ASU Soccer closes out home schedule against FIU, FAU

From Arkansas State University

Arkansas State (9-6-1, 3-3-1)


Florida International (8-5-2, 5-1-1)

Oct. 18, 2012 • Jonesboro, Ark. • 2 p.m.

Arkansas State (9-6-1, 3-3-1)


Florida Atlantic (5-9-0, 3-4-0)

Oct. 20, 2012 • Jonesboro, Ark. • 1 p.m.

KICKING IT OFF:  Arkansas State continues thier three game home stand with a conference matchup against the Panthers of Florida International on Thursday, October 18, at 2 p.m. This will be the twelth meeting all-time between ASU and FIU. The Panthers hold an 8-1-2 all-time series lead, with the only ASU victory taking place in Jonesboro. The Owls of Florida Atlantic travel to Jonesboro on October 20, for a 1 p.m. confernce matchup against the Red Wolves. FAU leads the all-time series 4-1-1 entering the seventh matchup.

THE OPPONENT: Florida International returns six starters from the 2011 squad that won 13 games and finished second in the Sun Belt Conference. The 2012 Panther squad is currently one point shy of clinching a berth in the Sun Belt Tournament. Junior forward Chelsea Leiva was selected as the SBC Preseason Co-Offensive Player of the Year. She was selected to the Preseason All-Conference Team along with Midfielder Nicole DiPerna and Goalkeeper Kaitlin Savage.
Florida Atlantic returns seven starters from last season's six win sqaud. The Owls senior goalkeeper Ashley Lantes was named Defensive Player of the Week in the Sun Belt last week. Her 326 career saves broke the school record for saves in a career. FAU enters the weekend on a two game winning streak.

Senior Day: Saturday, October 20, is Senior Day for the Red Wolves. ASU features three senior athletes. Goalkeeper Aja Aquirre, forward/midfielder Ashley McMurtry, and midfielder Mallory McGilvray will be honored in a ceremony to take place after the match with FAU.

WINNING SEASON: One more victory would gurnatee the Red Wolves a winning season for the first time in school history.

STANDINGS: The Arkansas State soccer is currently fifth in the Sun Belt Conference standings with a 3-3-1 record and 10 points. The top eight seeds will qualify for the SBC Tournament at the end of the month in Mobile, Ala., Oct. 31-Nov. 4.

NATIONAL RANKING: The Red Wolves are ranked 46th in the nation in scoring offense with 2.0 scoring average per game. ASU is ranked 54th in shutout percentage with a .438 shutout percentage.
Christina Fink and Ashley McMurtry are tied for 63rd in the nation in assists with six. Goalkeeper Aja Aquirre is currently ranked 53rd in the nation for save percentage with a save percentage of .833.

CONFERENCE RANKING: ASU is tied for the conference lead in shutouts with South Alabama and Western Kentucky with seven shutouts. The Red Wolves are ranked  third in the conference in total points (89), assists (25), assists per game (1.56). ASU is third in the conference in goals (32) and goals per game (2.00).
Christina Fink is tied for second in the conference in game-winning goals with four. Christina Fink and Ashley McMurtry's six assists are tied for fourth best in the conference. Goalkeeper Aja Aguirre is ranked third in the conference in goals against (10) and save percentage (.833). She ranks fourth in shutouts with 3.2.

SETTING THE BAR HIGH: Arkansas State set the school record for wins in a season with nine in the victory over Troy. The previous high was an eight win season in 2009.

SETTING RECORDS: Ashley McMurtry is the school leader all-time in assists and is currently tied for third on the all-time scoring list.
Christina Fink's 25 career points are sixth best in school history. Fink's 20 points this season place her in third for points in a season.

RECORD KEEPING: Aja Aquirre is currently  ranked 2nd in wins for a season with seven. She ranks 1st in goals allowed with 10. Her 3.2 shutouts ranks 2nd in a season and 5th all-time.

Hunting the Goose Egg: ASU has recorded seven shutouts this season, setting a school record. The previous season high was five. ASU recorded five shutouts in the 2009 and 2011 seasons.

LAST TIME OUT: The Arkansas State soccer team had its seven match  home winning streak snapped on Friday with a 2-1 loss to North Texas at the ASU Soccer Complex.

The Red Wolves had posted victories in seven straight home matches, with its last loss coming against Florida International on Sept. 25, 2011. The loss moved A-State's record to 9-6-1 on the year and dropped their Sun Belt Conference record to 3-3-1. North Texas is now has an overall record of 11-3-2 and a conference record of 6-0-1.

"It is a tough loss," ASU soccer coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge said. "They are a very good team and we made some small mistakes and paid dearly for them. When you play against a team at this level you can't afford to make mistakes. We played really well, but when you play a team like this you just can't afford to make mistakes."

ASU used the wet conditions to its advantage throughout much of the match and limited to the number of scoring chances the Mean Green had.

North Texas scored the match's first goal in the 17th minute on an unassisted goal from Michelle Young from just inside the goalkeeper's box. It was the first goal ASU has given up in Jonesboro in its last 287 minutes.

The Red Wolves wasted little time in scoring the equalizer. Loren Mitchell scored on a chip shot from just outside the box 68 seconds later to tie the score at 1-1. Christina Fink picked up an assist on the goal, her sixth of the season. She is now tied for the team lead in assists and leads the team with 20 points on the year. Mitchell's goal was her sixth of the year.

The teams continued to battle each other and the wet conditions throughout the rest of the match until North Texas scored the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute. Leah Cox connected on a shot from left side of the box to give the Mean Green a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish

"We did well for the most part we just had a few chances where we didn't move as well as we needed to," Ziyenge said. "They punished us and there is a reason why teams like this consistently one of the best in the league. They take advantage of the mistakes other teams make."

