizona State with the 2000 squad setting the bar high with 10 shut outs while 2003 (8), 2002 (7) and 2001 (6) round out the Top 5. Overall, teams coached by Ray Leone and his staff have accumulated 37 of the program's 61 shutouts, averaging 5.5 shut outs per season in his tenure with the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils scored by committee in 2006 with 13 of the 20 players that saw action during the season recorded at least one point. Courtney Crane led the team in points with 13 while her five goals also led the team in 2006. Freshman Dante Perea and junior Alissa Oldenkamp both tied for second in scoring with identical 10-point totals on three goals and four assists while freshman Brittney Doty and sophomore Lara Kezer were next in line with eight points each (Doty scored four goals while Kezer added three goals and two assists). The team also received 16 points from its back line as Kyleyn Felts (two goals and one assist) and Kylla Sjoman (the team leader with five assists) each tallied five points while Lauren Niblett added three points (one goal and one assist) and keeper Kim Bingham chipped in an assist in the first match of the year.

A total of six Sun Devils scored the first goals of their careers this season, including three true freshmen and three juniors. Rookies Dante Perea and Brittney Doty each scored their first collegiate goals during the first week of play while fellow classmate Carly Kallas added her first later in the season. The junior class also had three newcomers to the collegiate scoring list as Alissa Oldenkamp, Kyleyn Felts and Lauren Niblett each recorded their first.

Seven different Sun Devils also recorded the first assists of their careers, including GK Kim Bingham, who assisted on a goal in the first match of the year. True freshmen Dante Perea and Liz Harkin recorded helpers in their first seasons of collegiate play while upperclassman Kyleyn Felts, Lara Kezer, Christine Nieva and Kylla Sjoman each tallied their first assists.

Arizona State's 1-0 upset of No. 12 California Sunday afternoon in Berkeley marked the first victory the Sun Devils have recorded in four tries this season, posting a 1-2-1 record in those contests. The Sun Devils tied No. 27 St. Louis (1-1) two days removed from falling in overtime to No. 1 Florida State (1-0). The win over the Golden Bears was the first for the Sun Devils against a ranked foe since defeating No. 16 Arizona, 1-0, at home in 2004. The last time ASU knocked off a ranked foe on the road also game in Berkeley as the Sun Devils scored a 1-0 defeat of then-No. 14 Cal during the 2004 season. The last time the Sun Devils defeated a higher ranked foe came during the 2001 season when ASU scored a 1-0 overtime defeat of then-No. 2 Stanford in Tempe.

Arizona State's friendly with Mexico saw a Sun Devil Soccer Stadium crowd of 2,136 fans in attendance to witness the match. The previous record was set on September 10, 2004, when No. 5 Notre Dame defeated the Sun Devils, 2-1, in front of 1,505 fans.

Christine Nieva, a sophomore on the ASU squad, recently gained international experience with the Mexican U-20 team as she and her teammates traveled to 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, played in three matches and started all three. In the first match, the Mexicans scored a 4-2 defeat of Switzerland before dropping a tough decision to Germany, the defending champions before being knocked out of the event by eventual World Champion Korea. Nieva and her teammates' victory over Switzerland marked the first time in Mexican history that a women's team had won a match in World Cup play.

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.

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