WOMEN'S SOCCER: Utah State University women's head soccer coach Heather Cairns announced the 2012 soccer schedule on Tuesday. The Aggies will play a total of 19 matches in 2012, including one against a team that competed in the 2011 Women's College Cup.
The Aggies will hold one exhibition match prior to the start of the season, hosting Southern Utah on Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. For the fourth-straight season Utah State will play a match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home of Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake squad. USU is 3-0 at its unofficial home away from home going 2-0 against Weber State and 1-0 against Utah. This season, the Aggies will take on Utah on Aug. 17. The Utes will be the host squad for this match. Last season, the Aggies used a Shantel Flanary goal to propel them over Weber State, 1-0.
Utah State will play its first match at the friendly confines of Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on Aug. 19 against former Western Athletic squad, UTEP. The Miners are one of 12 schools that USU will play this season that either have been or are currently members of the WAC. This will be the first meeting between the Aggies and the Miners since Utah State beat UTEP, 2-0, in 2008.
Following the single match at home, Utah State will travel to Omaha, Neb., to take on Creighton on Aug. 24 and Nebraska-Omaha on Aug. 26. The Aggies will round out the first month of the season, facing the first of three teams from the Big Sky Conference when USU hosts Northern Colorado on Aug. 31.
The Aggies open the second month of the schedule with a season-long three-match road trip that begins at Utah Valley on Sept. 2. The blue and white will then play a pair of matches in Portland, Ore. USU takes on the Big Sky's Eastern Washington on Sept. 7 for the first time since 2007. The Aggies round out the road trip against another Big Sky foe Portland State on Sept. 9.
USU will then return home for a trio of difficult home matches, beginning against Washington on Sept. 13. This is only the second meeting between the Aggies and the Huskies with UW beating USU in 2009. The Aggies will then take on in-state rival BYU in Logan on Sept. 20. Utah State rounds out the home trip against Wyoming on Sept. 23 to end non-conference action.
The Aggies will open their eighth season in the WAC on the road in Las Cruces, N.M. against New Mexico State. USU is the reigning WAC regular season and tournament champions. Utah State will conclude the month of September in Denver, Colo., against new WAC member Denver on Sept. 30. The two teams have met twice with both teams capturing one win. They have not met since the 1998 season.
USU returns home to host new WAC members UTSA (University Texas at San Antonio) on Oct. 5. The Aggies then take on Texas State, another new WAC member, on Oct. 7. The Aggies are 1-0-1 all-time against the Bobcats, last meeting in 2008. Texas State advanced to the 2011 Women's College Cup. Utah State hits the road on Oct. 12 to face, taking on Seattle. The Redhawks are the last of four new WAC teams that the Aggies will take on this season. USU ends the road trip on Oct. 14 against Idaho.
Utah State will close out the regular season with a pair of home matches. The Aggies will take on San Jose State on Oct. 19 and end the regular season against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 26.
For the first time since Utah State joined the WAC in 2006, the WAC Soccer Tournament will be held in Logan, Utah, Oct. 31-Nov. 4. Last season, the Aggies won their first WAC Tournament.
USU returns seven starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's squad that ended a historical season with a 15-5-2 record. USU finished with a 5-1-1 WAC record en route to their third WAC regular-season title in four years. Utah State also won its first WAC Tournament title and advanced to its first NCAA Tournament. Leading the Aggies next year will be two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Year, Natalie Norris. Offensively, midfielder Kendra Pemberton is the top returning scorer, ending last season with seven goals and nine assists for 23 points.
TRACK AND FIELD: Utah State University track and field distance runner Kyle McKenna was named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week, for the week of March 19-25. This is the first WAC Athlete of the Week honor for McKenna.
McKenna, a sophomore from Farmington, Utah (Viewmont High School), won his first event of the 2012 outdoor season clocking in at 14:42.53 to win the 5,000 meters at UC Irvine's Spring Break Collegiate Invitational in Irvine, Calif., on March 23-24. McKenna's time leads the WAC and ranks 26th in the nation this season.
This marks the third time an Aggie has been named a WAC Outdoor Track and Field Athlete, as seniors Lindsey Spencer and Hunter Nelson were honored for the week of March 12-18. Additionally, three Aggies received the accolade during the 2012 indoor season including sophomores Chari Hawkins and Kylie Hirschi as well as senior Spela Hus.
USU track and field will return to action at the Don Kirby Collegiate Invitational on Friday and Saturday, April 6-7 in Albuquerqe, N.M. Utah State will host its lone home meet of the season, the Mark Faldmo Invitational, on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21 at the Ralph Maughan Track Stadium.
