Fresno State/No. 5 Santa Clara vs. Stanford/Saint Louis- 1 p.m.
Scouting No. 5 Santa Clara
Santa Clara (14-4-2, 4-2-1 WAC) is making its 17th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and is the only Division I school to have reached the quarterfinals in each of the last ten. The Broncos received one of four No. 2 seeds in this year's field. As Fresno State enters the tournament playing its best soccer of the year, Santa Clara notched just one victory in its last four games to close out the regular season. However, Santa Clara has knocked off a number of nationally-ranked teams in 2005, including a 2-1 double-overtime victory over then-No. 1 Notre Dame at home back on Sept. 9. The Broncos are led by: Jordan Angeli (10 goals, 24 points, 72 shots), Tina Estrada (8 goals, 19 points, 49 shots) and Julie Ryder (0.59 GAA, 38 saves, eight shutouts). Head coach Jerry Smith, one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history, is in his 19th season at the helm.
Fresno State All-Time vs. Santa Clara
Santa Clara holds a 3-0 all-time edge. Prior to this year, the Mustangs won 3-1 on Sept. 19, 1998 and 6-1 on Oct. 9, 2001. The two teams met back on Oct. 7 with the Broncos winning 2-0. Playing against its highest-ranked opponent in three years, Fresno State gave a competitive effort but came up short. Santa Clara held a 14-4 edge in shots in that match and received two goals from Jordan Angeli. All three matches in the series have been played in Santa Clara.
`Dogs Ready To Party Like It's 1999
Fresno State is making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Bulldogs won a program-best 14 matches and defeated three top-25 teams in 1999, the only other year in which the club qualified for the postseason. Fresno State was edged 1-0 by SMU in double-overtime in the WAC Tournament title match but did enough to garner an at-large selection and host a first-round match at Bulldog Stadium. Fresno State drew Cal Poly in the first round on Nov. 10, 1999, and the Mustangs claimed a 2-1 victory.
Fresno State vs. 2005 NCAA Tournament Field
Fresno State owns a 1-1 record against teams in this year's NCAA Tournament field. The Bulldogs only victory was a 1-0 shutout at UNLV (Mountain West champion) on Sept. 16. Fresno State was blanked 2-0 at Santa Clara on Oct. 7.
2005 WAC Tournament Recap
Fresno State Claims First-Ever WAC Tournament Title
Fresno State, which has now qualified for the WAC Tournament 11 straight seasons, holds a 9-10 mark in conference postseason play after this year's memorable postseason run. The Bulldogs checked in as the No. 5 seed and won three consecutive games to claim the conference's automatic bid.
Fresno State 2, Utah State 1 (Nov. 3, 2005- WAC Tournament Quarterfinals)
Kortney Lewis scored the game-winner at the 74:15 mark to secure a 2-1 Fresno State victory over Utah State, which also represented the Bulldog's first WAC Tournament win since a 4-0 shutout of Tulsa in 2002. Antonea Lugo served a ball to Lewis, who tapped home the go-ahead goal while leading all players with three shot attempts. The Aggies outshot the Bulldogs 10-9 and scored the equalizer in the 59th minute. Fresno State took an early lead when Andrea Alires scored her first goal of the year off a corner kick.
Fresno State 2, Hawai'i 1 (Nov. 4, 2005- WAC Tournament Semifinals)
Antonea Lugo's first two goals of the season put Fresno State on the verge of an NCAA Tournament berth, as the Bulldogs upset No. 1 seed and regular-season champion Hawai'i for the second time in less than a week. Rookies Nicole Gutierrez and Alison Sill provided assists for the Bulldogs, who hung on despite being outshot 17-14. The Fresno State defense did a good job of bottling up three-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year Natasha Kai. Bulldog netminder Angie Larsen made a career-best nine saves in the win.
Fresno State 1, San Jose State 0 (Nov. 5, 2005- WAC Tournament Championship)
Cortney Sobrero scored for the first time in six games and propelled Fresno State to a 1-0 shutout of San Jose State and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Sobrero, who led all players with four shots, scored in the 22nd mintue following assists from Nicole Gutierrez and Antonea Lugo. The Bulldogs overwhelmed the Spartans in the first half, scoring early and owning a 9-2 shot advantage. Koleen Anderson chipped in with three shots while Gutierrez and Kortney Lewis added two. The Bulldog defense- anchored by Rochelle Jagdeo and goalie Angie Larsen (three saves)- was tremendous.
Fresno State Well-Represented On All-WAC Team
Four Bulldog student-athletes were named to the 2005 All-WAC first team, matching a school record while junior defender Rochelle Jagdeo was also selected as the Defensive Player of the Year. Senior Kortney Lewis and juniors Rochelle Jagdeo, Angie Larsen and Cortney Sobrero were all named to the first team, as Fresno State led conference squads with four first team honorees. The Bulldogs last placed four student-athletes on the first team during the team's 1999 NCAA Tournament campaign. Freshman Alison Sill was named to the second team, giving the Bulldogs a total of five selections overall, second-best in the WAC. Natasha Kai of Hawai'i was named Offensive Player of the Year, San Jose State's Liz Behlen earned Freshman of the Year honors and Pinsoom Tenzing of Hawai'i was Coach of the Year.
