UNCG at George Mason, Sept. 2, 7 p.m., Fairfax, Va.
LiveStats: UNCGSpartans.com (via GoMason.com)
Video: Patriot Vision (subscription-based)
UNCG vs. No. 18/23 Tennessee, Sept. 4, 2 p.m., UNCG Soccer Stadium
Video: Spartan All Access (free)
- UNCG's women's soccer team will hit the road for the first time this season when it heads to Fairfax, Va., for a nonconference bout at George Mason on Friday at 7 p.m. The Spartans return home to host nationally ranked Tennessee on Sunday at 2 p.m.
- The Spartans enter the weekend 0-2 on the young season after a 5-0 loss to No. 14 Wake Forest on Friday. Both of UNCG's losses this year have come against Atlantic Coast Conference teams currently ranked in the national top 25, as Virginia Tech entered the Soccer America poll this week at No. 25.
- UNCG's game against East Carolina on Aug. 28 was canceled by inclement weather brought by Hurricane Irene and will not be rescheduled.
- UNCG is 2-6-2 against George Mason all-time but won the last meeting, 6-3, on Aug. 29, 2008. The Spartans got two goals from then-freshman/now-senior Nicole Danford in that contest, while UNCG also got goals from Jamie Corti (now an assistant coach for the Spartans), Katelynn Donovan, Jenn Partenheimer (now a student assistant) and Kelly Attayek. Mason got goals from Kelly Keelan and Theresa DeLucca to take a 2-1 lead into halftime, but the Spartans exploded for five second-half goals to counter Keelan's second goal of the game. Senior keeper Alex Perry, then a freshman, got the start in the net, while Barrie Vogel, now a student assistant for UNCG, played the second half to earn the win.
- Cat Barnekow is UNCG's top returning scorer from last season, as she had 22 points on four goals and 14 assists. Lauren Hein had 18 points on seven goals and four assists, while Jaimey Etten is the only other returner to reach double figures, as she had 11 points on three goals and five assists. Kristin Player, who redshirted last season, led the team in scoring in 2009 with 20 points on seven goals and six assists.
- Senior keeper Kelsey Kearney, a three-time All-SoCon selection (first team, 2008 and 2010), is UNCG's career leader in goals against average, as she has posted a 0.74 mark through her first three-plus seasons. Already UNCG's school record-holder with 31 shutouts in just three seasons, she needs six more to become the SoCon's career leader in that category.
- Kearney was named one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award at the beginning of the season. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is given in football, men's and women's soccer, men's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball, softball, men's and women's basketball and volleyball.
- The Spartans have knocked off a ranked opponent in each of the last three seasons. In addition to downing No. 10 Wake Forest in 2010, UNCG toppled then-No. 11 Duke in 2009 and then-No. 15 Santa Clara in 2008.
- Like the Spartans, George Mason (0-2-1) has faced a tough schedule in the early going, taking on two Big East school in its first three games. The Patriots dropped a 2-1 decision to St. John's to open the season on Aug. 22 before playing to a 1-1 draw with Richmond at the Penn State Invitational on Aug. 26. Mason dropped a 3-0 contest to No. 17 West Virginia on Aug. 28 to wrap up its stay in University Park, Pa.
- Against Richmond, Jazmin Cardoso scored for the Patriots in the 86th minute to force overtime and salvage the draw. In the opener against St. John's, Kelly Pizzingrilli scored in the 75th minute – answering a Red Storm goal less than three minutes earlier – but it was not enough to rally GMU to the win.
- Cardoso and Pizzingrilli share the team scoring lead with two points each on a goal each, while Kelly Thomas has one point on an assist. Keeper Lyndse Hokanson started Mason's first two games and has posted a 2.48 goals against average, while Alex Bodenschatz, who saw the majority of minutes against Richmond and started the WVU match, has a 1.49 mark. She made a career-high 10 saves against the Mountaineers.
- Tennessee, off to a 3-1 start to the season entering its Friday night contest against Middle Tennessee State, has jumped into a pair of national polls this week. The Lady Vols are 18th in the SoccerTimes.com Top 25 and No. 23 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Top 25.
- The Lady Vols opened the season with a dramatic 2-1 win over Kansas on Aug. 19, scoring on a penalty kick in the 98th minute to open the 2011 campaign with a victory. Caroline Brown, who scored the game-winner against Kansas, notched her first career two-goal game on Aug. 21 as Tennessee downed Oklahoma 3-1. Brown was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week after her performance and was tabbed a CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer.
- Tennessee cemented its place in the national polls with a solid showing at its own First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic over the weekend, dropping a 2-1 game to UCLA (No. 15 NSCAA/Continental Tire; No. 8 Soccer America) and knocking off No. 18 (NSCAA) Texas A&M, 1-0. The Lady Vols had UCLA on the ropes late on Aug. 26, but the Bruins scored twice in the last 10 minutes to avoid the upset. Tennessee made amends two days later, with Brown's second penalty kick of the season proving the difference. Freshman keeper Julie Eckel made five saves for her first career shutout.
- Entering play Friday, Brown leads the Lady Vols with eight points on four goals (three of them game-winners), while Kylie Bono and Chelsea Hatcher have three points each, both scoring a goal and adding an assist. Eckel has played every minute in goal for Tennessee, posting a 0.98 GAA and 18 saves in 367:16.
- Hatcher joins Kearney among the 30 national nominees for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
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