Huskies Hit The Road To Face Oregon Schools

Oct. 21, 2008

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This Week's Schedule

Friday, Oct. 24, 2008
Washington (10-5-0, 1-3-0) at Oregon State (5-6-2, 0-2-1) • 5:30 p.m. PT
Paul Lorenz Field • Corvallis, Ore.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008
Washington vs. Oregon (7-5-2, 0-2-1) • 1 p.m. PT
Pape Field • Eugene, Ore.
Live stats available via Gametracker,

The Washington women's soccer team (10-5-0, 1-3-0) embarks on a three-game road swing this week, starting with the Oregon schools. The Huskies will face Oregon State on Friday at 5:30 p.m. followed by a match against Oregon on Sunday at Noon.

After a stretch of five-consecutive matches against ranked teams - including the top four teams in the Pac-10 standings - UW will face its first team with a losing record in Oregon State since handing Utah a 3-0 loss back on Sept. 26. Coming off a big win against then-No. 13 California last Sunday for its first Pac-10 victory, UW will look to finish the season strong in their final five games to earn its first NCAA tournament bid since 2004.

After a tough 5-1 defeat on Friday to the second-ranked Stanford Cardinal, the Huskies rebounded to upset then-No. 13 California, 3-2, on Sunday to earn their first victory over a top 25 team, which could have big implications come tournament selection time.

UW succumbed to the Cardinal on Friday night as Stanford scored three goals in the first half and two in the second half, but the Huskies got some strong performances from reserves off the bench and freshman goalkeeper Kari Davidson, forced into duty after junior Alex Phillips tore her ACL, gained some valuable experience against some of the top players in the country, which would come in handy two days later.

Against Cal, UW fell behind twice, 1-0 and 2-1, but showed their heart when they made a furious comeback in the final 15 minutes. After freshman Kate Deines scored her third goal of the season early in the second half to make it 1-1, Cal came right back to re-take the lead on an indirect kick in the 68th minute. That's when junior Veronica Perez took over, scoring twice in the final 15 minutes, including taking matters into her own hands in the 83rd minute when she dribbled past two defenders in the right corner and sent a shot far post that just trickled past the Cal goalkeeper. The Golden Bears tried to make a furious comeback in the final minutes, but Davidson rose to the occasion and made two crucial saves to give the Huskies their first Pac-10 victory.

While the Huskies are not ranked in either the NSCAA, Soccer America or Soccer Buzz rankings this week, they come in at No. 18 in the NCAA RPI rankings, which will be very important come tournament selection time. After facing the No. 2 team in Stanford and defeating Cal last weekend, UW moved up two spots after being ranked No. 20 last week.

The RPI takes strength of schedule into consideration and the Huskies have certainly faced one of the most difficult schedules in the country, especially recently, as they have had to face No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 in the RPI rankings over the last three weeks (Stanford, Portland and UCLA, respectively) along with No. 14 USC. The Huskies pushed both Portland and USC to overtime before falling just short.

UW has reached the postseason every year in which they have won at least 10 games in Lesle Gallimore's 14 seasons. UW reached 10 wins with a 3-2 victory over Cal last Sunday.

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 at Oregon State and Oregon. Check the website to find links to all the action.

The Beavers come into Friday's match with a 5-6-2 overall record and an 0-2-1 Pac-10 ledger after settling for a 0-0 tie against rival Oregon over the weekend. It was the fifth overtime game of the season for the Beavers, who are 1-2-2 in such matches. Oregon State is accustomed to close games as all five of their wins have come by one goal while four of their losses were by a one-goal margin. The Beavers are looking for their first win since a 2-1 victory over New Hampshire on Sept. 19.

Oregon State is led by junior Najma Homidi with four goals and one assist on the season. The Beavers returned six starters this season from the 2007 team which went 7-10-3 overall but failed to win a Pac-10 contest, going 0-7-2. Linus Rhode is in his first season as Oregon State's head coach.

