RUSTON, La. – Second-seeded Utah State soccer fell to sixth-seeded Fresno State, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Ruston, La., on Friday afternoon at a windy LTU Lady Techster Field.Utah State finishes its season with a 9-7-5 record. USU is now 2-6 in WAC Tournament matches. The Aggies are now 0-3 in the WAC Tournament against the Bulldogs. The Aggies and the Bulldogs met in an epic double overtime match in the finals of the 2008 WAC Tournament in Reno, Nev., when Fresno State edged Utah State, 2-1. In 2005, the Bulldogs also beat USU by the same 2-1 margin in the WAC Tournament in quarterfinals in Boise, Idaho.Fresno State improved to 9-8-4 and increased its unbeaten streak to seven games after beating Idaho, 3-0, in the first round of the and Utah State in the semifinals. The Bulldogs advance to Sunday’s championship match against the winner of Friday’s later semifinal between top-seeded San Jose and fifth-seeded Boise State. It is Fresno State’s fifth tournament championship appearance in the last six years.”Fresno State dominated the first half. We thought we had made adjustments after the first time that we played them to counter act. We came out okay, but Fresno State came out harder. In the second half, we came out to battle, but it was too late. It is hard to come back from a 1-0 deficit in the conference tournament,” USU head coach Heather Cairns said.The Bulldogs struck first in the 25th minute when Lauren Linstrom scored her first goal of the season. Linstrom took a Krissy Looney corner kick and deposited the goal in the back of the net to give the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead.In the first half, Utah State was led by junior forward Shantel Flanary and freshman midfielder Kendra Pemberton who both had two shots in the first 45 minutes.Junior goalkeeper Molli Merrill was kept busy in the first half by the red-hot Fresno State offense. Fresno State’s all-WAC goalkeeper Kaitlyn Revel had four first-half saves compared to three by Merrill. Fresno State ended the first half out-shooting Utah State, 8-6. The Bulldogs had four corner kicks to none by the Aggies.In the second half, the Aggies came out strong with their first corner kick of the match in the 51st minute by junior defender Summer Tillotson. Senior midfielder Stefani Shiozaki and Pemberton both put pressure on Revel with early second-half shots.For the match, USU out-shot Fresno State, 13-11, while the Bulldogs had six shots on goal compared to five by the Aggies. The save totals were tied at five for the match.There were eight players who played the complete 90 minutes for the Aggies, including both forwards, Flanary and senior Lauren Hansen.Fresno State holds a 6-2-2 all-time mark against Utah State. They are the only team in the WAC to have a winning record against the Aggies since joining the league. The Bulldogs were the final team to make the tournament, but went 5-0-2 in its last seven matches.The Aggies will say good bye to three seniors midfielders Stefani Shiozaki, Heather Pond and forward Lauren Hansen, who played their final home match. The trio are one of the winningest classes in Utah State history, winning 42 matches in their career, which is second to the 43 wins of the 2009 class. They are also the first Utah State class to have a winning record all four seasons. Hansen ends her career with 37 goals and 84 points.”The worst part is that we lose our seniors, Lauren Hansen. Stefani Shiozaki and Heather Pond. They don’t get a chance to do this again. These three seniors have meant a lot to us and moved the program forward. Their impact now turns into a legacy with all that they have accomplished,” Cairns said.Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.-USU-
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