W. Soccer Ready for NCAA First Round and UCLA
Nov. 7, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
Game Week Preview
- SDSU is in the NCAA tournament after winning the Mountain West championship last week in Las Vegas. The second-seeded Aztecs, who received a quarterfinal bye, blanked both of their foes, defeating third-seeded Boise State, 1-0, in the semifinal round and then downed fourth-seeded New Mexico, 3-0, in the title game.
- Senior Aliyah Utush scored all four of San Diego State’s goals en route to all-tournament team honors and MVP accolades. Joining her on the all-tourney team were senior defenders Dani DeRosa and Stacie Moran, and sophomore goalkeeper Gabby English.
- The Aztecs won their fourth MW tournament crown in the last six seasons after playing in their conference-record sixth straight championship game. The Mountain West title was the 10th in program history (regular season and tournament) and ninth under head coach Mike Friesen.
- With the league trophy safely back in America’s Finest City, San Diego State will make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014. The NCAA trip is the seventh in school history and the fifth under Friesen’s watch.
- SDSU is 4-6 all-time in the NCAA tournament (3-4 under Friesen), but have dropped the last three. In 2012, the Aztecs reached the Sweet 16 by beating CSUN and No .17 California before falling to No. 5 UCLA. The next season brought another match-up with the Bruins and No. 2 UCLA emerged victorious once again. Then in 2014, the Aztecs nearly pulled the upset, but ultimately fell to the No. 20 Golden Bears in double overtime, 3-2.
- The month of November has been good for San Diego State in recent years. Since the start of the 2012 campaign, the Aztecs are 13-3-3 in the 11th month of the calendar year. SDSU is 5-0-2 in its last seven November games, which dates to the 2015 campaign.
- The San Diego State defense has been outstanding, allowing only nine goals since the start of the conference season back on Sept. 22, which spans 13 games. Outside of the season opener, the Aztecs have only allowed 18 goals in 20 games (0.90 gpg). Only six teams have scored more than one goal in a game vs. SDSU this year.
- San Diego State will carry a season-long six-game winning streak into the NCAA tournament. The current run is the longest winning streak since 2015, when the Aztecs won 11 in a row (Sept. 27-Nov. 5).
- Utush’s performance at the MW Championship upped her season goal total to nine, which tied freshman Mia Root (MW all-newcomer team) for the team lead. She also took over the team lead in points with 25, four more than Root. The senior, who has scored seven goals in her last six games, and second-team all-league performer will go down as one of the top offensive players in school history as she currently ranks seventh in career goals (24), fourth in career assists (22) and sixth in career points (70).
- San Diego State owned the top defense in the Mountain West during the conference season, allowing the fewest goals (9), posting the lowest GAA (0.77) and recording the most shutouts (5). Despite the numbers, only Moran was honored by the league’s coaches, earning first-team accolades. The unit continued its strong play in the MW tournament, shutting out the conference’s top-scoring squad in league play, Boise State, which also had the offensive player of the year, and New Mexico, which was only blanked four times during the regular season and was averaging 2.7 goals per game in its previous six outings.
- As dominant as the Aztecs were on defense, they were equally as strong on offense, scoring the second-most goals in the MW during conference play. After a three-game blip where San Diego State scored only two goals in three games (0-1-2), covering 310 minutes, the Aztecs have scored 17 times over the course of its six-game winning streak (2.8 gpg).
- San Diego State will face a Bruins team it played in the season opener and fell, 5-1. The game was scoreless until UCLA struck first in the 37th minute. Three consecutive goals by the Bruins in a 22-minute span put the game out of reach before Utush connected on a penalty kick. UCLA added a fifth goal in the 86th minute.
- The Aztecs, who put three of their five shots on target that Aug. 18 night at Drake Stadium, started four true freshmen (forward Esther Arnarsdottir, defender Sarah Broacha, midfielder Chloe Frisch, forward Mia Root), a junior newcomer in the midfield (Nikolina Musto), a senior in Dani DeRosa, who was playing her first-ever game along the backline after moving from forward, and sophomore defender Yasmin Ahooja, who never started in her 19-game career, against the Bruins.
- Since that season-opening lineup, Broacha, DeRosa, Frisch, Musto and Root have started all 21 games. Arnarsdottir has earned the starting assignment in 15 of her 19 games played and Ahooja has started nine of 19 outings.