No. 25 Huskies Host Utah State On Friday

Sept. 16, 2009

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Husky Soccer Field - Seattle, Wash.
7 p.m. - Utah State (4-2-1) at No. 25 Washington (4-2-0)


The No. 25 Washington women's soccer team (4-2-0), fresh off a big upset of No. 11 Illinois, returns home this week to host the Utah State Aggies (4-2-1) on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7p.m. The Friday game will be UW's only match of the week before they hit the road for a pair of games next week.

The Huskies traveled down to the Nike Portland Invitational where they took on two tough teams in Miami and No. 11 Illinois and earned a very important split. The games were identical in every way other than the result for the Huskies as they dropped the first match of the weekend, 1-0, to Miami on a goal in the 83rd minute before coming back to stun No. 11 Illinois, 1-0, on an 83rd-minute goal of their own.

In the first game, the Huskies battled hard against a Hurricane team that advanced to last year's NCAA Tournament, but despite outshooting Miami, 15-11, it was the Hurricanes who took advantage of their opportunities, finally pushing a shot past sophomore Kari Davidson in the 83rd minute. Davidson played brilliantly despite the loss, tying a career high with six saves.

UW finally got the big win they needed on Sunday, going another 83 minutes of scoreless play before this time their senior leader, Veronica Perez, found a way to make something happen. After taking a through ball in the box from McKenna Waitley, Perez beat the Illini goalkeeper one-on-one to give herself an easy goal and the Huskies the much-needed victory.

Live stats along with live video and audio will be available for Friday's match on All home games this season feature live video and audio on with a Dawg Channel All-Access pass. Men's and women's soccer games are free of charge through this service.

Fans can follow the Washington women's soccer team on Facebook by going to Head coach Lesle Gallimore also has a Twitter account and fans wishing to follow the long-time Washington coach can go to

The Huskies are ranked No. 25 this week by after their win over No. 11 Illinois. The Huskies are also receiving votes in both the NSCAA and the Soccer Times polls. The Huskies have the fifth-most votes among teams just outside the Soccer Times top-25 and are just 15 votes shy of breaking into the rankings.

The Aggies come into the match with a 4-2-1 record, most recently defeating Houston Baptist, 5-1, which was the program's 100th victory. USU is a young squad, starting as many as eight underclassmen at one time this season. Sophomores Shantel Flanary, Ellen Larsen and Danielle Shorts have scored four of USU's five goals and of the 20 different Aggies to have seen playing time this season, 12 are underclassmen. Sophomore striker Shantel Flanary is the leading scorer with four goals and two assists for 10 points. Utah State carries two players from the state of Washington, junior forward Lauren Hansen and freshman defender Amy Marple.

Washington leads the series with Utah State, 1-0, defeating the Aggies in Logan in 2001 when the Huskies were ranked No. 9 in the country.

While it may be tough to say fast three times, Veronica Perez will nevertheless take the honor as she was named a Premier Performer by this week for her performance last weekend in the Nike Portland Invitational. One of 17 players honored around the country, Perez was named to the list after her game-winning goal in UW's 1-0 upset of then-No. 11 Illinois, punching in the game winner in the 83rd minute. The senior has shown a knack in her career for scoring goals at opportune times. After six game-winners last season, Perez's goal Sunday was her first game-winner this season and gave her seven for her career, which ranks tied for fifth all-time at UW.

With her second goal of the season last Sunday in UW's 1-0 win over Illinois, Veronica Perez now has 17 in her career which puts her in UW's all-time top-10 goal scorers. After scoring twice her sophomore year, Perez broke out for a team-high 13 last season to put herself one shy of recent graduate Melissa Beal. With her two goals this season, Perez has moved past Beal into 10th and needs two more goals to move into a tie for eighth with Melissa Bennett (2000-03) and Melinda Torre (1992-95). The all-time record of 43 is held by current WPS superstar Tina (Frimpong) Ellertson.

With five points this season, Perez has also worked her way into the top-10 in that category, passing Jana Wilson (1996-99) and Torre to move up to 9th all time with 43 points. She needs seven more points to move even with Emily Thompson (1992-95) for eighth all time. Ellertson tops that list with 99 points in her storied career. Perez also ranks No. 8 all time with her 154 shots.

UW head coach Lesle Gallimore was determined to have a team that would not be a one-woman scoring machine in 2009, confident players other than Veronica Perez would step up to handle the scoring load. Through six games, Gallimore appears to be right as six different players have accounted for UW's nine goals thus far. Perez has two of those goals while 2008 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honoree Kate Deines has one, but the biggest surprise has been the three goals from sophomore Kelli Stewart. UW has also received one each from seniors Alex Kirk and Nikki Murray and freshman Jessie Young. The goal for Murray was just the second of her career while Stewart and Young each notched their first career goals.

Despite being a veteran-laden team, the Huskies have received solid contributions from their freshmen and sophomores thus far in 2009. Five of their nine goals have come from underclassmen through the first six games, three of which have come from Stewart, who is listed as a sophomore but did not appear in any games in 2008. Freshman Jessie Young tallied her first goal while fellow rookie Louise Albin has appearaed in all six games - making three starts - and Kelsea Brajkovich has appeared in four matches, making one start.

While the Huskies have six seniors on this year's squad - highlighted by superstar Veronica Perez - the team is set up to be solid for some years to come. Of the 10 players who have started at least four matches this season, just two of the 10 - Perez and defender Lindsey Kasser - are seniors. UW's sophomore class has been outstanding, with Kate Deines and Kelli Stewart combining for four of the team's nine goals while Alex Webber has added an assist and goalkeeper Kari Davidson has been limiting teams to less than a goal per game (0.86). Juniors Hannah Greig, Alex Kirk, Kendyl Pele and McKenna Waitley have been no slouch, providing steady play and leadership in the back and middle of the field.

Since taking over the full-time goalkeeping duties mid-way through her freshman year after Alex Phillips went down with a torn ACL, sophomore Kari Davidson has proven to be a major reason the Huskies hope to go far in the NCAA Tournament this season. While Davidson's introduction to college soccer wasn't a desirable one - she had to face then-No. 2 UCLA and No. 5 Stanford in first her action after Phillips' injury - she has become a proven winner, going 10-4-1 over her last 15 matches since then.

Davidson has been tough to beat this year, making 19 saves and posting a 0.86 GAA with one solo shutout and one combined. She had her two best games of the season last weekend against a pair of `08 NCAA Tournament teams, tying a career-high with six saves in a 1-0 loss to Miami, making several big saves to keep the Huskies in the match until the Hurricanes squeaked in a goal in the 83rd minute. She then recorded her first shutout of the season when it mattered most, making three saves against No. 11 Illinois to give UW a 1-0 win.

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