Cowgirls Soccer Headed to California for the Weekend

From the desk of Amy Dambro

LARAMIE – Wyoming is back in action this week with two road contests. They will face the Fresno State Bulldogs on Friday followed by a match-up against the San Jose State Spartans on Sunday. Friday’s match is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT in Fresno followed by a 1 p.m. start on Sunday in San Jose.

Wyoming enters the week with an 8-3-3 record and 3-2-1 in the MW. They earned a 3-1 victory over Colorado College on Friday afternoon followed up by a 1-1 tie with Air Force on Sunday.

Seniors Annika Clayton and Brittney Stark lead the way with three goals, while six other Cowgirls have two goals each. Clayton has a team high 30 shots followed by Stark with 26. In conference games, Stark is tied for fourth in shots and goals and eighth in points. Junior Summer Taube is tied for fourth in points. 

The Cowgirl offense ranks second in assists (1.00 aspg) in conference games, third in points and goals while taking 13.33 shots per contest which is fifth.  Overall, they have a 43.8 shots on goal percentage and have taken 52 corner kicks compared to 47 by their opponents.

Junior Cristina Salazar has played all 14 games in net, has 38 saves and a 1.11 goals against average. She is also seventh in the league with three shutouts. Freshman Hannah Lee has played in nine matches and has 27 saves and two shutouts. Senior defender Taylor Burton has logged 1,328 minutes of the 1,343 played by the Cowgirls including all 90 eight times, 93 once and 110 minutes four times.   

“This week our mission remains the same since we have opened conference play, and that is to gain two wins,” head coach Pete Cuadrado said.  “We have some positive takeaways from our last two matches, and some areas we’ve been working to improve.  If we can improve in front of goal and finish off a few more of our shots we will give ourselves a great chance to win.  On the flip side, we need to remain focused defensively.  Scoring from both the run of play and from set pieces will be very important, and the team embraces this as we head out this weekend.  Overall, we need to keep moving forward and keep gaining momentum.”    

Fresno State is 3-9-2 overall and 2-3-1 in Mountain West play entering this week. Last time out, they dropped a 2-1 contest against UNLV. They were picked to finish tenth in the coaches poll. FSU is currently in a tie for eighth in the standings.

The Bulldogs are led by midfielder Tori Nicolo and defender Emma Chivers, who have three goals and six points each. Midfielder Melissa Ellis has a team high 19 shots with ten of those on goal. Nicole Theroux has played 11 matches in goal and has 41 saves along with a 1.52 gaa. Fresno State returns four starters and 11 letterwinners to a team that went 10-6-4 overall and 5-4-2 in league play.

This will be the eighth meeting between the two schools. Wyoming leads the series 3-2-2 and has won three out of the last four. The last time the two teams met was Sept. 29, 2017 in Laramie. It was a 0-0 tie after 110 minutes of action. The Cowgirls are 1-2-2 at home and 2-0 against the Bulldogs. 

San Jose State is currently 6-5-2 overall and 5-1 while currently sitting in second place in the league standings. They will face Colorado State on Friday afternoon prior to the Cowgirls. Last time out, they earned a 1-0 win over UNLV and are riding a three match winning streak.

Jamilecxth Becerra leads the team with three goals, 39 shots and 13 on goal. The reigning player of the week Haleigh Wynne plus Darriell Franklin follow with two goals apiece. Goalkeeper Paige Simoneau has been in goal for 12 games and has a 0.64 gaa which leads the league.  As a team, San Jose State is averaging 12.9 shots per contest.  

This will be the ninth meeting between the two schools. San Jose State leads the series 5-3. The last time the two squads met was Oct. 1, 2017 with the Cowgirls earning a 1-0 win in Laramie. Wyoming is 2-2 at home against the Spartans and 1-3 on the road.