Huskies Ready For NCAA Opener Friday

Nov. 12, 2009

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Merlo Field @ Clive Charles Soccer Complex
Portland, Ore.

4 p.m. - Washington (11-5-4) vs. Ole Miss (13-5-2)
7 p.m. - No. 2 Portland (18-1-0) vs. Denver (17-5-1)

UW-Ole Miss winner vs. Portland-Denver winner


The Washington women's soccer team embarks on its 10th NCAA postseason berth this week when they make the short trip down I-5 for the NCAA First and Second Rounds at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex in Portland, Ore. The Huskies will open the tournament against SEC foe Ole Miss (13-5-2) on Friday at 4 p.m. looking to advance to the Second Round for the second-straight season. Should the Huskies win on Friday, they would face either No. 2 Portland - ranked No. 2 in all the national polls but one of our No. 2 seeds in the tourney - or Denver on Sunday at Noon.

The Huskies are making their second-straight tournament appearance following three-straight losing seasons. UW has made 10 postseason appearances in the 19 years of the program, all of which have come in Lesle Gallimore's 16-year tenure. UW's farthest tournament advancement came in 2004 when the Huskies made it to the Elite Eight (Fourth Round). The Huskies are facing an SEC opponent in the First Round for the second consecutive season after defeating LSU, 3-2, in overtime last year before falling to Texas A&M, 3-1, on the Aggies' home field.

UW's final weekend of the regular season was indicative of their entire season, facing two tough teams in No. 4 UCLA and No. 19 USC. The Huskies battled the Bruins - who earned one of four No. 1 seeds for the tournament - tough in a steady downpour but finally succumbed, 2-1. On Sunday, UW faced a tough USC team and came from behind twice to tie the match on goals both times by senior Alex Kirk and settled for a 2-2 tie. The Senior Day was a memorable one for the usual defensive-stopper Kirk, who recorded her first two-goal game of her career.

Sunday's result clinched a tie for fifth in the tough Pac-10 standings for UW. The conference placed a tournament-high eight teams in this year's field, equaling the ACC's total. Seven of the 10 teams were ranked in the RPI top-30 heading into the final week of the season.

Live stats will be available for all Husky games this weekend on either or Additionally, all games involving Portland this weekend will feature live audio on, so if the Huskies and Portland face off on Sunday, fans will be able to hear all the action live.

Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11:00 a.m. through all Ticketmaster outlets, online at, by calling (503) 224-4400 or in-person at the Pilot Box Office.

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 For up-to-the minute twitter updates on all Husky teams, follow the main UW Sports News feed at

The Huskies' most recent RPI ranking of No. 23 was a big factor in UW advancing to the NCAA Tournamet. The Pac-10 had seven teams in the top-30 of the final RPI heading into the selection show and eight were selected for the 64-team field. The RPI takes strength of schedule into account and the Huskies' conference slate alone was enough to bump them up in the rankings. Also selected from the Pac-10 were #1 Stanford, #5 UCLA, #13 Washington State, #15 USC, #19 Oregon State and #29 Cal. The Huskies also faced Portland this season, which ranked No. 3 in the RPI.

UW finished the final regular-season polls receiving votes in both the NSCAA and Soccer Times polls, as they did for most of the season.

The Huskies will be playing at a home-away-from-home of sorts this weekend when they hit the pitch at Merlo Field at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex. UW is an annual participant in the Nike Portland Invitational where they do not play the Pilots, but they do play Portland on their home field every other year. The Huskies fared well on Merlo Field this year, defeating then-No. 11 Illinois, 1-0, before falling to Miami, 1-0. The last time UW played the Pilots at Merlo Field, they battled them into overtime before Portland prevailed, 1-0.

The Huskies had success in road games this season, going 4-2-2 away from Husky Soccer Field, including 3-1-2 in true road games and 1-1-0 on neutral sites.

The Huskies nearly set a school record this season when they went on a 10-game unbeaten streak midway through the season. Following a 1-0 loss to Miami in the Nike Portland Invitational, the Huskies went 5-0-1 over their final six non-conference matches then went 2-0-2 to open Pac-10 play before running into No. 1 ranked Stanford. The Cardinal stopped UW's streak one shy of the school record 11-game unbeaten streak - which was actually an 11-game winning streak - set by the 2000 team that captured the school's lone Pac-10 title.

UW has now made it two-straight after a three-year layoff from the tourney which came on the heels of the program's best-ever finish in the NCAAs, an Elite Eight run in 2004. Prior to that, their best finish was a Sweet Sixteen run in 2000.

This week marks UW's 10th trip overall to the postseason where they are 8-8-1 all time (games that require a shootout in any round other than the national title match count as a tie). UW missed the postseason in each of the first three years of the program before Lesle Gallimore took over as head coach in 1994 and led the team to the NCAA tournament in each of her first three seasons. The Huskies also made appearances in 1998, 2001 and 2003.

The Rebels are making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance but their first since 2005. Ole Miss enters the tournament with a 13-5-2 overall record and finished third overall in the Southeastern Conference with a 7-2-2 league record. The team boasts an offense and defense that rank among the nation's statistical leaders, while piling up the fourth-most wins in a season in school history.

