Oct. 4, 2006
SAN DIEGO -
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What's On Tap
The Aztecs (4-7) begin Mountain West play with two home matches over the weekend after a 12-day hiatus. San Diego State enters Friday's match with Air Force on a three-game losing streak.
The Aztecs have done well against Air Force and hold the all-time series lead at 9-1. SDSU has won the last five meetings and has not lost to Air Force since a 3-0 defeat in Colorado Springs in 2001.
San Diego State is 6-5 all time versus the Rebels, but UNLV has had the Aztecs' number as of late, winning the last five matches dating back to 2003. The last time SDSU defeated UNLV was during the Mountain West Conference tournament in November of 2002.
A Look at the Opponents
Air Force (3-7-2) flies into San Diego on after a similar 12-day recess, but sports a two-game winning streak after defeating both Cal State Sacramento and Stephen F. Austin, 1-0. They have scored six goals on the season with each coming from a different person. Katherine Taylor leads the team with 23 shots (13 on goal) and has one goal. Jessica Yahn leads the team with three points. In goal, Erin Wallace posts a 2-7-2 record with a 1.13 GAA and four shutouts.
The Rebels (5-6-1) enter MWC play on a high note after knocking off No. 20 Pepperdine in double overtime, 1-0, in their first ever win over a ranked opponent. Katie Carney leads UNLV in points (9), shots on goal (11) and is tied for the team lead in goals (3) and assists (3). Goalkeeper Ciera Nero sports a 4-2 record with a 1.04 GAA and has pitched four shutouts thus far in 2006. UNLV will travel to Utah on Thursday before playing the Aztecs on Sunday.
What to Watch For
Both Air Force and San Diego State allow more goals than they score in the second half. The winner of the game could be determined by who can play better defense late in the game. Jen Mello (SDSU) has two goals in one game versus Air Force.
The Aztecs should try to take advantage of UNLV's fouling tendencies as they have committed 36 more fouls than their opponents.
The Mello and Sutton Connection
They're back... A year after leading the team in scoring as freshmen and accounting for 44.6 percent of the team's points, sophomores Jen Mello and Erika Sutton could have an even better season in 2006.
Over the course of the last two seasons, the Aztecs are 12-2 (3-0 in 2006) when Sutton records at least one point, 9-2 (3-0 in 2006) when Mello does the same and 7-1 (2-0 in 2006) when each contributes at least one point.
The sophomore duo has scored 54.5 (6-of-11) percent of the team's goals, 75.0 (6-of-8) of the squad's assists and 60 (18-of-30) percent of its points.
Earlier this season, Sutton became the fourth Aztec to be named to the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week and also earned MWC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Last season, Sutton earned Soccer Buzz Freshman All-Far West Region accolades and was named second-team all-MWC.
10 of 11 goals this year for SDSU have come from underclassmen.
The Aztecs have started eight underclassmen in nine of eleven games this season.
SDSU has outshot its opponents, 145-130, and has a 51-40 advantage in corner kicks.
25 Aztecs have seen playing time this year.
SDSU hosts just six matches this season with half (three) against MWC opponents.
Sutton On Point
Sophomore Erika Sutton has tallied 10 points through 11 matches this season, which has her third in the Mountain West, one point behind Lizzy Karoly of TCU and Adele Letro of Utah, who are tied for first with 11. Her four assists are tied for the lead in the MWC with Utah's Kelly Isleib and Amanda Feigt. The Arvada, Colo., native was named a Breitbard Star of the Month for August by the San Diego Hall of Champions for her two-goal, two-assist performance at the Purdue Boilermaker Cup, which also earned her the MWC Offensive Player of the Week award.