USU soccer: Woller, freshmen-fueled first half frenzy boosts Aggies to 3-0 win over Creighton

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 23 2013 9:40 p.m. MDT

LOGAN - Three goals in the first 33 minutes and stonewall play from sophomore goalkeeper Jeannie Woller paced Utah State women’s soccer to a 3-0 win over Creighton Friday afternoon in the Aggies’ season opener at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.

Friday’s match was the first official action for Utah State as a member of the Mountain West Conference, as the Aggies are in their first year in the new league after eight years in the Western Athletic Conference.

"It was great that we had the first opportunity for a Utah State team to get a win as a Mountain West team because we’re the first ones to compete," USU head coach Heather Cairns said. "We were very pleased with our performance and pleased with our result. It’s a pretty good start to the season."

The match also had a personal connection for Cairns, who was an assistant coach at Creighton from 1999-2002, before becoming the Aggies’ head coach.

Utah State avenged a 1-1 draw at Creighton last season, and the Aggies now lead the all-time series, 1-0-1. USU has now opened the season with a win in each of the last five years and has won its last four home openers as well.

Woller made seven saves in the game to earn the clean sheet for the Aggies. The sophomore keeper now has 2 1/2 career shutouts.

Junior forward Lauren Roundy put USU on the board early in the match by taking a long pass from freshman midfielder Jayne Robison and blasting a firecracker to the upper left corner past a diving Creighton goalkeeper Danielle Rice for a 1-0 Aggie lead with just over five minutes into the match.

Less then eight minutes later, sophomore midfielder Kylie Dibb struck nylon, taking a deflection off a save by Rice and drilling it to the back of the net in the 14th minute.

Freshman midfielder Jessica Brooksby logged her first career goal in the 33rd minute, taking a long pass from junior defender Brooke Larsen-Leavitt and burying it in the net for a 3-0 Aggie advantage.

"What opportunistic finishes. You can’t ask for much more than that," Cairns said. "We were three goals for four shots in that first stretch. It came from those forwards pressuring those backs. It’s great that Jayne Robison and Jessica Brooksby got their first college points, so we’re getting some of the rookies on the boards and really happy with the start."

USU ended the half with five shots, while Creighton had six.

The Bluejays had several scoring chances in the second half, many of them in the early going, but Woller was there to thwart them. In the 53rd minute, Woller stoned Creighton’s Lauren Sullivan by diving to the right and snaring the rocket of a shot.

"I think Jeannie was definitely a difference maker for us," Cairns said. "I remember two in particular, where she dove to her right and just robbed them of goals and that just changes the complexion of the match a heck of a lot, and that’s not even taking into account some of their services where she tipped it away from their forwards and runners. I thought Jeannie was just stellar today."

Five of Woller’s seven saves came in the second stanza, keeping the zero under Creighton’s name on the scoreboard.

"Today was a great day. We live for this and we love this game. Saving a ball like that, wow, there’s no other rush like that. With my team playing like they were, made my job easy, and made today a perfect day, cloudy, rainy and everything, just a perfect day," Woller said. "The crowd was great today, plus the Utah State athletes just support each other so much. We had football players here, gymnasts, basketball players, everybody was here, plus our family and friends, and we love all the support we get from the crowd. It’s awesome and they become our best friends at home, even if we don’t know all of them. Having them roar behind me just gets me pumped to make the next save and the next one."

Utah State has a quick turnaround as it continues its season-opening two-match homestand by hosting in-state foe Utah Valley on Monday, Aug. 26, at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field at 4 p.m. The match brings back former Aggie assistant coaches as Wolverine head coach Brent Anderson and assistant coach Alyssa Lowry were both former USU assistants under Cairns. Lowry was also a four-year lettererwinner for USU from 2005-08.

Live stats for Monday’s match will also be available on USU's Athletic website. There will not be any video streaming available for the match.

Admission to all home USU soccer matches at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field is free.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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