WOMEN'S TENNIS: In the last of four matches in five days, the Utah State women's tennis team was on the road Tuesday, taking on in-state rival Weber State. They came away victorious, with a 5-2 win over the Wildcats. USU ended the long stretch with a 3-1 record.
The Aggies gained momentum early on in the match, with a sweep of the doubles competition. Junior Jaci West and freshman McKenzie Davis put up a fight, coming out ahead of Brittiny Moore and Ashley Tanner, (8-7). Senior Romina Nedakovic and junior Kristina Voytsekhovich defeated Michelle Warwick and Nittaya Phonharath, (8-4), while senior Julie Tukuafu and
freshman Kimberly Watts beat Thais Kurer and Carly Lloyd, (8-3).
The singles lineup saw a slight change Tuesday, with reigning WAC player of the week McKenzie Davis taking over the No. 1 position. It ended up being a tough transition as she fell to Moore in three sets, (1-6, 7-5, 6-4). In the No. 2 position, West got back on track with a win over Tanner, (6-3, 4-6, 6-4). Voytsekhovich took down Phonharath, (6-4, 6-0), while Nedakovic defeated Warwick, (6-4, 6-0). Senior Monica Abella beat Weber's Annika Karlsen, (6-4, 6-3), and Tukuafu suffered the only other loss of the match, falling to Kurer, (6-2, 6-4).
With the win, the Aggies improved to 8-6 on the season, while the Wildcats remain winless at 0-16. Next, the team will travel to Hawaii, April 5-7, where they will play three matches in three days, including Western Athletic Conference rivals Hawai'i and San Jose State. USU will also face Hawaii-Pacific.
SOFTBALL: Getting a big lead early in both games of a doubleheader, the BYU softball team rolled to a 8-2 win in game one and a 16-1 win in game two against UMKC on Tuesday night at Gail Miller Field.
In the first game, senior Stacie Toney went 2 for 2 with a double and a home run, driving in three runs. Sophomore Katie Manuma also homered for the Cougars, finishing the game going 1 for 2 with a walk and two RBI. Junior JC Clayton had two hits and scored two runs in the win over the Roos.
Starting pitcher Tori Almond picked up the victory, improving to 6-2 on the season. The sophomore went six innings, allowing one earned run on just two hits while striking out seven.
The Cougars jumped out of the gates early, stringing together three-straight singles to take an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. BYU added on when Toney doubled home senior Tiffany Messerschmidt and Clayton. Toney scored later in the inning on a wild pitch and, after reaching on an error, Manuma scored on a single from sophomore Ashlee Brawley to make the score 5-0.
Toney hit a solo home run to deep right field to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the third. UMKC got a run back in the top of the fourth inning to make it 6-1.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Clayton led off the inning with a single up the middle. BYU picked up two more runs when Manuma homered over the left field wall for an 8-1 advantage.
Game 2: BYU jumped on the ball early and never looked back en route to a crushing 16-1 victory in five innings in the second contest of the night.
Brawley went 2 for 3 with a double while driving in four runs to lead the Cougars (21-8). Senior Delaney Willard also went 2 for 3 with a double and a home run, bringing in two runs and scoring three more.
Toney also continued her hitting from game one, tacking on two hits, including a double, with two runs, an RBI and a walk. Sophomore Carly Duckworth and senior Krista Hicks also had two hits apiece for the Cougars.
Starting pitcher Hannah Howell was consistent throughout her five innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits. Howell's victory improved her record to 10-4 overall.
BYU took advantage of poor pitching early by the Roos as the first three Cougars batters walked. After gaining a 3-0 lead with RBIs by Toney, Duckworth and Goar, third baseman Brawley hit a bases clearing double, pushing the Cougars lead to 6-0.
BYU tacked on another run in the bottom of the second when Willard drove the ball deep over the right field wall for her team-leading 12th home run of the season.
UMKC added its only run of the game in the top of the third making it 7-1.
The fourth inning was all Cougars as BYU added nine more runs on nine hits. Freshman Megan Arnold highlighted the offensive output with her first career hit at Miller Field, a grand slam to right center field. Willard and Toney each added RBI doubles in the inning.
The team will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Fresno to face the Fresno State Bulldogs at 6 p.m. PT.
WOMEN'S GOLF: The BYU women's golf team finished second in the 15-team Anteater Invitational, its final competition of the regular season, which concluded Tuesday at Dove Canyon Country Club in Dove Canyon, Calif.
The Cougars finished the 54-hole tournament with a 58-over-par 910 total, six shots behind champion Washington State. Idaho placed third at 913 with UC Irvine in fourth at 915. UC Riverside and Long Beach State tied for fifth, after shooting 921 for the tournament.
"That was a huge confidence booster for us," said BYU coach Carrie Roberts. "We beat a lot of good teams."
