KICKING IT OFF: The Arkansas State soccer team hits the road for the first time this season traveling to El Paso, Texas to take part in the UTEP Tournament. ASU faces undefeated Weber State at 3 p.m. Friday and then plays Sam Houston State on Sunday at 10 a.m.
THE SERIES: This will mark the first meetings between ASU and both Weber State and Sam Houston State.
THE OPPONENTS: Weber State stands undefeated at 3-0, owning wins past Westminster, Maine and then-ranked No. 21 Utah. Jessie Baddley and Nicole Moore lead Weber State with three points each while Rebecca Ritchie has played all 270-minutes in goal making 20 saves. Sam Houston State is 1-3 with a win over Prarie View A&M, 6-0. Shelby Grissett leads the Bearcats with six goals, while Haley Rohlmeier has two goals. Jenny Pence has logged 315-minutes in goal making 27 saves and owning a 1-3 record.
LAST GAME: (9/6/09) - A quick turnaround didn't seem to bother the Arkansas State (3-2) soccer team as they won the inaugural Red Wolves Cup with a 4-0 shutout win over Grambling (1-3) in the championship match last Sunday at the ASU Soccer Park.
The Red Wolves had only 27 hours rest in between their first and second round games during the Red Wolves Cup due to lightning in the Jonesboro area on Friday.
Sophomore defender Stasha Siers earned tournament MVP honors being placed on the tournament team with fellow ASU players Susan Brown, Kara Nitti and Ashley McMurtry.
The Red Wolves scored their first goal in the 39th minute (38:16) when sophomore Anna Kaloughirou sent a pass to freshman Chelsea Fricke who found the back of the net from the center of the field.
After the break, ASU scored three goals in less than 20 minutes. Sophomore Karly Kuranda one timed a pass from Lyndsey Patterson sending a laser to the top right of the goal in the 61st minute (60:59). Kuranda then assisted Kara Nitti on her first goal of the match when she took a corner kick. Nitti got a head on the ball and sent it straight into the net. The goal in the 73rd minute (72:19) was the second goal scored by Nitti on a header in as many days.
Ashley McMurtry took a pass from 20 yards out from Tory Pitts firing ASU's last goal into the upper right corner of the net, giving ASU their final 4-0 advantage in the 80th minute (79:12).
The Red Wolves held a firm advantage offensively; taking 28 shots to Grambling's four with 21 shots on goal.
Susan Brown played all 90-minutes in goal for ASU making three saves and turning in her first solo shutout of her collegiate career. Her counterpart Cherie Silas made 17 saves in goal for Grambling, taking the loss.
ASU sophomore Michele Clark took six shots on goal to lead the Red Wolves in the match. Nitti had four shots, three on goal, while Lucy Brient had three shots, two of which were on goal.
ASU returns to action at the UTEP tournament next weekend. The Red Wolves play Weber State on Friday and Sam Houston State on Sunday.
SIERS-TOURNEY MVP: ASU sophomore defender Stasha Siers was named the tournament MVP of the inaugural Red Wolves Cup last weekend. Siers was joined on the team by fellow ASU players Susan Brown, Kara Nitti and Ashley McMurtry.
BACK TO BACK SHUTOUTS: Last weekend the Red Wolves posted the first back-to-back shutout victories in program history since the 2001 season when ASU beat ULM and Alabama A&M in consecutive shutouts.
BROWN LEADS CONFERENCE: ASU freshman goalkeeper Susan Brown leads the Sun Belt with a 0.26 goals against average. Brown also ranks fourth with a .875 save percentage.
OUTSHOOTING THE COMPETITION: ASU has outshot opponents this season 116-27, averaging 23.2 per game to 5.4 by their competition. During last season ASU took 226 shots for the entire season, while they have reached more than half that mark through only five games this season. ASU's 226 shots last season was a record for most shots in a season, they are on pace to crush that mark this season. ASU freshman Tory Pitts and Lucy Brient lead the Red Wolves in shots with 16 each.
TOP SCORERS:Through five games this season ASU has three players who have scored multiple goals. ASU sophomore Kara Nitti leads the team with three goals and one assist. Freshman Ashley McMurtry and junior Anna Kaloughirou rank second with two goals each. ASU sophomore Meghan Mace leads the team with three assists.
YOUNG PACK: Arkansas State is one of the youngest teams in the Sun Belt Conference boasting only five upperclassmen on the squad of 24 players. In their first contest of the season ASU had nine starters who are listed as a freshman or a sophomore on the Red Wolves roster.
TENTH SEASON: The 2009 season will mark the tenth for the ASU women's soccer program. The Red Wolves own an all-time record of 39-122-8.
TOP SCORERS RETURN: three of ASU's top six scorers from a year ago return for the Red Wolves this season. Along with Nitti, Anna Kaloghirou (Jr./4 goals), Michele Clark (Soph./2 goals).
HEAD COACH DEREK PITTMAN: Arkansas State Head Coach Derek Pittman begins his third season with the ASU soccer program after coming to Arkansas State prior to the 2007 season.
Pittman, an assistant coach for the University of Missouri's women's soccer program for the three years prior to coming to Jonesboro, worked primarily with goalkeepers and defense at Missouri. He assumed his duties at ASU Jan. 4, 2007.
