Sept. 12, 2006
Cullowhee, N.C. -
The Western Carolina women's soccer team will attempt to even its record on the season when it visits the Nebraska Cornhuskers today at 5:00 pm CT, 6:00 pm ET in Lincoln. Nebraska (3-0-2) appeared second in the Soccer Buzz national poll in the "others receiving votes" category for a national rank of 32nd. The 'Huskers are also ranked sixth in this week's Central Region poll by the same organization, up two spots from last week.
Nebraska Game Notes
Nebraska is slated to offer live game audio for the contest through their website. Fans can access that audio prior to kickoff by CLICKING HERE.
Western Carolina (2-3) is coming off back-to-back wins in the Border Shootout in El Paso, Texas, concluding the 1,000-mile plus road trip today. After being held scoreless in each of its first three matches of the season - and four-in-a-row dating back to last year's trip to the NCAA College Cup Championships in Chapel Hill - WCU exploded for seven goals in its two wins over the weekend. The Catamounts defeated Texas State, 3-1, on Friday (Sept. 8) before tallying four goals in a 4-2 win over Sam Houston State on Sunday (Sept. 10). The four goals in the latter marked the most for a Western squad since scoring six in the season-finale in 2004. Prior to WCU's first goal of the year in the win over the Bobcats, the Catamounts had been held scoreless for 312 minutes this season and a total of 402 dating back to last season.
Just like a year ago, the 2006 Catamounts have been very balanced in the offensive production as six different players have scored goals this season and two different players have recorded assists, with the third going to junior Lauren Atkinson, who is second on the team in points with a goal and an assist. Freshman Bri Cunningham leads Western with four total points, scoring two goals in the win over Sam Houston State.
Atkinson currently leads the team with seven total shots, followed by classmate Heather Dittmer and freshman forward Rachael Shomper with six shots apiece.
In net, senior Alesha Row has been solid for Western despite having allowed eight goals thus far. Last season, the All-SoCon performer and tournament MVP only surrendered 18 goals all year. The Fargo, N.D., native is still just one shutout victory shy of tying Western's all-time career shutouts record of 18 held by Mandi Tinsley (1999-02).
Nebraska is not the first ranked opponent Western has faced this season. On the opening weekend, the Catamounts battled the then 12th-ranked Duke Blue Devils to a 1-0 decision (Duke is currently ranked 17th). Western has also faced regionally-ranked foes, North Carolina State (12th in the southeast), Charlotte (exhibition win, 13th in southeast) and East Carolina (16th in southeast) this year.
Following today's match with the Cornhuskers, Western returns home for back-to-back home matches on Family Weekend. The Catamounts open Southern Conference play this Friday, Sept. 15 at 7:00 pm at the Catamount Athletic Complex hosting Wofford (1-2-2) and also entertain Gardner-Webb on Sunday at 2:00 pm.