Huskies Look To Extend Hot Start At Home

Sept. 26, 2008

By Honsen Lin
The Daily

After three long years, the Washington Huskies women's soccer team has found its way back into the top 25 of the Soccer Buzz rankings. The No. 21 ranked Huskies (7-1-0) will look to keep their momentum against two non-conference opponents -- Utah and Hawai'i.

One intriguing question is how well will the Huskies be able to bounce back after getting shut out in their last game against Illinois.

Senior forward Melissa Beal said the offense will not be a problem despite missing out on numerous second-half scoring opportunities.

'It's not like a setback, having a shutout in Illinois,' Beal said. 'I think we'll come out strong in the Utah game.'

Junior forward Veronica Perez will lead the Husky attack. She is having a breakout season, scoring six goals in eight games, tripling her career total of two. Perez will be joined by Beal and junior forward Alex Kirk, who leads the team in assists.

As important as scoring has been, the Huskies wouldn't be ranked No. 21 if it weren't for the defense.

Junior defender Kendyl Pele outlined the team philosophy.

'We're really defensive-minded and it's not only our back four, it's our whole team,' she said. 'It's just a huge part of our game, and it's one of our strengths.'

The Huskies will seek to stick to their game plan this season, one that saw them give up only three points overall in their seven wins.

'We don't really try to cater to [our opponents'] personal style,' Pele said. 'We're aware about that, we just try to play our game defensively.'

Today the UW will face a tested Utah Utes team with a 3-5-2 record.

Husky coach Lesle Gallimore said Utah's record is not indicative of how good they are.

'They finish well,' Gallimore said. 'They're dangerous on restart, they're organized, and they play from minute one through minute 90.'

The Huskies have faced Utah three times in the past, all losses, including last year's 3-2 defeat.

'I'm not a big reflector on past records and history of beating a team,' Gallimore said. 'I mean, I just think new team, new year and history means nothing. It's Friday at 7 p.m., our team versus their team ... I know we're going to come out prepared and try to do the best we can.'

After Utah, the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine come to Seattle Sunday bringing their own style of soccer.

'They will be very good in possession,' Gallimore said. 'They'll be quick on the attack, they'll be organized defensively, and those are the things you have to, on the day, make sure you're prepared for,'

Sunday is also Alumni Day at Husky Soccer Field, at which Olympic gold-medal winner and goalkeeper, alumnus Hope Solo, will be in attendance.

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