Common Opponents: Utah - W, 1-0; California - L , 1-0; Stanford - L, 3-0

UW holds a 13-3-1 advantage in the all-time series against Oregon State but has won just two of the last five matches between the teams. Oregon State earned a tie against the Huskies in Seattle last season and won the previous two times they played in Seattle, 1-0 in 2005 and 2-0 in 2003. UW is 8-1 all-time in games played in Corvallis between the teams.

The Ducks (7-5-2, 0-2-1) are coming off a 0-0 tie in their Civil War rivalry game against Oregon State and will look to get back on track after suffering three-straight losses prior to that game, all against ranked teams. Sophomore Jen Stoltenberg leads Oregon with eight goals and five assists this season while senior Jessica Goodell and junior Teresa Bowns have each chipped in four goals.

The Ducks are coached by former Husky Tara Erickson, the fifth former Lesle Gallimore pupil UW has seen on the other side of the field this season. Erickson (formerly Bilanski) still ranks No. 3 all time in career goals scored and fifth in career assists from her four-year stint between 1992-95 at UW where she also earned All-Pac-10 honors. The fourth-year coach was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2006, leading the Ducks to a 12-6-2 overall mark and a 6-1-2 record, good for second in the Pac-10.

Common Opponents: Portland - L, 3-1; Purdue - L, 3-1; Utah - W, 3-2; Stanford - L, 3-0; California - L, 5-1

UW has lost just twice to the Ducks in their series history, but both losses have come in the last three seasons. UW, which leads the series 9-2-1, won last season's match in Seattle, 2-0, with current UW seniors Melissa Beal and Jenna Robison netting goals for the Huskies. Prior to that, Oregon had won two straight, winning 3-1 in 2006 and 1-0 in 2005 to snap UW's nine-game unbeaten streak against their Northwest rival.

With the season in the home stretch, UW looks poised to return to the NCAA tournament 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.

The Huskies posted the second-best start in program history by winning their first seven matches and nine of the first 10. After a four-game losing streak - all against top-five teams at the time - UW rebounded with a big 3-2 win over Cal last week.

The Huskies are two 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 2006. The Huskies have been led by juniors Veronica Perez and Alex Kirk, who lead the Huskies in goals (10) and assists (5), respectively, while senior Melissa Beal has chipped in five goals (two of which have been game-winners) and one assist.

Veronica Perez has had a breakout season for the Huskies in 2008, scoring 10 goals in 15 games, more than UW's season-ending leaders in each of the last three seasons. She is just the fifth player in UW history to put up double-digit goals in a season and now ranks tied for fifth all-time on the single-season charts.

Not only has Perez been scoring often, she's also been scoring when it counts most, providing the game-winning goal in five of UW's 10 wins, including netting the tying and winning goals in the last 15 minutes in last Sunday's 3-2 win over Cal. Perez's five game-winning goals put her in a tie for third on the single-season charts, three shy of Tina Frimpong's record of eight set 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 (10), points (24) and shots (51).

Husky head coach Lesle Gallimore was looking forward to bringing along freshman goalkeeper Kari Davidson slowly, letting her mature behind veteran Alex Phillips. With Phillips now out for the season after tearing her ACL 20 minutes into the Huskies' match against UCLA, Davidson is in the midst of a baptism-by-fire.

The Portland, Ore., native, who stands 5-foot-10, showed signs of her potential early in the season when she shutout Kennesaw State - a formidable offensive team - in her first career start. Davidson spent the next eight games watching and learning from the sidelines before she was pressed into duty against the No. 4 team in the country and had to follow that by facing No. 2 Stanford in her second career start.

After giving up nine goals against the two national title defenders, Davidson showed her determination and heart when she came up big with six saves - including two pressure-packed saves in the waning minutes - to secure a 3-2 victory over the then-13th-ranked Bears.

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