No. 18 Huskies Head To Portland For Final Non-Conference Match

Sept. 30, 2008

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This Week's Schedule

Friday, Oct. 3, 2008
No. 18/23 Washington (9-1-0) at No. 3/5 Portland (9-1-0) • 4:30 p.m. PT
Clive Charles Soccer Complex • Portland, Ore.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

The 18th-ranked Washington's women's soccer team faces its final non-conference test this week with a match against No. 3/5 Portland at Clive Charles Soccer Complex in Portland, Ore., Friday at 4:30 p.m. This will mark the Huskies' second trip down the I-5 corridor to Portland in 2008 but the first time UW will face its Northwest rival this season. Three weeks ago, UW competed in the Portland Nike Invitational where they went 2-0, posting wins over San Diego State and Northern Arizona.

The Huskies will look to pull the upset and improve on their already-stellar 9-1 start, which equals the best 10-game start in program history. The 2000 and 2004 teams, which went further than any teams in UW women's soccer history, also went 9-1 with only the 2000 team getting to the 10-1 plateau. The 2004 team was the last Husky team to beat Portland, one of only two times UW has beaten the Pilots in their long history against each other. The 2000 team is the only other Husky team to knock off Portland.

The Huskies posted two victories of the opposite variety last weekend, cruising to a 3-0 win over Utah on Friday and squeaking out a 2-1 nail-bitter in overtime against Hawai'i on Sunday. Kellye Joswick led the Huskies with two goals and an assist over the weekend while Jenna Robison was the hero in Sunday's win with the golden goal in overtime. The Husky defense was dominant as well, allowing just 10 shots in two games.

In the win over Utah, the Huskies did not allow the Utes to take a shot in the first half while jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Veronica Perez and McKenna Waitley. Joswick put the game away in the second half while Alex Phillips recorded her fourth shutout of the season and the Huskies earned their fifth overall.

On Sunday, UW got out of the gates fast with Joswick scoring just 1 minute, 37 seconds into the game but the Rainbow Wahine equaled the match in the 24th minute and the teams would stay even until the 98th minute when Robison set up to take a free kick after a Hawai'i foul. From the far right side and 30 yards out, Robison sent a high, arching shot far post and the ball carried just over the head of the Hawai'i keeper and into the back of the net, setting off a wild celebration at Husky Soccer Field.

The Huskies earned their first national ranking since the end of the 2004 season last week when they debuted at No. 21 in the Soccer Buzz rankings. This week, UW earned its highest ranking since they finished 10th in the final 2004 poll as they moved up to No. 18 in the Soccer Buzz rankings, thanks to two victories over quality opponents over the weekend. The Huskies also debuted in the Soccer America rankings this week, coming in at No. 23.

In Soccer Buzz's regional rankings, UW is ranked fifth this week, trailing only four top-five teams in Stanford, Portland, USC and UCLA.

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 Friday's match at Portland. Check the website to find links to all the action.

UW's 2-1 win over Hawai'i was just its second in an overtime match in the last seven tries. The Huskies' last OT win was a 3-2 victory over Arizona in 2006.

After a 9-1 start, the road gets a little more difficult to navigate for the Huskies as they face a brutal stretch of games over the next three weeks. UW's next four opponents are all ranked in the top five nationally and their next five opponents are in the top 25. Following their match against No. 3/5 Portland on Friday, the Huskies travel to No. 5/6 USC, the defending national champions, and No. 3/4 UCLA. The next weekend, UW hosts No. 2/6 Stanford and No. 20/26 California. It will be a key stretch for the Huskies, who are looking for their first NCAA tournament berth since 2004.

The Pilots are once again challenging for a national title, coming into the weekend with a 9-1 record which includes wins over three ranked teams, their most recent a 4-1 win over No. 22 Penn State last Sunday. The Pilots also knocked off then-No. 1 USC in just the third game of the season after suffering their lone setback so far to then-No. 3 UCLA, 1-0.

Portland is led by freshman Danielle Foxhoven, who has scored an incredible 11 goals in 10 games, and junior All-American Michelle Enyeart, who has tallied five goals and a team-high seven assists. Senior Megan Rapinoe and sophomore Elli Reed also pack punch for the Pilots while sophomore Sophie Schmidt played for Canada in the 2008 Olympic Games. Portland is coached by Garrett Smith, who has compiled a 105-16-7 record in his five-plus seasons as the leader of the Pilots including a national championship in 2005.

