Women's Soccer Hits the Road for Season Opener

Aug. 27, 2008

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Thurs., Aug. 28, 2008 - 4 p.m.
Washington (0-0-0) at Montana (0-2-0)
South Campus Stadium, Missoula, Mont.
Live scoring at GoHuskies.com

Sun., Aug. 31, 2008 - 1 p.m.
Washington at Gonzaga (1-1-0)
Gonzaga Soccer Field, Spokane, Wash.
Live scoring at GoHuskies.com

The University of Washington women's soccer team kicks off its 2008 campaign this week with two non-conference road games. The Huskies first venture to Missoula, Mont., to take on the University of Montana, Thursday, Aug. 28 at 4 p.m. After a two-day break, UW will then face in-state rival Gonzaga on Sunday in Spokane, Wash., at 1 p.m. at the brand new Gonzaga Soccer Field.

The Huskies will hope history is on their side this weekend as they own a combined 11-1 record against both Montana and Gonzaga in the history of their series'. UW is 6-1 all-time against the Zags but lost the last time the teams faced each other, a 1-0 decision in Seattle in 2005. The Huskies and Montana have not battled since the 2001 season, when the Huskies came away with a 1-0 victory in Missoula. The Huskies lead the all-time series with the Grizzlies 5-1.

The Grizzlies are looking to rebound after a 3-12-2 season in 2007 and an eighth-place finish in the Big Sky Conference. They return eight starters to the pitch in 2008, including 2007 All-Big Sky Conference second-team selection Sara Aspinwall. Montana will head into its match against Washington looking to pick up their first win of the season as they dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions last weekend to Washington State and Minnesota.

The Bulldogs are coming off a program-best 12-win season in 2007, the school's fifth consecutive campaign of 10 wins or more. But the Zags will be hungry in 2008 after missing out on the 2007 NCAA tournament despite a 12-7-1 record. The team is led by six returning starters from the 2007 squad, including senior Kelcey Goddard, a 2007 All-WCC second team selection, and sophomore keeper Lauren Ames, who was tabbed for the WCC All-Freshman team a season ago. Gonzaga kicked off their season last weekend with a 4-0 loss to Long Beach State before rebounding with a 1-0 win over Portland State.

Washington is looking to finally shake the rebuilding label this season as they look to bounce back from three consecutive losing seasons following a program-best Elite Eight finish in 2004.

The Huskies return seven starters to the field in 2008 including senior Jenna Robison, the team's second-leading returning scorer and an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick two seasons ago. Fellow senior Melissa Beal will also look to add punch as she led the Huskies in scoring her first two seasons before finishing third on the squad last season.

The Huskies will once again feature a challenging schedule in 2008 as they take on seven opponents ranked in the NSCAA pre-season top 25 poll. UW will also face nine teams that appeared in the 2007 NCAA tournament, including defending NCAA champion USC and national semifinalist UCLA. Of the seven ranked teams the Huskies will face in 2008, four come from the difficult Pac-10 conference.

With just four seniors on the squad, the Huskies will rely on a handful of juniors and sophomores to help carry the load in 2008. They will also look for contributions from a strong freshman class, which was rated No. 33 in the country by Soccer Buzz.

The rookie class is headlined by two-time Washington state Player of the Year Kate Deines, who amassed 76 goals in her high school career at Issaquah High School. Also looking to make an immediate impact is goalkeeper Kari Davidson, who enjoyed a standout high school career at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore.

UW opens its home schedule with the 13th annual Husky/Nike Invitational, Sept. 5 and 7 at Husky Soccer Field. The tournament includes Colgate, Kennesaw State and Portland, with the Huskies taking on Colgate, Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. followed by a match against Kennesaw State, Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1:30 p.m. The Huskies will take on Portland, who won last season's Husky/Nike Invitational, later in the season.

The tournament has been dominated by Washington and Portland in its 12-year existence, with each team emerging victorious six times. Portland has won the last two events while the Huskies won the previous three times it was held.

Tickets for all Husky home matches are on sale now either online at GoHuskies.com or by calling the Husky Ticket Office at 206-543-2200. Tickets may also be purchased at the field on game day. Individual tickets prices are $6 for adults, $4 for children/seniors and $3 for groups of 15 or more purchased in advance.

Washington will be without the services of former National Team goalkeeper and Associate Head Coach Amy Griffin for part of the season as she heads to New Zealand with the Under-17 Women's National Team for the first-ever U-17 World Cup.

Griffin, who was in goal when the U.S. won the first-ever women's World Cup in 1991, has been the goalkeeper coach for the U-17 team the past two summers. She recently led the team to victory in the CONCACAF Women's Championship in Trinidad & Tobago, giving the team a berth in the World Cup, which takes place Oct. 28-Nov. 16 in New Zealand.

Former Husky goalkeeper Hope Solo played perhaps the best game of her international career when it mattered most, shutting out Brazil, 1-0, to lead the United States to the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, China.

Solo, a two-time All-American and the 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year, registered six saves in the match, none bigger than two key saves late in regulation and overtime which preserved the win. Solo posted three shutouts in six games in Beijing, the biggest coming in the match that gave the U.S. their third gold medal in women's soccer and Solo's first.

The Huskies were picked to finish eighth in the Pac-10 coaches' preseason poll. Among the team's ahead of UW are Stanford, who was tabbed as the favorite to win the conference, and 2007 College Cup participants UCLA and USC, who were picked second and third, respectively. USC is the defending NCAA champion while UCLA is the defending Pac-10 champion. Stanford received six first-place votes, UCLA three and USC one.

California was picked to finish fourth, followed by Arizona State and Washington State, who tied for fifth in the voting. Oregon came in just ahead of Washington at seventh. Arizona and Oregon State round out the poll in ninth and 10th, respectively.

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, including this weekend's games at Montana and Gonzaga. Check the GoHuskies.com website to find links to all the action.

Husky head coach Lesle Gallimore is entering her 15th season at the helm of UW, the longest tenure of any Pac-10 coach. She comes into the season ranked second on the Pac-10 coaching charts in all-time victories (142) and conference wins (56). She needs just two victories to move into sole posession of second place for Pac-10 victories.

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