Match notes (PDF)
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland State women's soccer team (1-4-0) heads into the home stretch of its non-conference schedule with a home match against Air Force Sunday at Hillsboro Stadium at 1 p.m. (PT).
The Vikings head into the home stretch of the non-conference schedule having played the second-toughest schedule of any Big Sky team, according to HEROSports.com. Portland State has played two opponents currently ranked in the NSCAA Coaches Poll already in No. 22 Arizona State and No. 23 Long Beach State, while the four teams to beat PSU this season have a combined record of 17-3-1 after last weekend.
The Vikings also played a quality Hawai'i team last Friday, and beat the Rainbow Wahine 1-0 on the back of a first-half goal from freshman defender Megan Myers. Hawai'i came into the match having put a scare into then-No 3 Stanford in their season opener, but PSU redshirt senior goalkeeper Angela Haluska made a career-high 11 saves to leave a potent Hawai'i attack wanting for a goal. Haluska's 11 saves were the most by a PSU goalkeeper in a single match since Lainey Hulsizer recorded 14 saves against Sacramento State on Sept. 30, 2011.
Against Air Force, the Vikings face a team that had a run of bad luck while finishing tied for eighth in the Mountain West Conference last season at 7-10-1 overall and 4-6-1 in conference play. Four of the Falcons' losses came in double overtime, including one to Northern Colorado out of the Big Sky.
The Falcons played Northern Colorado again this season, and lost 1-0 to the Bears at the Colorado Cup. The Falcons followed that loss with a 3-2 loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Sept. 4, but bounced back for a 3-1 win over Morehead State on Sept. 6.
The Falcons will play at the University of Oregon Friday, before heading up to Portland for their match against the Vikings Sunday. This weekend will be the Falcons' first time playing outside of the state of Colorado this season.
Soccer City USA has a new best deal in town, as all Portland State home soccer games are free to the public.
Live video will be available for the Vikings' match against Air Force with play-by-play by Matt Marquette. Fans can access the live stream by clicking the "soccer stream" tab on the women's soccer page on GoViks.com. GoViks.com staff will also publish a special "gameday" article right before the start of the match that will have the stream embedded in it.
Live stats will also be available for match against Air Force this Sunday. Fans can find the live stats link on the women's soccer schedule page on GoViks.com.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE:
The Air Force Falcons (2-2) have split each of their first two weekends of the regular season so far. The Falcons beat Denver 2-0 in their season opener at the Colorado Cup on Aug. 21, but then lost 1-0 to Northern Colorado on Aug. 23. Then, after a full weekend off, the Falcons lost 3-2 to Fairleigh Dickinson on Sept. 4, before coming back with a 3-1 win over Morehead State on Sept. 6. The Falcons allowed two late goals to Fairleigh Dickinson in their loss, as FDU scored in the 75th and 85th minutes to rally past the Falcons after trailing 2-1 at the half. Other than that match, the Falcons have been a stout defensive team with a goal against average of 1.25. Uniquely, the Falcons have played three different goalkeepers through their first four matches of the season in freshman Jennifer Hiddink, sophomore Meghan Strang and sophomore Alex Kahalley. Hiddink, the freshman, saw her first action of the season in the second half of the Falcons' win over Morehead State, and pitched a shutout in the period while the Falcons came back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to win the match, 3-1. Senior forward Ally Swift scored two of the Falcons' three second-half goals in their comeback win over Morehead State, tying her for the scoring lead with sophomore forward/midfielder Brooke Kunzelman for the season. Kunzelman has assisted on three goals in addition to her two goals, and leads the Falcons with seven total points as a result. The Falcons have not played a road match yet this season, but will Friday, as they play at the University of Oregon before heading up I-5 for their match against Portland State. Additionally, the Falcons are coming off a tough-luck 2014 season when they lost four of their 18 matches on golden goals in double overtime.
ALL-TIME SERIES VERSUS AIR FORCE:
Air Force leads the all-time series between the Falcons and the Vikings, 4-1-1, though the teams have not played each other since 2002. The Vikings won that match 2-0 at home for their only win in the series so far. Neither Air Force head coach Larry Friend or Portland State head coach Laura Schott have faced each other before Sunday.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Vikings faced a split weekend last week, hosting Hawai'i Friday, before heading out on the road for a match at No. 23 Long Beach State Sunday. The Vikings beat Hawai'i 1-0 Friday as freshman defender Megan Myers scored on a goal-match scramble following a corner, while redshirt senior goalkeeper Angela Haluska made 11 saves. Haluska's 11 saves set a new career high for the goalkeeper, and marked the most saves by a PSU keeper since Lainey Hulsizer made 14 saves against Sacramento State on Sept. 30, 2011. The Vikings did not have as much luck against the Long Beach State 49ers, however, as the team lost 6-0 to the team that beat then-No. 4 UCLA at the start of the season.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE:
Portland State head coach Laura Schott likes to challenge her team and she's done so again this non-conference season, as the Vikings have played the second-toughest schedule of any Big Sky team so far, according to HEROSports.com. Additionally, the Vikings have already played two opponents currently ranked in the NSCAA Coaches poll in No. 22 Arizona State and No. 23 Long Beach State, while the four teams the Vikings have lost to have a combined record of 17-3-1. The Vikings also beat a talented Hawai'i team that put a scare into then-No. 3 Stanford on the first day of the 2015 regular season. Hawai'i led Stanford 1-0 going into the 70th minute of that match, but Stanford came back with two late goals to beat Hawai'i, 2-1.