Sophomore Annika Afoa (10-over 223), freshman Lauren Atkinson (12-over 225) and senior Maggie Yuan (18-over 231) tied for fifth, tied for seventh and tied for 19th, respectively, in the individual competition, helping BYU to its best finish of the season.
Afoa and Atkinson each moved up the leader board after shooting final rounds of 5-over-par 76 on the final 18 holes Tuesday. Along with Yuan, this was the first time all season that BYU had three golfers in the top 20 and two in the top 10.
"Both Annika and Lauren played really well," Roberts said. "Golf is both an individual and team sport. The girls really put it together well as a group."
Other Cougar scores included Maria Yacaman at 236 (78-79-79) and Amanda Keith at 242 (76-76-90).
With the regular season completed, BYU will be back in action on April 16, when it heads to Hollister, Calif. for the West Coast Conference Championship.
MEN'S TENNIS: Weber State's Simon Unger was honored by the Big Sky Conference on Tuesday, earning the league's Tennis Player of the Week award for matches played between March 20-26.
Unger, a senior from Germany, went a perfect 6-0 last weekend, leading Weber State to a 2-1 record in Las Vegas. Unger opened the weekend, alongside doubles teammate Oliver Good, with an 8-6 win over Western New Mexico's Johan Welch and Juan Pablo Fuentes. He then won in singles, defeating Fuentes 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 to lead WSU to a 5-2 win over the Mustangs.
On Saturday, Unger and Good kicked things off for the Wildcats' doubleheader with an 8-5 win over Felix Macherez and Austin Andres of UC Riverside. In singles, Unger took down Macherez again, winning 6-0, 7-6 in the No. 1 singles match for another point as Weber State came up one point short in a 4-3 loss to the Highlanders.
Against Seattle University on Saturday afternoon, Unger finished off his week with another pair of wins. He and Good dominated the Redhawks' top team of Mark Shkrebtan and Yusuke Kanehira 8-1. He then came back in singles to score a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Shkrebtan in the No. 1 match, as the Wildcats pulled out a 4-3 win.
The award is the third for Unger this season.
MEN'S SINGLES: Southern Utah got wins at first and third singles but Idaho State won the doubles point and took the other four singles matches in a 5-2 Bengal win at the Thunderbird Courts on Tuesday at Cedar City.
SUU got an 8-1 win from Alex Ivanova and Olia Tatarchenko at first doubles but Rilee Moorhead and Marian Tangarife prevailed for ISU over Ksusha Johnson and Lisa Pleskan, 8-3 at No. 2. SUU lost the third doubles match by default, giving the Bengals the doubles point.
With just five players SUU forfeited the game at sixth singles and Tangarife gave ISU a 3-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Afton Staheli at No. 4. SUU then got points from Tatarchenko and Johnson to pull within 3-2. Tatarchenko notched a 6-3, 6-3 win over Moorhead at No. 3 and Johnson was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Katharina Marsela at No. 1.
After a slow start Plsekan rallied against Zamira Vasquez, but Vasquez pulled out a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 5 and in the final match of the day ISU's Laura Porras outlasted Ivanova, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, to win the point at second singles.
SOFTBALL: The Dixie State College softball team continued their winning ways with a two wins over Hawaii Hilo on Tuesday at Karl Brooks Field in St. George. The Red Storm won the opener 5-0 and the nightcap by the mercy rule in the sixth 10-1 to extend their winning streak to nine games.
In game one, senior pitcher Lauren Folta (Erda. Utah/Tooele High School) pitched a complete game, scattering five hits allowing no runs while striking out seven Vulcan (14-9, 9-8 PWC) hitters. Folta pitched out of a jam in the sixth and seventh innings to improve to 8-2 on the season.
In the third frame Nicole Chavez (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala High School) led the inning off with a single up the middle and scored on an RBI double to left center field by Courtney Hine (San Dimas, CA/San Dimas High School) giving DSC (16-7, 9-5 PWC) a 1-0 lead.
Johnna Brown led the sixth inning off with a double down the right field line and Kelsey Mendenhall (Tooele. Utah/Tooele High School) followed with a walk. Courtney Sherwin (Mesa, Ariz./Red Mountain High School) followed with an RBI double to give DSC a 2-0 lead.
Three batters later with the bases loaded Chavez doubled into the left center field gap to plate the final three DSC runs. Chavez was the lone DSC hitter with three hits.
In game two, it was all the Red Storm. DSC jumped on the Vulcan starter Jessica Pepin and chased her from the game. DSC scored one run in the first and four runs in the second on five hits to take an early 4-0 lead.
