No. 16 Huskies Open Pac-10 Play In Los Angeles

Oct. 7, 2008

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This Week's Schedule

Friday, Oct. 10, 2008
No. 16 Washington (9-2-0) at No. 5/6 USC (10-1-0) • 3 p.m. PT
McAlister Field • Los Angeles, Calif.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008
No. 16 Washington at No. 3/4 UCLA (9-0-2) • 1 p.m. PT
Drake Stadium • Los Angeles, Calif.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

After one of the most successful pre-seasons in program history, the 16th-ranked Washington Huskies head into Pac-10 play this weekend as they travel down to Los Angeles to face the defending national champion No. 5/6 USC Trojans, Friday at 3 p.m., followed by a battle with No. 3/4 UCLA, Sunday at 1 p.m. The two L.A. schools own a combined 19-1-2 record and are the second and third games in a stretch of four-consecutive matches against top-five teams for the Huskies.

Coming off a narrow 1-0 loss to No. 3/5 Portland last week, the Huskies face USC and UCLA this weekend before hosting No. 2/6 Stanford and No. 19/25 California next weekend. They will get their four most difficult Pac-10 foes out of the way before their final five games of the season during which they hope to earn enough victories to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.

After collecting nine victories in their first 10 games the Huskies faced their first top-10 opponent last Friday in No. 3/5 Portland and nearly came away with the upset. UW forced the Pilots to overtime - the first time the two teams have gone to overtime since 1994 - before Portland prevailed, 1-0.

It was a valiant effort for the Huskies at Portland's home field but in the end they suffered their second 1-0 loss in as many seasons to the Pilots. Freshman Halley Kreminski scored the game-winner four minutes into overtime, sneaking a ball past UW goalkeeper Alex Phillips who played well the entire game, making four saves. Junior Veronica Perez led the Huskies with four of the team's six shots.

The Huskies earned their first national ranking since the end of the 2004 season two weeks ago when they debuted at No. 21 in the Soccer Buzz rankings. UW comes in at No. 16 this week after forcing No. 3 Portland into overtime last weekend. In Soccer Buzz's regional rankings, UW is ranked fifth this week, trailing only four top-five teams in Stanford, Portland, USC and UCLA. Perhaps most important is this week's first RPI ranking, which have UW at No. 19 after a strong pre-season schedule.

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 matches at USC and UCLA. Check the website to find links to all the action.

After a 9-1 start, the road has gotten a little more difficult to navigate for the Huskies as they are in the midst of a brutal stretch of games. UW is in a stretch of four consecutive games against top-five teams and five-consecutive games against top-25 opponents. After a 1-0 loss to No. 3/5 Portland last Friday, the Huskies travel to No. 5/6 USC, the defending national champions, and No. 3/4 UCLA this weekend. Next weekend, UW hosts No. 2/6 Stanford and No. 19/25 California. It will be a key stretch for the Huskies, who are looking for their first NCAA tournament berth since 2004.

After winning the NCAA title last season, the Women of Troy look poised to make another run this season as they come into the weekend with a 10-1 record, having lost only to No. 3/5 Portland. USC has won eight-consecutive matches since that setback, including wins of 7-0 over Cal-State Bakersfield and 2-1 over Cal-State Northridge in their final Pac-10 tune-ups last weekend.

The Women of Troy are led by Olympic gold-medalist Amy Rodriguez, who has scored five goals and provided three assists after leading USA to gold in Beijing in August. Sophomore Ashli Sandoval leads USC with 17 points (five goals, seven assists) while another sophomore, Alyssa Davila, has netted a team-high six goals. USC is coached by Ali Khosroshahin, who is in his second season after leading the team to a 20-3-2 record and the NCAA title last season, which earned him National Coach of the Year honors.

The Women of Troy hold a slight edge in the series, having won the last three matches between the teams to earn a 7-6-1 record over the Huskies. The Trojans won last year's contest, 2-1, in Seattle, when Ashli Sandoval broke a 1-1 tie in the 86th minute to edge UW. After USC scored just 1 minute, 58 seconds into the game, the Huskies equaled the game when Katy Dowling knocked in a rebound off her own shot in the 11th minute. The match was significant for current UW goalkeeper Alex Phillips as it marked her first career start in goal and her only start coming into this season. UW will look for their first win over the Women of Troy since the 2004 season when they emerged victorious, 2-1, in double OT.

The defending Pac-10 champions are ranked No. 3/4 this week and come into the weekend with a 10-0-2 record. The only blemishes on their record are 0-0 ties against Brown and at Santa Clara. UCLA posted an impressive victory earlier this season over No. 3/5 Portland.

The Bruins are led by reigning National and Pac-10 Player of the Year junior Lauren Cheney, who leads the team with five goals and five assists. Fellow U.S. National Team pool player and All-American senior Christina DiMartino is right behind her with four goals and three assists. Senior goalkeeper Ashley Thompson has come up big with 34 saves this season and has posted five shutouts. The Bruins are coached by Jillian Ellis, the winningest coach in Pac-10 women's soccer history, having compiled a 173-33-9 record at UCLA, leading the team to six Pac-10 titles and six NCAA College Cup appearances.

UW has struggled against the Bruins, winning just twice in 14 tries for a 2-11-1 record. The Huskies will look to snap a seven-match losing streak against the women of Westwood which dates back to a 1-0 overtime win for the Huskies in Seattle in 2000, the year UW won its lone Pac-10 title. UCLA came away with a 3-0 win in Seattle last season.

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.

Two weekends ago, 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 11 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).

Senior Jenna Robison was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week last week after her game-winning goal in overtime which gave UW a 2-1 win over Hawai'i. Robison's free kick from 30 yards out snuck in with just over a minute to play in the first OT to give UW a 9-1 record. Three weeks before, sophomore defender Kendyl Pele was named to National Team of the Week following UW's two wins in the Husky/Nike Invitational.

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