Among the catalysts for the Rebels' success this season have been the team's three senior captains - defender Mallory Coleman, All-SEC midfielder Danielle Johnson and All-SEC forward Hannah Weatherly. Coleman has helped lead a Rebel back line that has allowed only 13 goals in 20 matches, while Johnson and Weatherly have paced an offensive attack that ranks second in the SEC with 2.15 goals per game. Weatherly has a team-high 21 points (9 goals, 3 assists) while Johnson is one of two players with 14 points (5 goals, 4 assists). Sophomore Dylan Jordan (6 goals, 5 assists) and junior Taylor Cunningham (6 goals, 3 assists) have added to a balanced scoring attack with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Sophomore goalkeeper Alley Ronaldi has an impressive nine shutouts and a 0.66 GAA.

This weekend will mark the first-ever meeting between UW and Ole Miss. The Huskies have had some success against SEC teams in the past, especially in the NCAA Tournament, where they are 2-0 against the conference. All-time, UW is 5-3-1 against SEC teams, with postseason wins coming against Auburn, 1-0, in the 2004 NCAA Second Round and LSU in the First Round last season, 3-2 in overtime.


The Pilots may come into the tournament with a bit of a chip on their collective shoulders, having been bypassed for one of the four No. 1 seeds by the NCAA Selection Committee despite being ranked No. 2 in every national poll and, at 18-1-0, being the only one-loss team in the nation. It's not as if the Pilots didn't face a tough schedule as their RPI was No. 3 and they went 5-0 against Pac-10 opponents, four of which made the tournament.

Nevertheless, the Pilots - two-time National Champs - are excited about their chances as they will not lose any players in the postseason to National Team commitments for the first time since their last title in 2005. Portland carries an 11-match winning streak into postseason play while outscoring opponents by a 72-7 margin. Danielle Foxhoven leads the Pilots with 21 goals and 51 points with her 2.83 points-per-game average leading the nation. Michelle Enyeart has 13 goals to go along with a team-high 12 assists. Kelsey Young has been nearly unstoppable in goal with 10 shutouts and a 0.36 GAA, third in the country.

While few teams have had much success against the powerhouse Pilots, the Huskies can hang their hat on some recent success againt Portland even if the final score didn't show it. Portland holds a 20-2-1 edge over the Huskies and have not lost to UW since 2004 but the UW has been close over the last three seasons, dropping a pair of 1-0 contests in 2007 and 2008 and falling 2-0 this season. Last season, UW pushed Portland to overtime at Merlo Field before the Pilots came up with a late goal to earn their second-straight 1-0 win over the Dawgs. The good news is that both of UW's victories in the series have come in Portland.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Oregon (W, 3-0); California (W, 2-0); Colorado College (W, 2-0); Columbia (W, 5-1); Illinois (W, 4-1); Miami (W, 2-0); Oregon State (W, 1-0); Montana (W, 7-0); Washington State (W, 2-1); Gonzaga (W, 7-0).

The Pioneers earned their unprecedented fourth-straight Sun Belt Conference championship by beating Arkansas-Little Rock, 1-0 on Nov. 7. Denver has now won the SBC Tournament seven out of the last nine times, and the Pioneers have the seventh-winningest senior class in the nation. The Pioneers are led by Kaitlin Bast, who has a team-high 12 goals and 31 points while Mariah Johnston has been the table-setter, leading the squad with 13 assists. Lara Campbell has seen the majority of the minutes in goal, recording nine shutouts and a 0.72 GAA.

The Huskies have faced Denver just one previous time, with the Pioneers coming away with a 1-0 win in 2002 at the Nike Portland Invitational.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Illinois (T, 1-1); Oregon (L, 4-1); Oregon State (L, 3-1).

UW had an outstanding non-conference portion of their season, going 8-2-1, with one of their two losses coming at the hands of No. 2 Portland. The Huskies started Pac-10 with a 1-1 draw over inter-state rival and 18th-ranked Washington State before a win and a tie against the Arizona schools and splits in each of the next two weekend's with the Bay Area schools at home and Oregon schools on the road. UW wrapped up the regular season at home against the tough L.A. schools, falling to No. 4 UCLA, 2-1, and drawing 2-2 with No. 19 USC. UW ended conference in a tie for fifth with Oregon State with an even 3-3-3 record.

The Huskies are led by junior McKenna Waitley, who has had a breakout season with career highs in points (17), goals (6) and assists (5). Seniors Veronica Perez and Nikki Murray are not far behind with 15 points (6 goals, 3 assists) and 11 points (4 goals, 3 assists), respectively. A trio of sophomores in Kelli Stewart (4-1-9), Alex Webber (2-3-7) and Kate Deines (2-3-7) have added some scoring punch as has senior Alex Kirk, a defender who broke out with two goals in the regular-season finale to give her nine points (4 goals, 1 assist). Sophomore Kari Davidson has played most of the minutes in goal, recording four shutouts and posting a 0.95 GAA.

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