W. Soccer Heads to No. 22 Nebraska and Missouri This Week
Sept. 6, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
Game Week Preview
San Diego State (2-3; 0-0 MW) at Missouri (2-3-1; 0-0 SEC)
- SDSU, the preseason Mountain West favorites, snapped a two-game skid last Friday with a convincing 3-1 victory over crosstown foe San Diego. The Aztecs received all three goals from two true freshmen. Esther Arnarsdottir scored twice, finding the back of the net in the 30th and 50th minute, and Mia Root provided insurance in the 84th.
- Arnarsdottir became the first SDSU true freshman to score twice in a game for the Aztecs since Oct. 16, 2015, when Leah Pruitt accomplished the feat vs. Fresno State. The Arnarsdottir-Root scoring combo, meanwhile, marked the first time two true freshman scored in a game since Sept. 17, 2015, vs. the same USD program (Pruitt, Milan Moses).
- San Diego State’s youth may be turning the corner if the performance vs. San Diego is any indication. In addition to the three combined goals by Arnarsdottir and Root, SDSU received an assist from Rachel Speros, a sophomore who missed the last six games last season due to injury. And of the Aztecs’ 10 shots, nine were from true freshmen and the other came off Speros’ foot. All seven shots on goal were credited to that group as well.
- San Diego State went with the same starting lineup the first four games of the season and the youth and inexperience was glaring. Head coach Mike Friesen tabbed four true freshmen (Arnarsdottir, Sarah Broacha, Chloe Frisch, Root), one junior transfer (Nikolina Musto), a sophomore who did not start in 2016 (Yasmin Ahooja), another sophomore who missed the final six games due to injury (Speros), and a senior learning a new position (Dani DeRosa) for his Starting XI. That group joined last season’s stalwarts in goalkeeper Gabby English, forward Aliyah Utush and defender Stacie Moran. In the fifth game of the season, he substituted the sophomore for another sophomore (Ariana Robles).
- As much youth that is on the field, the Aztecs still rely heavily on their seniors. Utush leads the team offensively with five points, 10 shots and eight shots on goal. Angela Mitchell has three points and 17 career goals, which is tied with Utush for the 12th most in a career in program history. Moran has started every game since she has stepped foot on campus along the backline. And DeRosa is in her third year at SDSU after transferring from Louisiana following her true freshman year.
- San Diego State will meet No. 22 Nebraska for a third time on Friday and will be in search of its first win, going 0-1-1 in the previous two get-togethers. The Aztecs dropped a 3-2 decision in Lincoln in 2005 and followed it with a scoreless double-OT road draw in 2007. Friesen was an assistant coach on the ‘05 squad and was a first-year head coach in ‘07.
- SDSU’s game at Nebraska will mark the sixth time in the last seven seasons in which the Aztecs have played at least one Big Ten team. In those games, San Diego State is 3-3-1. Last year, the Aztecs fell at No. 16 Penn State, 3-0. Prior to that, SDSU defeated No. 10 Michigan, 3-0, at home in 2014.
- When San Diego State takes the field on Friday vs. the nationally ranked Huskers, it will do so knowing it has held its own vs. nationally ranked sides. Since the start of the 2011 season, the Aztecs are 5-7-1 in regular-season games vs. top-25 teams. SDSU is 0-1 this season vs. the nationally ranked and has won two of its last five meetings.
- SDSU and Missouri will be playing for the first time, but there will be pleasantries exchanged at some point during the Aztecs’ trip to Columbia. Tigers’ A.D. Jim Sterk held the same position at San Diego State before taking the Missouri job in the summer of 2016. During his time on Montezuma Mesa, he oversaw a women’s soccer program that won seven Mountain West titles in a four-year span (2012-15) and advanced to three NCAA tourneys, including a Sweet 16 run in 2012. The ‘12 team finished with a 21-2-1 record and finished seventh nationally in the NSCAA and Soccer America polls, and No. 3 in the Soccer Times rankings.
- San Diego State on Sunday will face an SEC school for just the third time since the start of 2011. The Aztecs lost at home to Alabama, 1-0, in 2011, before earning a 2-0 road win at No. 16 Kentucky in 2015.