In the 5th inning, Brown lead the inning off with a walk and freshman third baseman Sheila Gelter (St. George, Utah/Dixie High School) hit her second home run of the season over the left field fence to give the Red Storm a 6-1 lead.
DSC added four more runs in the sixth inning on three hits. The inning included a towering 3 run home run to left field for Mendenhall. It was her sixth of the season.
Chavez and Hine each had two hits for Dixie State.
In the circle, Mattie Snow (Tooele, Utah/Tooele High School) allowed just three hits and one unearned run, while striking out two. She improved to 6-4 on the season.
The Vulcans and the Red Storm conclude the four game series with a doubleheader tomorrow at Karl Brooks Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
MEN'S GOLF: The Red Storm took made their first visit this year to the venerable Wigwam Golf Resort, host site of the 2012 NCAA West Central Regional, and finished 8th in the two-day, 54-hole event at Litchfield Park, Ariz.
DSC shot a collective 4-over-par 868 on the par-72, 6,852-yard Red Course. Top-ranked Cal State Stanislaus won the event at 24-under par. Western Washington was second (849), followed by Colorado-Colorado Springs (851), Abilene Christian (853) and the Grand Canyon (B) squad (857).
Freshman Hayden Christensen paced the Red Storm, finishing in a tie for 22nd at 1-under 215. He finished with a final round 70.
"Hayden started to find his grove and played a solid tournament. I'm very proud of him," said head coach Reed McArthur.
Senior Kyle Chappell (Richfield, Utah/Richfield High School) was one shot behind Christensen at 216. He shot 73 on the final day and finished 2-over for the tourney..
Freshman David Cunningham (73-72-73) finished tied for 32nd with a 218, senior Nick Drost (Salt Lake City/Brighton High School) carded a 219 (74-72-73) and junior Matthew Brearton finished with a 229.
The Red Storm play next week at the Cal Baptist Invitational at Primm Golf Course in Primm, Nevada.
BASEBALL: In the course of competing for a conference championship, teams engage in the task of winning every series placed in front of them. In Dixie State College's case on Tuesday, that would include splitting with Hawaii Pacific after taking the opening two games on Monday.
That's exactly what the Red Storm did. The Sea Warriors busted out for 15 hits in a 7-5 victory before the Storm rode the arm of the reigning Pacific West Conference Pitcher of the Week in the 6-2 nightcap victory. Dixie State took three of four games from HPU over the two-day set.
DSC completed a season-long home stand with 13 wins to sit at 21-9 on the year and 17-7 in the PacWest. HPU departs from Utah's Dixie at 18-8, 10-6 PWC.
Stefan Cantwell felt the offensive fury from the Warriors. The freshman scattered two runs on four hits in the HPU second inning and was tagged with three of the four runs posted by the visitors in the third.
The Storm went to work after spotting HPU a 6-0 lead by chipping away in innings four through seven. Jayden Darrington had an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth and Colton Yack brought home a run with a groundball in the fifth.
Darrington added a pair of runs with a home run, his first at Dixie State, in the sixth. Tyson Littlewood brought the Storm within two runs lining a sharp double to left field in the seventh.
Opportunities presented themselves in theeighth and ninth innings, but HPU's Edward Trovato closed out the rally attempts. He caught Cedric Johnson and Garrett Nash on called third strikes to leave two runners in scoring position in the penultimate frame. In the subsequent frame, Trovato loaded the bags with two outs. He rebounded to end the game by striking out Darrington swinging.
A trio of Sea Warriors had three hits – Blake Amaral, Derek Nakasato and Troy Ajer. The Warriors outhit DSC 15 to 11.
The series finale allowed Jason Holmes – the current PWC Pitcher of the Week – another opportunity to shine. He responded with quality. Holmes allowed one run on five hits while striking out four batters over six innings.
Offensively, the Red Storm provided all of the firepower in the first three innings. In the first, Yack and Joe Andrade lined back-to-back doubles. Jordan Hanley followed later with a sacrifice fly, plating Andrade.
Small ball took center stage in the second. Yuto Kata singled to shortstop and Nash reached on a bunt single. After both advanced 90 feet on a balk, Yack bunted toward first. The throw toward first sailed well above the head of the defender allowing both lead runners to score and Yack to advance to third. Andrade added an exclamation with a liner into center for the Storm's third run of the frame.
Daniel Zapata pitched himself into a jam in the final frame. He allowed his first earned run of the year, but overcame a shaky start to induce a double play and fly ball to close the ballgame.
Nash and Yack led the way with two hits each. DSC had nine hits in the series finale.
Dixie State will have 15 days off before continuing conference play. Next on the schedule is a doubleheader with HPUfrom Hans L'Orange Park in Waipahu, Hawaii on April 12 at 7 p.m. Mountain.