OREM — WAC play rolls on for the Utah Valley University women's soccer team as it closes its first pass through league play when Kansas City and New Mexico State visit Clyde Field this weekend. The Wolverines face UMKC in the annual Pink for a Purpose Game on Friday at 7 p.m., then turn their attention to the Aggies and a 1 p.m. kick off Sunday.
Live stats and live video are available for both matches, free of charge. Friday's meeting with UMKC will also be televised live and streamed online through UVU TV.
UVU (5-7-1, 3-2-0 WAC) entered last week's matches riding four consecutive wins and holding on to a share of first place in the WAC standings. A pair of home losses dropped the Wolverines down a spot, though, into a three-way tie for second place. Despite outshooting Idaho, 21-11, last Friday night, including a 12-8 advantage in shots on goal, UVU had nothing to show for its statistical dominance, suffering its first conference defeat at the hands of the Vandals, 1-0. It was the first conference loss for the Wolverines since October 2011.
WAC unbeaten Seattle University awaited UVU on Sunday following the disappointing loss, and the visitors maintained their winning ways with a 2-0 victory. Not without its share of chances, Utah Valley was unable to score for the second consecutive match — after scoring nine goals over its first three conference games.
Forwards Natalie Baker, Haley Curtis and Kali Stubbs continue to lead the Wolverines in goals scored with four apiece. Baker scored a double in UVU's last victory — a 5-3 win at Grand Canyon — and led the team with seven shot attempts over the weekend. Curtis has 32 shots on the season to pace UVU, a figure that is good for second in the WAC.
Goalkeeper Lauren Sack is second in the conference in total saves (60), but she leads the WAC in saves per game (5.0) and save percentage (.789). She stopped 10 shots last weekend and is 4-6-0 on the season with one shutout.
The Kangaroos (6-6-1, 3-2-0 WAC) come into Friday's match on a two-game winning streak and are off to one of their best starts in program history. In just its fifth year of women's soccer, UMKC is another newcomer to the WAC after spending its first four seasons in the Summit League. With three wins in their first five league contests, the Kangaroos sit alongside Utah Valley and Idaho in a tie for second place in the standings.
Going 2-0 last week, UMKC picked up a 2-1 road win at Idaho before returning home for a record-setting victory over Grand Canyon. In a 6-2 final score, the `Roos set program marks for goals in a half and goals in a game, while senior forward Taylor Bare scored the school's first-ever hat trick.
Bare's feat earned her WAC Offensive Player of the Week accolades and propelled to her to a tie at the top of the WAC's scoring table with Seattle U's Stephanie Verdoia at eight goals. Also scoring in the match were junior midfielders Ellie Chadick and Alyssa Elver as well as freshman midfielder Emily Herndon.
Herndon and Chadick each have four goals on the season followed by Elver's three. A junior defender, Kaely Tott leads the team and is second in the WAC in assists with five.
Sophomore goalkeeper Nina Tzianos has played all but one half in goal this season, compiling a record of 6-6-1 to go along with two shutouts. She has 54 saves, a .750 save percentage and tallied an assist Sunday when her long pass forward freed Bare toward her first goal.
Friday stands as the first-ever meeting between Utah Valley and Kansas City. It will also be the `Roos first trip to the Beehive State since Oct. 29, 2011, when they fell, 4-1, to Southern Utah in Cedar City.
New Mexico State
The Aggies (4-8-1, 1-4-0 WAC) look to jump up the WAC standings when they face Bakersfield and Utah Valley on the road this week. NM State enters the weekend off three consecutive losses, including a 2-1 defeat at the hands of GCU in its lone match last week.
A preseason All-WAC selection, junior forward Layla Todd is the top goal scorer for the Aggies, coming into Friday with three goals to her name. Senior midfielders Mary Kate Koziol and Daisy Hernandez follow with two tallies each, while four other players have a single strike in their account.
Goalkeeper Jessica Schutter has taken every result for NM State this season and has posted three shutouts. The senior has 62 saves and a save percentage of .738.
Prior to Sunday, the Wolverines and Aggies have never met before on the pitch. NM State is familiar with Utah, however, having made many trips to Logan when Utah State was a part of the WAC.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.