Bulldogs (7-11-0, 5-2-0 WAC) have won five straight for the first time since 1999.
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Oct. 28, 2002
This Week in Bulldog Soccer
Hawai'i (8-7-2, 4-2-1 WAC) vs. Fresno State (7-11-0, 5-2-0 WAC)
Date: Sun., Nov. 3
Time: 5 p.m. PST
Site: Fresno, Calif.
Stadium: Bulldog Stadium
Series History: Fresno State leads 3-2-1
This Week in Bulldog Soccer
Fresno State will be in action for just one game this week, as the Bulldogs take the pitch on Sunday against Hawai'i at Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff time is set for 5 p.m., with Senior Night festivities scheduled before the contest. Fresno State's contest against the Rainbow Wahine also represents the final regular season match for the 'Dogs in 2002. However, the season will not end on Sunday night. As a result of its strong play in the WAC and recent five-match winning streak, Fresno State has qualified for the WAC Championship Tournament which begins Nov. 6 in Houston, Tex. The winner of the six-school tournament receives an automatic bid to the 2002 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship Tournament later this month.
2002 WAC Women's Soccer Championship
The Bulldogs will be making their eighth consecutive appearance in the WAC Championships when the tournament gets underway next week. This year's tourney is scheduled for Nov. 6-10 in Houston, Texas, and will be hosted by Rice University. Only the top six schools of the 10-member conference advance to the postseason tournament based on regular season standings, and the winner receives the WAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. The top two schools receive a first-round bye, while the remaining four teams face one another in single-elimination competition. Fresno State, 5-2-0 in the WAC, currently stands in third place in the conference standings and is assured of a postseason berth.
With one week left to play, the Rainbow Wahine are making plans for the WAC Championship as well. Hawai'i is currently 8-7-2 overall and 4-2-0 in conference play, good for fourth in the WAC. Hawai'i enters Sunday's contest on a three-game winning streak, including a 5-0 shutout of Nevada in its most recent contest. The Bulldogs are 3-2-1 all-time against the Rainbow Wahine, despite dropping a 3-1 decision in Honolulu in the final regular season match last year.
Last Week's Action: Fresno State 3, San Jose State 2 (10-24-02)
Fresno State erupted for three first-half goals and held off a late San Jose State charge in the second half en route to a 3-2 victory last Thursday evening at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs ambushed the Spartans in the opening period, outshooting the visitors 10-1 to open a 3-0 lead. Freshman Kortney Lewis (Visalia, Calif.), sophomore Heather Fox (Morgan Hill, Calif.) and junior Erin Sayegusa (Honolulu, Hawaii) all tallied goals for the Bulldogs in the victory. Lewis and Fox also contributed an assist each- giving them three points apiece in the win- and Eriko Yoshiki (Satte City, Japan) added another for Fresno State. Overall, the Bulldogs outshot SJSU 12-5 and held a 7-2 edge in corner kicks.
Last Week's Action: Fresno State 2, No. 24 Cal State Fullerton 1 (10-27-02)
Fresno State rallied for two second-half goals and the defense did the rest on Sunday afternoon as the Bulldogs notched a 2-1 road upset of No. 24 Cal State Fullerton for its fifth straight victory. The Bulldogs trailed the Titans 1-0 at halftime, but made the most of its scoring chances in the second half to earn the win- its first over a ranked team since 1999. After falling behind 1-0 early in the second half, Kortney Lewis (Visalia, Calif.) gave the Bulldogs the equalizer after taking a pass from Katri Nokso-Koivisto (Kokkola, Finland) in the 70th minute. Five minutes later, Erin Sayegusa (Honolulu, Hawaii) found the net for the game-winning goal, as Lewis was credited with an assist. Goalkeeper Mary-tyler Wahl (Riverside, Calif.) was impressive between the posts, making eight saves.
The Welp File
Stacy Welp enters her second season at the helm after finishing her first season with an 8-10 mark. Welp served as an assistant for the Bulldogs the past two seasons in which the team went 25-15-2. Before coming to Fresno State, she served as an assistant coach for Clemson. Welp graduated from Tulsa in '94 where she earned South Regional honors as a player.
With one week left to play in the regular season, the Bulldog's postseason chances are becoming a little clearer. Fresno State is 5-2-0 in the WAC, good for third place entering the final week of action. UTEP (6-1-0) leads the conference, with SMU (5-1-1) currently in second place. If the postseason was to begin today, Hawai'i (4-2-0) , Tulsa (3-2-1) and San Jose State (1-4-2) would also qualify for the WAC Tournament (in that order). UTEP squares off against SMU in Dallas on Friday night in a match that should decide the regular season champion. Fresno State fans will be hoping for a UTEP loss coupled with a Bulldog victory against Hawai'i, which would give the 'Dogs possession of second place in the conference and a first-round bye in the WAC Tournament. That's because Fresno State upset UTEP 2-0 on Oct. 13 and therefore holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Turning it Around
After losing nine of its previous ten matches, the Bulldogs have won five in a row with one game remaining. Prior to last week, Fresno State had entered the week with a 1-7 road ledger. The current five-game winning streak is the longest since 1999 (Sept. 14-Sept. 30) and best in head coach Stacy Welp's two-year tenure. The early struggles of playing a tough non-conference schedule are proving valuable for the Bulldogs, who are one of the WAC's premier squads at 5-2-0.
