Bulldogs Set Scoring Records in 2007
Dec. 19, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - When Steve Springthorpe was named head coach of the Fresno State women's soccer team four years ago he had one request from his team and that was that they needed to work hard. Four years later this year's senior class has done just that.
After finishing second in the WAC regular season and the WAC tournament, this year's group of eight seniors has left with many team records. This year's group of graduating seniors is the only class to advance to the conference tournament championship game three straight years.
They are the winningest class in school history with a 41-31-10 record, good for a .560 winning percentage. Defensively, this year's senior class was a part of a group that recorded 36 shut outs over their four years as a Bulldog.
"They have all grown," Springthorpe said on his eight seniors. "They all grew and became a major part of this program. They will be a hard group of eight people to replace."
"I told this class at the beginning of the year that this group of eight seniors has really been a rock for our program," Springthorpe said. "They are a hard working bunch of girls. They play hard. They love the game. They are great teammates and have great chemistry. They have done everything that I have asked them to do. "
After recording a school record 16 shut outs last season, the Bulldogs turned around and added 10 more this year. Offensively, the team set the single season assist record with 34 and they had the second most goals in a season with 36.
Although Fresno State didn't accomplish its goal of winning the WAC championship they were still able to finish with 13 wins for the second straight season.
"Overall it was a pretty solid season," Springthorpe said. "Having 13 wins and equaling our win total from last year was a good thing, especially after how we started."
For the second straight season Fresno State had six players named to the All-WAC team. Earning First -Team honors were Reyes, Ali Sill and Kaity Revel while Alires, Nicole Gutierrez and Selena Gill earned Second-Team All-WAC honors.
Gutierrez led Fresno State's offensive attack with 10 goals and five assists. Reyes had nine goals and two assists while Sill had four goals and a school record nine assists. Davis and Salvador each had five goals on the season. Gutierrez became the fourth player in school history to record a hat trick, when she had three goals in a 3-2 win over UTEP.
"In the past we have always had one kind of goal scorer," Springthorpe said. "This year Nikki had 10 goals but Amanda had nine. To have two goal scorers, one in double figures and one a goal away, helped us spread some things around in the attacking side in putting the ball in the back of the net. Our attacking players did what they were supposed to do. They got us some goals, created some chances going forward and were aggressive."
The Dogs didn't hold teams scoreless like they did last year but they were still very solid in conference play as they gave up only four goals. The defense was anchored by the play of Alires, Gill, Bradlee DeShane, Aubrey Tennant and Kaity Revel.
"Our defense did a great job of handling people in one-v-one situations and limiting opportunities," Springthorpe said. "To only give up four goals on set pieces means we did defend pretty well."
Revel played 1783:01 minutes in goal and recorded nine shut outs and 71 saves. Along with being named First-Team All-WAC she was also named WAC Defensive Player of the Week twice during the season.
"To her credit she steadily got better towards the end of the season," Springthorpe said. "She really found her groove and felt comfortable playing. By the second half of the season she was doing the things that were asked of her. She had good distribution, was solid on the balls that were hit at her and she would make a big save for us. Kaity still has some work to do but the sky is in front of her. What we have seen is just a little bit of what I think Kaity can eventually be. She has a chance to be very good."
The Bulldogs got off to a slow start to open the season as they gave up five goals in two different matches. In the final 11 games Fresno State found its groove defensively as they allowed less than a goal a match.
"The dynamic of our team was very different than what it has been in the past," Springthorpe said. "We always had the same players and then add a couple. This year the dynamic of practice was half were freshmen to go along with our returning players. Trying to find the right group of people on the field took us a little bit of time."
The turning point of the season came following a 5-1 loss to UC Riverside. Two days later, the Bulldogs lost to Loyola Marymount 2-0 but the Fresno State coaching staff was pleased with how hard the players performed.
"That was a rude awaking to lose 5-1 to Riverside," Springthorpe said. "With LMU coming up next, a team who was regionally ranked, we knew we had to do something now. We found our true selves in that LMU game. We played. Although we didn't win, we just battled. We didn't do that earlier. That proved we are pretty good when we play hard and are focused."
Following the loss to Loyola Marymount, Fresno State went on to win 10 of its next 14 matches. After two straight 13 win seasons, the future remains bright for the Bulldog soccer program.
Springthorpe returns All-WAC performers in Gutierrez, Sill, Gill and Revel. Springthorpe had other first year players that made contributions on the field during the course of the season. Bradlee DeShane started the majority of the season as a defender while Krissy Looney, Alex Jensen, Lauren Satterlee and Ally Ventura all played key roles for the Dogs this year.
"We lose a lot of great seniors but we still have a large core of great players returning that will allow us to continue to contend for a conference championship," Springthorpe said.