Lewis Named WAC Tournament MVP
Senior Kortney Lewis was named WAC Tournament MVP, registering six shots total (four on goal) through three matches to go along with her game-winning goal in a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Utah State. Lewis, along with juniors Rochelle Jagdeo, Angie Larsen, Antonea Lugo and Cortney Sobrero, were also All-Tournament picks. Prior to this season, Fresno State had not produced a WAC All-Tournament selection since three players (Kortney Lewis, Katri Nokso-Koivisto, Mary-tyler Wahl) received the honor in2002.
Jagdeo Tabbed Academic All-District VII
One day after after she was named WAC Defensive Player of the Year, junior defender Rochelle Jagdeo was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District women's soccer team. Jagdeo was named to the second team and becomes the first Bulldog soccer player to earn Academic All-District VIII recognition since 2003, when Katri Nokso-Koisvisto was also tabbed a second team selection. Jagdeo, a two-time Academic All-WAC honoree, has maintained a 3.82 cumulative GPA over her first two seasons and is majoring in kinesiology-exercise science. She is also a two-time Fresno State Scholar-Athlete and two-time WAC Scholar-Athlete. Jagdeo, one of five players to start all 18 games this year, anchored a backline that allowed just five goals in WAC play and helped the Bulldogs register eight shutouts. Jagdeo has taken four shots on the year, three of those on goal.
Bulldogs vs. Top-25
Since national polls were introduced and records were kept, Fresno State is 5-19-1 all-time against opponents ranked in the top-25. The Bulldog's last win over a nationally-ranked program was a 3-1 road win at No. 25 Charlotte in the 2003 season opener. Fresno State is 0-2 in such games this year, falling 3-0 to No. 21 Cal Poly and 2-0 to No. 5 Santa Clara. When Fresno State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999, the Bulldogs finished 3-4 against top-25 squads that included wins over No. 7 USC (2-1) and No. 10 SMU (3-1).The highest-ranked team Fresno State has ever faced was No. 3 UCLA on Sept. 20, 2002, with the Bruins recording a 3-0 shutout in Fresno.
Turning Things Around
Fresno State is assured of its first non-losing season in five years, as the Bulldogs finished 11-9 overall in 2000. In fact, the Bulldogs have not registered any double-digit victory seasons since 2000. With 10 wins this season, Fresno State has now recorded double-digit win totals four times in school history (1997: 12-9, 1999: 14-6-2 and 2000: 11-9). Peter Reynaud served as head coach during all three of those seasons.
Fresno State has crafted somewhat of a road-warrior reputation this year, going 9-5 in games played away (5-5 away, 4-0 neutral) from Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs have won six consecutive road matches since a 4-2 loss at Nevada on Oct. 9. During those six consecutive road wins, Fresno State has outscored its opponents 8-2 combined with four shutouts.
`Dogs Are Streaking
Fresno State's current four-match winning streak is the team's first since a five-game winning stretch in 2002 (Oct. 13-Oct. 27). The Bulldogs, who have won seven of nine overall, are unbeaten in eight out of the last nine games. The late-season surge, punctuated by an undefeated three-game run in the WAC Tournament, is why Fresno State finds itself in the NCAA Tournament.
Throwing Up Zeroes
One of the primary reasons for Fresno State's late-season success has been an impressive defense. The Bulldogs ranked second in the WAC in defense behind Hawai'i, allowing just 25 goals. Even more impressively, the Bulldogs allowed only seven goals in 10 matches against WAC opponents. Fresno State has recorded eight shutouts on the year, owns a 5-3 record in 1-0 games and has allowed three or more goals in a match only four times. Problem is, Fresno State has been held scoreless in a match on eight different occasions. Through 21 matches, the Bulldogs have tallied just 21 goals.
Larsen Limits The WAC
Junior goalkeeper Angie Larsen has allowed only three goals in her last nine starts. She has seven shutouts on the year and has made 50 saves while posting a 0.67 GAA in her first collegiate season as the Bulldog's starter. Her record stands at 8-5-2 and she posted a 0.16 GAA in regular-season WAC contests. For her efforts, she was one of four Bulldogs to garner All-WAC first team honors last weekend.
Finishing The Job
The ability to create opportunities and shots has not been a problem for Fresno State, which owns a 264-207 edge over its foes. However, of Fresno State's 264 shots, 123 have been on goal and only 21 have found the back of the net.
Name Is The Same On Offense
No matter how you spell it, the majority of the offensive production has come from the usual suspects: senior Kortney Lewis and junior Cortney Sobrero. Lewis and Sobrero share the team lead in goals with six and almost always figure into the scoring. Lewis leads the `Dogs in points with 17 and is tied for the team lead with five assists. Sobrero leads the team in shots (77) and shots on goal (32). Both players have been named All-WAC first team selections and continue to climb in the record books as well.
Newcomers Gaining Experience
Nine newcomers have appeared in at least one game so far and four of those players have received a starting nod (Nicole Gutierrez, Alison Sill, Selena Gill, Angie Larsen). Forwards Gutierrez and Sill have made the biggest impact on the offensive side. Gutierrez has scored three goals, all of those coming in the form of game-winners in 1-0 victories. Sill has added two goals and four assists for a total of eight points and she has also taken 28 shots (16 on goal).
Bulldogs Picked Second In WAC Preseason Poll
Fresno State was tabbed to finish second in the WAC this season, garnering 43 points along with one first place vote. The runner-up ranking was Fresno State's highest since being picked to finish third in 2003. The revamped eight-team WAC featured a different look this year, as only five programs that competed in last year's league return. Utah State, Idaho and Louisiana Tech were all new.