Sept. 3, 2010
The Arizona State women's soccer team begins a stretch this week in which it will play eight of its next 10 games away from home when it travels across the country to take on Charlotte (Fri., Sept. 3 @7 p.m. ET) and South Carolina (Sun., Sept. 5 @1p.m. ET).
The Sun Devils (2-0-0) enter this week's action unbeaten after defeating Northern Arizona (4-3 in Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Baylor (3-1 at home) in their first two contests of the season.
ASU began the week leading the Pac-10 in both goals per game (3.5) and assists per game (3.0). Leading the Sun Devils offensively have been senior forward Karin Volpe and redshirt sophomore forward Sierra Cook, who have each combined for a pair of goals and one assist in the two wins.
Friday night's game at Charlotte will be a matchup of two undefeated teams as the 49ers (2-0-0) are ranked second in the NSCAA's Mid-Atlantic region and ASU is third in the Pacific region. Charlotte started off its season with a 1-0 win over Davidson in its home opener and then took to the road and defeated in-state rival N.C. State 2-1. The offensive attack for Charlotte has been very balanced thus far with three different players scoring one goal and three different players with one assist. This will mark the second meeting between ASU and Charlotte as ASU defeated Charlotte 1-0 in 2007 in Tempe.
When ASU takes on South Carolina (3-1-0, No. 19 NSCAA) Sunday afternoon they will be facing one of their toughest non-conference tests of the season. Last year South Carolina made it to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked No. 9. This will be the first ever meeting between the Sun Devils and Gamecocks.
Looking at the Big Picture
A participant in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, the Sun Devils are looking to make back-to-back NCAA appearances this season for only the second time in program history. Doing so would be quite an accomplishment given that 11 of the 19 opponents on ASU's 2010 schedule made it to the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Sun Devils return several key members from last year's team, including senior midfielder Alexandra Elston (7 goals, 6 assists, 20 points in 2009) and senior forward Karin Volpe (5 goals, 4 assists, 14 points).
On the back line the Sun Devils return sophomore defender Sierra Joseph, who started all 20 games last season.
Key losses for ASU include defender Liz Harkin, who started in 78 of 79 career games, earning First-Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2008 and again in 2009 and goalkeeper Briana Silvestri who concluded her career as ASU's all-time leader in GAA. Silvestri's ASU career was cut short by a knee injury midway through the 2009 season. Stepping into her place was freshman Alyssa Gillmore whose play belied her lack of experience as she concluded the 2009 season with 70 saves and a GAA of 1.54 (had a 0.31 GAA the final three games of the season).
Home Sweet Home
Last season the Sun Devils made the most of their opportunities to play in front of their home crowd as they went 7-1-2 at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. The seven wins tied the second-highest number of home wins in program history. ASU continued its recent trend of success at home in its 2010 home opener in which it defeated Baylor 3-1. The Sun Devils are 19-9-4 at home in Kevin Boyd's three-plus seasons as head coach.
Head Coach Kevin Boyd
Was named the third coach in the history of the ASU women's soccer program on March 30, 2007... In 2009, his third season on the job, Boyd led ASU to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003. Along the way, the Sun Devils broke into the NSCAA Top 25 for the first time since the 2004 preseason... In 2008 the Sun Devils nearly qualified for the NCAA Tournament despite losing six players to season ending injuries. ASU's 8-8-4 record included a win against seventh-ranked and defending national champion USC, ASU's first win over a Top-10 squad since 2001. In 2008 the Sun Devils also defeated No. 20 UC Santa Barbara and recorded ties at seventh-ranked Texas and at No. 22 California... In 2007, Boyd's first season at ASU, the Sun Devils produced a double-digit win total (10-9-1) for the first time since 2003... On the academic side, the Sun Devils have earned 32 Pac-10 All-Academic citations in Boyd's three seasons, including nine first-team members and four second-team members. The 2009 first-team honorees are the most of any team in the Pac-10 during that span. ASU has also had three student-athletes earn Academic All-America honors. In 2007-08 the Sun Devils' 3.55 cumulative GPA was among the top 15 in the country according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America... Prior to coming to Arizona State, Boyd spent 10 seasons as the head coach at California where he complied a 130-63-20 record and led the Golden Bears to the NCAA Tournament eight times... Under Boyd the Golden Bears produced 28 first or second-team All-Pac-10 Conference selections while also garnering 21 selections to the Academic All-Pac-10 first or second teams. Additionally, Boyd's teams carried a stellar overall GPA, leading all Cal teams during the 2003-04 season (3.34)... In his final season at California he led the Golden Bears to the third round, their deepest run in the tournament in nearly 20 years... Attended Tri-State University in Angola, Ind., where he was a four-year letterwinner... An honorable mention All-American in 1989, Boyd was a three-time team captain for the Trojans while earning three all-district selections, three all-area selections and three all-MICL selections as a sweeper. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Tri-State Hall of Fame.
Record at ASU: 29-24-9 (3 seasons)
Career Record: 153-87-29 (13 seasons)