Mitchell led ASU with four shots in the match, three of which were on goal. Jena' Kelley added three shots, while Christina Fink added two. In all the Red Wolves took 16 shots in the match, five of which were on goal.

SBC TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The A-State soccer team returned to the Sun Belt Conference tournament for the first time 2009. The Red Wolves lost to the No. 2 FIU Panthers 2-0 in the first round and are now 0-7-1 all-time in the SBC Tournament.

TEAM RECORDS: ASU finished the year only one goal away from tying its all-time record for goals scored in a season, which stands at 35. ASU has also tied the school record for most conference wins in a season with five in 2007. .

OVERTIME: The Red Wolves broke the single-season record for overtime matches with six in a single season surpassing the previous mark of four.

POINTS TALLY: ASU enjoyed is second best season in terms of points in 2011. The team scored 34 goals and had 30 assists for a total of 98 points, missing the mark for most points in a season by just four points which was set in 2009. The team also finished with highest all-time mark in team history with a 4.90 points per game average.

AVERAGING OUT: The Red Wolves had the best goals per game average in team history in 2011 with 1.70 average. The previous high was 1.67 set in 2009.

ASSISTING OUT: A-State finished with 30 total assists in 2011, the second most in team history.

TAKING AIM: The Red Wolves took the second most shots in school history, with 253 last season. The all-time record for shots in a season is 330 which was set in 2009.

ASHLEY & ASHLEY: The Red Wolves will welcome back 10 letterwinners to the 2012 squad, including team captain's Ashley Jackson and Ashley McMurtry. Jackson finished the 2011 season with one goal and one assist while playing mostly in a defensive position, while McMurtry was second on the team with six assists.

NEW FACES: The Red Wolves welcomed 14 new faces to the roster during fall camp, including 11 freshmen. This year's squad will feature just three seniors and seven juniors. The rest of the team is comprised of sophomores and freshman.

NORTH OF THE BORDER: This year's squad features three players from Canada. Goalkeeper Aja Aguirre, defender Lindsay Johansen and Goalkeeper Amanda Lee are all from Canada.

TEXAS CONNECTION: Ten players on the current roster hail from the state of Texas, including two with ties to Plano. Texas is the most represented state on the Red Wolves roster.

DRAWING A CROWD: The ASU Soccer team drew over 2,000 fans to the ASU Soccer Complex in 2011 and averaged 206 fans a game, the fourth highest yearly attedance in school history.

HEAD COACH TAFADZWA ZIYENGE: Tafadzwa Ziyenge is in his third season as head coach at Arkansas State. Ziyenge comes to ASU after reviving both the men's and women's teams at University of Alabama-Huntsville. Ziyenge left the UAH women with a 96-90-6 career record, advancing to the semifinals of the Gulf South Conference tournament on five occasions and consistently achieving top-10 regional ranking. In his final season the women's team posted a 9-7-0 record and a third best 4-3 conference record. The women finished the season ranked seventh in the south region. In his first and only season as men's head coach Ziyenge directed the UAH men to the conference finals en route to a sixth place regional ranking. The men ended conference league play in second place. Ziyenge who is an Olympic Development Program regional coach has also coached both boys and girls youth teams.
"Tafadzwa is highly respected by his peers within his profession," said Dr. Dean Lee, ASU Director of Athletics. "He is very passionate about the game and loves the game, which is very evident.  He has a great work ethic and tremendous character, integrity and knowledge about the game."
Ziyenge was a four-year letterwinner (1993-96) on the UAH men's soccer team. He is first overall in the UAH record books for most goals in a career, most game winning goals in a career. He also holds the UAH records for most goals in a season, most points in a season, most game winning goals in a season and tied for most shots on goal in a season. In addition, he is also second on the list for most points in a career, most shots on goal in a career. Ziyenge is ranked third overall in goals scored, fifth in points and eighth in career assists. He is only one of six players to score 100 career points at UAH.
Ziyenge who still holds the conference record for most goals scored in a season was named Conference Player of the Week on three separate occasions in the first year the GSC sponsored soccer. He was also Most Valuable Player in the Mayor's Cup Classic vs Alabama A&M in 1996. Ziyenge also set the standard for numerous conference records. During the 1996 season, Ziyenge was ranked third in the nation in goals scored. He also led the GSC in the same category, as well as total points. In his senior year, he was named to the All Region first team, GSC regular season MVP and conference final MVP.
Ziyenge's professional soccer career began in 1997 in the Eastern Indoor Soccer League where he played for 2 years with the Huntsville Fire. He finished the 1998 season as the club's second leading scorer. He continued his professional career in the USL A-League where he spent 2 seasons playing for Tennessee Rhythm before retiring in 2001. The Marondera, Zimbabwe native holds a degree in Business Administration.
Ziyenge holds a USSF C License.

RED WOLVES KIDS' CLUB:  Youth ages 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 Jessica Nei at 870-972-8193 or

FOLLOW THE RED WOLVES ON FACEBOOK: To become a fan of our Facebook Page, go to and search for "Arkansas State University Soccer".  On our the "Arkansas State University Soccer" Facebook Page you can find events that the soccer team will be participating in and hosting, game results, and interesting stories and photos of all your favorite Red Wolves Soccer players.  We encourage all fans, alumni, and family members of the Red Wolves Soccer Program to become a fan today!

ASU SOCCER IS TWEETING: The Arkansas State soccer team is on twitter! You can follow all the action via ASU Soccer "Tweets". To follow ASU Soccer on Twitter visit Twitter is a great way to follow anyone via microblogs and get the most up-to-date information on your favorite people and groups. GO RED WOLVES!