Huskies Look To Tie Best Start In Program History

Sept. 17, 2008

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This Week's Schedule
Friday, Sept. 19, 2008
Washington (6-0-0) vs. No. 28 Purdue (5-2-1) • 2 p.m. PT
Varsity Soccer Complex • West Lafayette, Ind.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008
Washington vs. No. 23 Illinois (4-3-0) • 11 a.m. PT
Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium • Champaign, Ill.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

The Washington women's soccer team continues a four-game road swing as they travel to the Midwest to take on two nationally ranked Big Ten foes - the 28th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers on Friday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. PT and No. 23 Illinois, Sunday, Sept. 21 at Noon.

The undefeated Huskies are coming off two road victories last weekend and are off to the second-best start in program history at 6-0-0. With two victories this weekend against two quality teams, the Huskies would equal the 2004 team for the best start in program history at 8-0-0. This weekend will mark UW's first games against ranked teams as Purdue is ranked No. 28 by Soccer Buzz while Illinois comes in at No. 23 in the latest NSCAA/adidas rankings.

UW took the short trek down I-5 to Portland last weekend for the Portland Nike Invitational and came away with two victories, shutting out San Diego State, 2-0, on Friday and improving to 6-0 with a 3-1 win over Northern Arizona in their final game of the weekend.

Juniors Veronica Perez and Alex Kirk continued to be a stellar one-two punch for the Huskies as Kirk tallied two goals and an assist over the weekend to give her a team-leading four assists on the season while Perez contributed two assists and added her sixth goal in the win over the Lumberjacks.

Another junior, Alex Phillips, got both wins in goal over the weekend including her second shutout of the season over the Aztecs. Kirk scored the game-winner in the 21st minute off an assist from Perez and freshman Kate Deines added her second goal of the season to seal the deal. Against NAU, senior Melissa Beal scored just over three minutes into the contest, but the Lumberjacks came out strong in the second half and tied the match just five minutes into the period. The Huskies responded with two goals in the next 10 minutes - one each by Perez and Kirk - to stay perfect on the season.

While the season is still relatively young, Washington looks poised to return to the national spotlight 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.

Through six games this season, the Huskies are off to the second-best start in program history at 6-0-0, tied with the 2000 team, which won the Pac-10 title, and the 2004 team which advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. Time will tell if the 2008 team can keep up the Olympic-year success, but so far they are on pace to join those teams in the record books.

This year's team has scored at least two goals in each of the first six games, a first in the 18-year history of the program, and they are on pace to score 54 goals this season which would challenge the single-season record of 56 set in 2000. Junior Veronica Perez has led the way, scoring six goals in six games, netting at least one in five of the six contests. At that pace, Perez could also reach the single-season record of 16 shared by Tina (Frimpong) Ellertson and Tami (Bennett) Nguyen.

With six wins this season, Washington has already surpassed its win total from the 2007 season when they posted a 5-13-1 record.

The Boilermakers come into Friday's contest with a 5-2-1 record and a No. 28 ranking in the latest Soccer Buzz poll. Purdue won four of their first five games before tying Louisville and falling to No. 19 Miami last week. Both of Purdue's losses have come to ranked opponents, the other coming in their opening match against current No. 25 Kansas.

Purdue is coming off a 2007 season which was one of the finest in program history. They went 20-2-3 and captured the program's first-ever Big Ten tournament championship. The Boilermakers went on to advance to the NCAA Second Round before falling to Indiana in a shootout. Four starters return from that team, including 2007 leading scorer Loredana Riverso and 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jessica Stellhorn. Purdue has featured a balanced attack this season with four different players scoring three goals and two others contributing a pair of goals.

Friday's match will mark just the second meeting between the schools with both coming in back-to-back seasons. The Boilermakers competed in last year's Husky/Nike Invitational and defeated the Huskies, 3-1, then went on to upset Portland to become the first team besides UW and Portland to win the Husky/Nike Invitational in the 14-year history of the tournament.

The Illini won their first four matches of the season but have since lost three in a row to dip to 4-3 on the season and 23rd in the rankings after reaching as high as No. 15 on Sept. 2. One of those losses came at the hands of No. 16 Florida and the Illini will face another ranked opponent in No. 26 Colorado College before facing the Huskies on Sunday.

Illinois returns six starters this season from a team which went 12-7-2 in 2007 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Junior Chichi Nweke leads this year's squad with two goals and two assists. The Illini also feature senior defender Emily Zurrer, who was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List for the second year in a row. After spending the first part of the summer with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the W-League, Zurrer was selected to the Canadian Women's National Team where she started on the back line at the Olympics.

This weekend marks the first-ever meeting with the Huskies and the Fighting Illini.

UW has a strong history against Big-Ten schools, going 9-4 against schools from the conference. They have faced seven of the league's 11 schools, posting 2-0 records against both Michigan and Michigan State and going 2-1 against Ohio State. They have also defeated Northwestern but are 0-1 against Purdue and Wisconsin.

Junior Veronica Perez has been the anchor of a much-improved Husky offense this season, scoring at least one goal in five of the Huskies' six games. Not only has she tripled her career goal output coming into the season, but her goals have come at the right time. Three of her six scores have been of the game-winning variety.

Last weekend, with defenses starting to key on the San Mateo, Calif., native, Perez showed her unselfish side as she dished out two assists to lead the Huskies to two more victories.

Washington received votes this week in both the NSCAA/adidas and Soccer Buzz rankings, the first time they have received votes in either poll since the end of the 2004 season.