BIANCHINI WRITING HER NAME IN PSU RECORD BOOKS:
Senior midfielder/forward Cori Bianchini already has her name all over the PSU record book, and will be looking to move up in several categories throughout the season. Entering 2015, Bianchini already ranked in the top 10 all-time in points, points per game, goals, goals per game, assists, assists per game and shots on goal per game, and recently moved into the top 10 in total shots last weekend. Bianchini also ranks just outside the top 10 in shots per game, and will enter the top 10 in total shots on goal with three more.
ANGELA HALUSKA, SAVE MACHINE:
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Angela Haluska has been a save machine for the Vikings in goal and enters the weekend ranked eighth in the nation with 41 total saves so far this season. Haluska has already had two matches with 10-plus saves, including last weekend when she made 11 saves in the Vikings' 1-0 win over Hawai'i. Haluska's 11 saves against Hawai'i were the most by a PSU goalkeeper since Lainey Hulsizer made 14 saves against Sacramento State on Sept. 30, 2011. Haluska also made 10 saves in the Vikings' season opener against No. 22 Arizona State, and has made six or more saves in the Vikings' three other matches as well. Overall, Haluska averages 8.2 saves per match this season, an average that would rank as the second-best single-season average in school history if the season ended today. Additionally, Haluska stands on the verge of entering the top 10 all-time at Portland State in saves per match and save percentage once she meets the minimum requirements, and will enter the top 10 all-time in total saves with 14 more.
Despite the youth on the defensive side of the field, the Vikings still returned a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball this season, led by last year's co-leaders in points in senior forward Tamia Hasan and senior midfielder/forward Cori Bianchini. Hasan led the Vikings with four goals scored last season, while Bianchini led the Big Sky with five assists in conference play and made her second straight All-Big Sky first team. Besides them, senior Emma Cooney, junior Bianca Munoz and sophomore Katie Forsee return after starting most of last season at their respective positions. Munoz was an All-Big Sky second-team selection last season, when she started the final 11 matches of the season and ranked tied for second on the team with two assists. Outside of last year's starters, redshirt senior goalkeeper Angela Haluska, redshirt junior midfielder Whitney Hilde, junior midfielder Aurora Bodenhamer, sophomore forward Zoe Vincini, junior midfielder Nikia Evans, sophomore midfielder Dallas Malone, sophomore forward Rachel Michieli and sophomore midfielder Lauren Owensreturn after playing last season, while redshirt freshman goalkeeper Abbie Faingold and redshirt sophomore defenders Breanne Chilton-Eddy and Kristin Moyer return after sitting out last season.
The Vikings brought in 10 freshmen with their 2015 recruiting class, including five defenders who have helped bolster the team's young defense. Head coach Laura Schott singled out Rachel Ross and Maxine Nagramada as two defenders who could contribute right away, while Laura Gougeon, Zoe Ramer and Dallin Esmond should all also factor into the Vikings' lineup. Outside of the team's new defenders, Ashton Blanksma gives the Vikings a third option at goalkeeper, while Megan Myers, Morgan Matthews, Kylie Long and Krystal de Ramos will all factor into the Vikings' attack.
A LOADED MIDFIELD:
The Vikings entered the 2015 season with a loaded crop of midfielders to choose from for a starting lineup. Senior midfielder/forward Cori Bianchini has been a leader for the group, as she led the Big Sky with five assists in conference play last season. Besides her, senior Emma Cooney, junior Bianca Munoz and sophomore Katie Forsee all also returned after starting the majority of the team's matches last season in the midfield. Additionally, redshirt junior Whitney Hilde made three starts in the midfield for the Vikings last season and was part of the Vikings' rotation all season.
BIG SKY PRESEASON POLL:
Big Sky coaches picked the Vikings to finish third in the conference this season in the annual preseason coaches poll that was released in August. Portland State earned 74 points in the poll, placing them behind preseason favorites Northern Arizona and Montana. NAU and Montana each earned 93 total points in the poll, but NAU beat out Montana for the top spot on the virtue of NAU's five first-place votes to Montana's four. Weber State received the other two first-place votes and finished fourth in the poll with 72 total points. Northern Colorado and Idaho State, meanwhile, rounded out the hypothetical six-team Big Sky tournament field, as they placed fifth and sixth in the poll with 60 and 57 points, respectively.
2014 SEASON RECAP:
A senior-laden Vikings team surged over its final six matches of the regular season to finish second in the Big Sky last season, continuing the team's streak of finishing no worse than second in the Big Sky for the seventh straight season. The Vikings started Big Sky play just 1-2-1 after four matches, but then won five of their last six to finish at 6-2-2. Goalkeeper Caitlin Plese led the Vikings from the back, as she tied the Portland State career record for shutouts with 17 by the end of the season. Plese was also named the Big Sky Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season, and made her second straight All-Big Sky first team along with senior defender Kayla Henningsen and then-junior Cori Bianchini. Senior Kelsey Henningsen also made the All-Big Sky second team as a member of the team's defense, as well as Torie Morris, who was an All-Big Sky honorable mention. The Vikings also set a Big Sky Conference record at the start of the 2014 non-conference schedule, as the team broke the record for longest unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win over Utah Valley in its season opener. That win extended the Vikings' unbeaten streak to a record 14 matches, and the team would stretch it to 16 before a loss to then-No. 21 California snapped it. The Vikings also pulled out a dramatic, 1-0 overtime win over in-state rival Oregon early in the season, giving the Vikings their first win over the Ducks since 2004.