Despite a rocky start to the season, the Pilots bounce back at the Portland Nike Invitational
By Lesley Dawson Staff Writer email@example.com
After a hard luck, three-game losing streak for the first time since 1999, the women's soccer team was able to bounce back over the weekend, hosting the Nike Invitational at Merlo Field against Northwest rivals University of Washington and Oregon State University.
The Pilots were only able to tie UW 1-1, but came out of the match against OSU victorious 2-1 as they spent the weekend battling to regain their winning form, both games going into overtime.
"This weekend was a great sign for us as a team," head coach Garrett Smith said. "We got off plenty of shots, played tough, and competed against two equally hungry teams who wanted to knock us off."
The Pilots first faced off against the Huskies, who garnered four yellow cards and one player ejection, remaining one of the most notoriously physical teams that the Pilots face annually.
"We always expect this out of Washington. They have some big girls and they're physical," junior mid-fielder Taylor Brooke said. "They want what we have and they want to silence our crowd. We just had to fight back and I think we did."
UP discovered an aggressiveness they had been lacking in the last three losses with 29 shots throughout the game, compared to only nine by UW. Unfortunately, only one of those shots, by senior forward Danielle Foxhoven, was able to find the back of the net in the 62nd minute.
Foxhoven was set up with a perfect cross-field pass by Brooke, who fired in a wide open shot into the top right of the goal.
"That was a beautiful pass by Taylor, I knew it was coming because we made eye contact and she just laid it right on my foot and no one was on me so I drilled it," Foxhoven said.
Foxhoven's goal and UP's lead didn't last long as the Huskies tied the game seven minutes later. The tie didn't stop Foxhoven, Taylor and freshman forward Rebekah Kurle from attempting a flurry of shots in the two extra overtime periods.
"We looked dangerous tonight," Smith said. "Everything was contested. We're getting more used to each other and getting to where we need to be. This game, despite the result, was day and night better from the last five games."
The Pilots finally got the result they wanted, coming out of another overtime game the leader against OSU 2-1. The Pilots trailed until Foxhoven's offensive skill came through again in the 39th minute. With confidence high, Foxhoven kicked in the tying goal from 23 yards away.
"After the last three losses, we really had to step back and re-assess where we are and who we are as a team," Foxhoven said. "This weekend we came out aggressive and worked together until we were in positions to win and we took care of it."
Going into overtime for the second time in three nights, sophomore forward Micaela Capelle made a quick spin move around a defender, moving the UW defense until Foxhoven was again left open near the left post. Foxhoven, unnerved, kicked in the game-winning goal to raise UP's record to 3-3-1.
Foxhoven was awarded Offensive MVP for the tournament with three goals, and she has been the major source of UP's offense as she has scored five of the teams six goals this season.
The Pilots play No. 2 Stanford at Merlo Field today at 7 p.m. UP hopes to take revenge for their only regular season loss last season coming from Stanford on their field. Stanford's No. 2 ranking is well warranted as they have yet to lose a game this year and have already beaten high profile opponents like Notre Dame, Northwestern, Georgetown, Maryland and Penn State.
Junior outside hitter Kate Bostwick shares her hopes for the 2011 volleyball season
Since the start of the volleyball pre-season, junior outside hitter Kate Bostwick has been nominated for back-to-back All-Tournament Team honors and has emerged as a key offensive and defensive player on the court.
The Pendleton, Ore., native began her volleyball career in fourth grade and continued throughout high school, playing club in Tri Cities, Wash. Off the court, Bostwick enjoys running, camping, the outdoors and spending time with her family and dogs.
Last season, Bostwick made the West Coast Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll. As she enters her third year at UP, Bostwick, a biology major, is considering a career in a sports-related science, such as exercise science.
In preseason tournament play, Bostwick emerged as one of the leaders on a team with a lot of depth. Her performances in both the Aztec Invitational and Portland Nike Invitational helped her become an integral part of both offensive and defensive elements of the Pilots' game.
"As an upperclassman, it's important to be a leader especially because we have so many younger people stepping up," Bostwick said. "Me, Ariel (Usher), Jess (Nguyen) and the other upperclassmen have done a good job of getting everyone on the court and feeling comfortable no matter what grade they are."
Fellow junior outside hitter Ariel Usher agrees with Bostwick that the upperclassmen are responsible for guiding the younger players.
"We need to show an example on and off the court as upperclassmen," Usher said. "We can't expect things that we don't do ourselves."
On Sept. 3, Bostwick was named to the Portland Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team, after receiving her first career All-Tournament Team nomination in the Aztec Invitational on Aug. 27.
After posting three matches with kills in the double digits so far in the preseason, Bostwick was excited about the tournament honors she received.
"It's really nice to know that your hard work is being noticed," she said. "It's always been a goal and it feels great to be recognized."
Usher is also excited about Bostwick's back-to-back All-Tournament Team nominations.
"I think it has really shown us and Kate that she is able to dominate the game when she wants to," Usher said. "That is so crucial for us because we need a player like Kate."
Head coach Joe Houck agrees that Bostwick has a legendary work ethic.
"She's one of the hardest working and most talented athletes on any court," Houck said. "It's a pleasure to see her hard work getting noticed with her performance."
Last weekend, the Pilots fell to Valparaiso and Lipscomb in the Golden Dome Invitational Opener, leaving them ranked at 4-7 going into the regular season, according to the West Coast Conference 2011 Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll.
"I feel like we have been consistent even though our record doesn't exactly show that," Bostwick said. "We just need to work on finishing those close games."
Bostwick said she has noticed a lot of improvement in the team, regardless of winning or losing. She hopes that these team dynamics and the hard work the Pilots have put in during the off-season will continue to benefit the team in conference play.
"We have a solid six out there at any time," she said. "That's a big advantage and a reason we are so much better this year."
Fresh off of a big win against Notre Dame, Bostwick hopes that this energy and their preparation in the preseason will propel the Pilots as they continue this week.
"We really want to finish the preseason with the win against Notre Dame, win two games this week and roll into the conference with confidence," Bostwick said.
In spite of their low preseason rank, Bostwick feels that the depth of the team and their experiences in preseason tournaments will help them reach their goals.
"We really hope to finish a lot higher than we did last year, hopefully in the top three," Bostwick said. "This is the best team we've had in a long time."