The Southern Utah University soccer team will continue their season this weekend with matches against New Mexico State and Sam Houston State. They will head down to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for their Friday evening game against the Aggies and return home to the Thunderbird Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon to face the Bearkats. These will be two of the seven remaining conference games on the Thunderbirds’ schedule.
This year, the Thunderbirds have put together one of their best seasons in program history. With a current record of 8-1-1, they have already matched their record for most wins in a single season. Southern Utah is tied with both Utah Tech and Utah Valley for 2nd place in the Western Athletic Conference..
SUU has only played New Mexico State once, when they lost 1-0 ten years ago. Friday will be the first and only time the teams will face each other in the 2022 regular season.
This will be the first time the Southern Utah and Sam Houston State women’s soccer teams have ever competed against each other.
The Thunderbirds have been led offensively by freshmen Whitney Wangsgard and Sammie Sofonia, who have scored five and six goals, respectively. Wangsgard leads the team in assists with four while Sofonia leads in goals. Both are on pace to beat the single-season records in those respective categories. Junior Kate Schirmer has been a standout player as well, putting up four goals and three assists with a .552 shot-on-goal percentage.
Redshirt sophomore Megan Short has been the starting goalkeeper for the Thunderbirds all season. Amassing 44 saves, she has kept opponents to only five goals in ten games. Short is also ranked 8th in the nation with a save percentage of .898.
New Mexico State currently sits atop the WAC standings and will head into Friday with a two-game winning streak. Loma McNeese and Bianca Chacon have been leading the charge for the Aggies, having scored five and four goals, respectively, and four assists apiece. Xitlaly Hernandez can also be credited as a notable player with her seven assists so far on the season, ranking 8th nationally.
The Aggies’ only goalkeeper to see playing time so far this year, Makenna Gottschalk, has allowed 10 goals in 12 games with an .828 save percentage. She also ranks 16th in the nation in shutouts with six of them.
The Sam Houston State Bearkats are 6th in the WAC as of now. They have not lost a game since Sept. 23 when they were defeated 1-0 by Stephen F. Austin State University. They will face Utah Tech University on Friday, Oct. 7 prior to their Sunday matchup against Southern Utah.
As a team, the Bearkats have only scored nine goals this season. The team leader, Kailey Pena, has scored three. No player on the team has more than one assist. In their 12 games so far this year, they have been outscored 17-9.
Between their two goalkeepers, Savannah Hall and Tatum Krueger, Sam Houston State has put together two shutouts and 67 saves. They have a combined save percentage of .798.
Last time out
SUU was scheduled to take on Utah Tech on Oct. 2, but it was ultimately rescheduled for Oct. 14 due to lightning in the area.
Prior to this, they traveled to face Tarleton State University on Sept. 25. They brought a 1-0 win back to Cedar City on a goal by Whitney Wangsgard with an assist by Kate Schirmer. The lone score of the game came just under eight minutes after the game started.
Tarleton State was shutout by Megan Short, who only needed two saves in order to secure the victory. The win marked four straight games without a loss for the Thunderbirds.
Southern Utah vs New Mexico State will take place at 7:00 p.m. MT on Friday, Oct. 7 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The game can be streamed on WAC International.
Southern Utah versus Sam Houston State will be in Cedar City at the Thunderbird Soccer Field. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2:00 p.m. MT and can be streamed on ESPN+.
Story by: Anden Garfield
Photos by: Anden Garfield