One of the first things Derek Pittman had on his agenda when he arrived at Arkansas State University was to install a rallying cry for the Red Wolves soccer program - "Building A Winning Tradition". Pittman hit the ground running when he arrived at ASU, immediately installing a strong offseason conditioning program and setting up a competitive spring workout schedule which pitted ASU against both in-state and out-of-state opponents.
Pittman has posted an 8-24-4 record while at the helm of the ASU program including posting ASU's first win over Middle Tennessee State, which was also the program's first win over a conference foe in four years.
The 35-year-old Pittman joined the Missouri staff in 2004 after spending the 2003 season at the University of Georgia. He was responsible for coaching the Tigers' goalkeeper to career bests in shutouts and saves as well as the team to season bests in shutouts and fewest goals allowed.
At Georgia, he was responsible for the Bulldogs' recruiting in addition to his coaching duties. While there he coached the goalkeeper to career bests in wins, shutouts, and goals against average. In 2003, the Bulldogs finished 13-10-0 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
A 1998 graduate of Tulsa, Pittman also served as a graduate assistant coach for the school's men's soccer program from 2001-03. Under his direction, Tulsa's goalkeepers had career bests in saves, shutouts and goals against average in a season. During the 2002 season, the Hurricanes were ranked 12th nationally and fifth in the Midwest Region.
Pittman, who is licensed by the United States Soccer Federation with a USSF "B" coaching license, has also coached on the club level including stints with the Pride Soccer Club of Missouri, the Tulsa Soccer Club of Oklahoma and the Little Rock Futbol Club of Arkansas.
As a four-year letterman, he was the starting goalkeeper at the University of Tulsa from 1993-96 and was a second-team Missouri Valley All-Conference pick in 1995. As a senior, the Hurricanes were ranked in the top 25.
Professionally, Pittman played for the Barrow Amateur Football Club in England while studying at Lancaster University. After training with the Division I Sheffield United and Burnley Football Club, he returned to the United States and played with the Columbus Comets and the Savannah RugRatz in the Eastern Indoor Soccer League.
Pittman, originally from Owasso, Okla., received his bachelor's of science degree in business administration from Tulsa and has done graduate work in education toward his masters degree. He is married to former Amber Swinehart, who was an All-Big XII player at Missouri.
Pittman and his wife Amber have a daughter, Emma, who is five months old.
ASSISTANT COACH LISA BERG: Beginning her second season with the ASU Soccer program, Lisa Berg was named assistant soccer coach at Arkansas State University Aug. 9, 2008.
Berg comes to ASU from Minnesota, where she served as a volunteer assistant for the last two years with the Golden Gopher soccer program. Berg was an Academic All-Big 10 player for the Golden Gophers from 2003-05 and helped rebuild the Minnesota soccer program during her time as a player and assistant coach. While at Minnesota, Berg helped lift the Gopher program from the bottom of the Big 10 to a consistent qualifier for the conference tournament in a league that annually sends multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament.
"I am very excited to have Lisa on board here at Arkansas State," said Pittman. "She brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm. She also brings a great amount of experience to ASU after being involved with a top program at Minnesota. I think that having that big-school mentality will help our players realize what it takes to continue to raise our program to the next level."
"Lisa is also fantastic at community service," added Pittman. "She is already looking for ways to get our kids out in the community and help raise the awareness of soccer in the Jonesboro area."
She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006 after majoring in Kinesiology/Pre Physical Therapy, with minors in Chemistry and Spanish. Berg currently holds a USSF National C Coaching License and while in Minnesota worked with the St. Croix Soccer Club, the North Suburban Soccer Club and the East Select Soccer Club. She also worked with the Minnesota Olympic Development Program.
"My experience with helping to rebuild the program at Minnesota and seeing the processes involved with that will really fit well with Arkansas State," said Berg. "There is so much potential here with the facilities, staff and community support. The players have bought into wanting to build a really solid program as well. Coach Pittman and I work well together, have similar ideas, and will complement each other as a staff."
HELP BUILD A WINNING TRADITION: ASU soccer fans have the opportunity to help the Red Wolves build a winning soccer tradition by joining the Red Wolves Goal Club. Level 1 ($50) members receive a quarterly newsletter and an autographed 2009 ASU Soccer poster. Level 2 members($100) receive the benefits of Level 1, plus a ticket to the ASU soccer banquet and an ASU T-shirt. For more information or to join the Red Wolves Goal Club, contact assistant coach Lisa Berg at 870-972-8193 or email@example.com.
RED WOLVES KIDS' CLUB: Youth agest 9-13 are invited to join the Red Wolves Kids' Club and be a ball kid at any of ASU's home soccer game. Kids' Club members also have the opportunity to participate in team introductions and pregame ceremonies. To join the Red Wolves Kids' Club, contact assistant coach Lisa Berg at 870-972-8193 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RED WOLVES SKILLS CLINIC: Following the game versus Troy on Sunday, Sept. 27 there will be the second of two free ASU Kids Skills Clinic hosted by the ASU soccer team. The clinic will run from 3:45-4:30 p.m. following the soccer game. The clinic is open to all age and skill levels. Kids should bring soccer cleats or running shoes, a ball and a water bottle.
The first clinic was a great hit with several young players attending to receive free instruction from the Astate players and coaches.