Offense Finds Right Time To Explode
When you put together five victories in a row, different aspects of your game tend to click together. For example, take a look at Fresno State's offensive production during its current five-match winning streak. The Bulldogs are outscoring opponents 14-6 during that stretch and have recorded at least three goals in three of those five games. Fresno State matched its highest scoring output of the 2002 season in a 4-3 overtime win at Boise State on Oct. 20.
This Win Ranks High
Fresno State's 2-1 upset road victory over No. 24 Cal State Fullerton last week was not only the first of the 2002 season, but first during head coach Stacy Welp's tenure with the Bulldogs. After loading up on one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, Fresno State knocked off its first ranked opponent since the 1999 season when it defeated No. 10 SMU 3-1at home on Oct. 15. Prior to Sunday's game, the 'Dogs had been 0-3 against nationally-ranked teams this season (No. 17 Pepperdine, No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 California). Fresno State is 4-12 all-time against top-25 nationally ranked teams. The highest ranked team the Bulldogs have ever beaten was in 1999 when the Bulldogs downed No. 7 USC 2-1. The highest ranked opponent FS has defeated on the road also came in 1999 when the Bulldogs beat No. 13 James Madison.
So How Do You Play?
Forgive the 2002-03 Bulldogs if they have forgotten the rules for overtime. After all, the Dogs have not tied a match since the 1999 season, when they battled UTEP to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Oct. 22 in El Paso. While just four of Fresno State's games have reached the overtime session this year, only one went into extra time last season. Overall, Fresno State has gone 60 consecutive matches without a tie.
Part of the reason for Fresno State's recent surge has been the play of its freshmen. Kortney Lewis (Visalia, Calif.) has been impressive in her rookie season, and currently leads the club with eight goals scored, seven assists and 23 points. She also has taken more shots than any other player this on the roster this year- 47. Katri Nokso-Koivisto (Kokkola, Finland) has given Fresno State yet another scoring threat up front in her first year. She is second behind Lewis in goals scored (7), assists (5), points (19) and shots (37). Nokso-Koivistio had an assist in Fresno State's upset of Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, while Lewis recorded one goal and one assist in each of the Bulldogs' two wins last week.
Wall of Steel
Mary-tyler Wahl (Riverside, Calif.) has been steady in goal this season for Fresno State. She has played all but 10 minutes between the posts and has accumulated 83 saves, while allowing just 42 goals. Wahl currently has posted a 2.33 GAA and is second on the all-time list of GAA at 1.63 and with 230 saves. The senior netminder also has recorded three shutouts to her credit this season, giving her 12 for her career. She notched eight-saves in Fresno State's 2-1 upset of Cal State Fullerton last week.
Sayegusa Turning It Up
Junior Erin Sayegusa (Honolulu, Hawaii) has been a large part of Fresno State's recent success. The forward found the net in the Bulldog's 3-2 victory over San Jose State, and then added the game-winning goal in the 2-1 upset of Cal State Fulleton on Sunday. Overall on the season, she is third in goals scored (5), points (11) and shots (30). She also has come through in the clutch this year, notching three-game winning goals for the 'Dogs.
All-Time Against the WAC
Fresno State is 22-18-4 all-time against WAC opponents during the regular season, and holds a 4-7 mark in WAC Championship action. The Bulldogs have a losing record against just one current WAC team, SMU (1-7). Fresno State is 1-1 against Boise State after last Sunday's win. The Bulldogs' most common foe and also the one they've had the most success against is San Jose State. FS is 7-2-1 against the Spartans. Against Tulsa, Rice, Nevada and Hawai'i, the Bulldogs have a combined 11-6-3 mark.
Run at the Records
Junior forward Erin Sayegusa (Honolulu, Hawaii) moved into seventh place all-time with 28 career points. Sayegusa found the net twice Sunday against Boise State with two goals, including the game-winner against Boise State in a 4-3 win. She is also currently in seventh place with 11 goals on the all-time list, as well as eighth place with six assists. Katri Nokso-Koivisto (Kokkola, Finland) has also made her mark, as she is tenth on the career points list with 19 and eleventh on the goals list with seven. Kortney Lewis (Visalia, Calif.) is also steadily making a climb up the charts, as her 23 points rank ninth in that category and her seven assists are good for fifth on the charts.