Aggie Soccer Takes Advantage of Opportunities To Stop Regionally-Ranked Rice Thursday, 1-0

LOGAN, Utah – In a battle of regionally-ranked opponents, Utah State women’s soccer took advantage of its chances to earn a 1-0 win over Rice at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on Thursday. This was the first meeting between the Aggies and the Owls.This week, Utah State improved to seventh in the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America (NSCAA) West Region poll. Rice is the first regionally-ranked team that the Aggies have faced this season, as it was eighth in the Central Region poll.Utah State has now won seven-straight matches to start the 2011 season, which is its best start in school history. The win was the Aggies’ third-straight 1-0 win and fourth overall this season. All seven of the Aggies’ wins so far this season have come by one goal. Rice falls to 4-2-0 this season.”We knew that this was going to be a quality opponent. They are ranked in the central region about as high as we are in our region, so we knew that it was going to be a back and forth battle with very few chances. We knew we were going to have to make the most of any chances that we earned,” USU head coach Heather Cairns said.Neither team had many chances in the first half. Rice ended the half with four shots to two by the Aggies.Despite only having five shots in the match, the Aggies were able to make the most of their chances. USU scored the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute. Senior defender Summer Tillotson started the sequence, playing the ball to sophomore midfielder Kendra Pemberton. Fellow sophomore Jennifer Flynn took the through ball and scored from eight yards out for her second goal of the season. Pemberton’s assist was her team-leading fourth of the season, while Tillotson has three helpers this season.After taking the 1-0 lead, senior goalkeeper Molli Merrill and the Aggie backline did the rest. The shutout was the fourth of the season for Merrill. Tillotson, junior Natalie Norris and sophomore Taryn Rose continued their strong play for the Aggies. Merrill ended the match with three saves.”When we get a shutout, it means that the whole backline and the whole team defensively is doing its job. Coach Cairns is always telling us to keep them off the board and to give our offense a chance and that is what we have been trying to do,” Merrill said.Utah State concludes its season-long four-match homestand against border-rival Idaho State on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. Following the match against the Bengals, the Aggies embark on five-match road trip, starting in the Sooner State. USU takes on Tulsa on Friday, Sept. 16 at 6:35 p.m. (MT) and No. 4 Oklahoma State on Sunday, Sept 17 at 11 a.m.Fans can follow USU soccer at and Utah State athletics at BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total Rice 0 0 0 Utah State 0 1 1 SHOTS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total Rice 4 5 9 Utah State 2 3 5SAVES BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total Rice 0 0 0 Utah State 0 3 3CORNERS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total Rice 1 2 3Utah State 0 1 1FOULS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd Total Rice 3 3 6Utah State 4 2 6

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