Portland has dominated the series with the Huskies, compiling an 18-2-1 record against UW with four of those wins coming in the NCAA tournament. After the two teams tied in their first ever match-up in 1991, the Pilots rattled off 10 consecutive wins over the Huskies before the 2000 team broke the streak with a 2-1 win in the regular season. The teams would meet again the 2000 postseason where Portland eliminated the Huskies, 1-0, in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

Portland would go on to win the next four matches between the schools before the Huskies knocked off the Pilots, 2-0, in 2004. Since then, Portland has outscored the Huskies 11-0 in winning the last three matches, but the Huskies hung in last season, dropping a 1-0 decision at Husky Soccer Field. History may be on UW's side as their two victories against Portland have come on the Pilots home field.

It seems no one is more ready to play at the start of a match than Kellye Joswick, who has made a habit of scoring fast goals for the Huskies.

Last Sunday, Joswick gave the Huskies the early lead in their match against Hawai'i, scoring off a pass from McKenna Waitley just one minute, 37 seconds into the match. The goal came a minute slower than her fastest goal this season, however. In a match against Colgate in the Husky/Nike Invitational, Joswick set a UW record by scoring just 37 seconds into the match. That bested the previous record held by Tami Bennett, who scored 50 seconds into a game in 2000.

Veronica Perez has had a breakout season for the Huskies in 2008, scoring seven goals in the first 10 games, more than UW's season-ending leaders in each of the last three seasons. Not only has Perez been scoring often, she's also been scoring when it counts most, providing the game-winning goal in four of UW's nine wins. That mark already ranks tied for seventh all-time on the single season charts, behind the record of eight set by Tina Frimpong in 2004.

Perez , who came into this season with two goals and three assists in her first two seasons combined, leads the Huskies in goals (7), points (17) and shots (40).

Junior Alex Phillips came into this season having made one career start and playing a total of 135 minutes in goal in her career, but she earned the job over freshman phenom Kari Davidson and has proven to head coach Lesle Gallimore she made the right decision.

In nine starts, Phillips has allowed just seven goals and has made 16 saves. She has posted four of UW's five shutouts this season, tied for seventh on the single-season charts. Kelsey Rasmussen holds the record with 10 in 2004.

At the halfway point of the season, 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 10 games this season, the Huskies are off to the second-best start in program history at 9-1-0, tied with the 2000 team - which won the Pac-10 title - and just behind 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.

The Huskies are three wins shy of equaling their win total from the last two seasons combined as they went 5-13-1 last season and 7-12-1 in 2005. Led by a trio of upperclassmen and strong contributions from a slew of underclassmen, the Huskies are outscoring their opponents, 22-7, this season and have limited teams to an average of just over six shots a game. Juniors Veronica Perez and Alex Kirk lead the Huskies in goals (7) and assists (5), respectively, while senior Melissa Beal has chipped in four goals, two of which have been game-winners.

Husky senior Melissa Beal gave the Huskies their seventh consecutive victory to open the 2008 season two weeks ago, scoring an unassisted goal in the 87th minute to give UW a 1-0 victory over Purdue. It was Beal's second game-winning goal of the season and the fifth of her career, which put her in a tie for ninth all-time in the UW record books.

Beal also moved into the top-10 for career goals scored two weekends ago with her 15th career goal. The senior is back as a scoring force for the Huskies this season with four goals in the first 10 games. Beal had nine goals combined in her first two seasons at UW before finding the back of the net just twice in 2007.

Junior Alex Kirk is showing her unselfish nature this season as the Edmonds, Wash., native leads the Huskies with five assists. Kirk has been finding her teammates at the right time as three of her passes have led to game-winning goals. That mark already ranks tied for eighth on the UW single-season charts and she needs just two more game-winning assists to tie the single-season record.

Showing she can also find the net herself, Kirk scored twice in the Huskies' two victories against San Diego State and Northern Arizona at the Portland Nike Invitational and she is second on the squad with nine points.

Defender Hannah Greig has also been a big factor in UW's success as she has chipped in four assists.

A big part of UW's hot start this season has been the performance of their defense which has allowed just 0.70 goals per game. UW has allowed more than one goal in a game once, which came in a 3-0 loss to No. 21/24 Illinois.

As it stands, the Huskies have posted five shutouts this season and have allowed opponents to take just 63 total shots in 10 games. They have out-shot their opponents in all 10 contests this season. Head coach Lesle Gallimore credits defenders Kendyl Pele and Lindsey Kasser with holding down the backline while junior goalkeeper Alex Phillips has also been a positive force in goal, posting four shutouts and amassing an 8-1 record.

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