The Huskies also moved up one spot to No. 9 in the Soccer Buzz West Region rankings, its highest ranking since 2004. This weekend's games against Purdue and Illinois mark their first games against ranked opponents this 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.

Husky senior Melissa Beal is inching closer toward putting her name in the Husky record books. Beal needs just one more goal to break into the all-time top 10 for career goals scored. With three goals this season, Beal now has 14 in her career, just one behind Jamie Carstensen (2000-03), Jana Wilson (1996-99) and Casey Dickerson (1995-98).

Beal also has one game-winning goal this season, giving her four in her career, one shy of breaking into the top-10 career charts in that category. One more game-winner would put Beal in a tie with six other players for ninth all-time.

Washington went 2-0 in the 14th annual Husky/Nike Invitational, downing Colgate, 4-1, and Kennesaw State. 2-0. The Huskies got three goals over the two games from junior Veronica Perez, who scored twice against Colgate. UW also made history in that contest when Kellye Joswick scored just 37 seconds into the match to break the old record for fastest goal by 13 seconds. It marked the ninth time the Huskies have gone 2-0 in their tournament.

It was Portland, however, that was named the winner of the tournament by virtue of scoring an incredible 14 goals in their two wins. The sixth-ranked Pilots exploded for three goals in the first half and five in the second half to defeat Kennesaw State, 8-0, on Friday. Portland then scored five goals in the first half against Colgate on Sunday and cruised to a 6-0 victory to capture their seventh Husky/Nike Invitational crown. Washington has won the tournament six times while Purdue is the only team outside the Northwest to win the tournament, doing so in 2007.

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.

Speaking of Deines, she showed no rookie nerves in her first collegiate match, scoring her first goal just 33 minutes into her career. Not only did the freshman net a goal for the Huskies, she also tied for the team lead with four shots in the match. Deines has started every game for the Huskies and has scored two goals.

Davidson, meanwhile, got her first collegiate start against Kennesaw State in the Husky/Nike Invitational and recorded her first win and shutout in the 2-0 victory. Davidson made one save and it was a beauty, diving to her right to save a shot that was headed for the top left corner of the net.

The Huskies started four freshmen against the Owls. Besides Deines and Davidson, Sarah Martinez and Kerry Leslie also got the starting nods. Fellow rookie Alex Webber has seen action in all six matches this season while Faustine Dufka and Siana May have also seen time.

Several Huskies have reached career firsts this season in a variety of categories. Four Huskies have recorded their first career goals, including sophomore Kendyl Pele and freshman Kate Deines, who both scored their first goals in the opener against Montana. Two more Huskies joined the club as sophomore Kellye Joswick scored her first goal and made history at the same time, scoring just 37 seconds into UW's 4-1 win over Colgate. Tess Bartlett got in on the action later in the game, scoring the Huskies' fourth goal of the game and the first of her career.

Alex Kirk not only got her first career assist against Montana but picked up two in the game and has four on the season. Hannah Greig, Jane Mitchell and McKenna Waitley have all recorded their first career assists this season. Junior goalkeeper Alex Phillips picked her first career shutout and victory in the 3-0 opening win over Montana while freshman Kari Davidson did the same in a 2-0 win over Kennesaw State.

Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore selected three players to serve as UW captains this season. All three are defenders as fifth-year senior Dana Stirn, junior Lindsey Kasser and sophomore Kendyl Pele will serve as the leaders on this year's squad.

Sophomore defender Kendyl Pele was named to the National Team of the Week following UW's two wins in the Husky/Nike Invitational.

Pele helped lead the Huskies to a 4-1 win over Colgate on Friday and a 2-0 shutout of Kennesaw State on Sunday. Pele and the Husky defense allowed just seven shots in the win over Colgate and posted their second shutout of the young season on Sunday, limiting Kennesaw State to just four shots. The Owls came into the weekend having scored 12 goals in their first four games.

Thanks in large part to Pele, the Huskies are off to a perfect 6-0 start, their best start to a season since the 2004 campaign when UW started 8-0 and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight, a program-best finish. They have allowed just three goals in six games this season after allowing nearly two goals a game in 2007.

Husky head coach Lesle Gallimore is in her 15th season at the helm of UW, the longest tenure of any Pac-10 coach. She ranks second on the Pac-10 coaching charts in all-time victories (148) and conference wins (56). She needs just two victories to move into sole possession of second place for Pac-10 victories.

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.

Former Husky teammates and All-Americans Hope Solo and Tina Frimpong (Ellertson) will be reunited as both were allocated to the St. Louis franchise of the Women's Pro Soccer league Tuesday, Sept. 16 during a ceremony at the Sports Museum of America in downtown Manhattan.

Solo and Ellertson were among 21 U.S. National Team pool members who were allocated to the seven teams in the new WPS league, which kicks off its inaugural season next spring. Teammates for two seasons at UW, Solo played for Washington from 1999-2002 while Ellertson competed for the Huskies from 2001-2004. The 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a two-time All-American, Solo led Washington to the 2000 Pac-10 title. Ellertson, meanwhile, was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and an All-American in 2004 when she led the Huskies to an NCAA Elite Eight finish.

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, Most away games can also be followed via the internet, including this weekend's games against Purdue and Illinois. Check the website to find links to all the action.

The Huskies conclude a two-week road swing this weekend before returning to Husky Soccer Field. Following this weekend's trip to the Midwest, the Huskies return home Sept. 26 and 28 to host Utah and Hawai'i.

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