ASU Soccer to take on Western Kentucky in SBC Tournament

From Arkansas State University

No. 5 Arkansas State (11-7-1, 5-4-1)


No. 4 Western Kentucky (11-4-3, 6-1-3)

Oct. 31, 2012 • Mobile, Ala. • 1 p.m.

KICKING IT OFF:  Arkansas State travels to Mobile, Ala., for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. ASU is making its eighth appearance in the postseason tournament and its second in as many years. The Red Wolves will take on Western Kentucky, who finished fourth in conference player with a 6-1-3 conference record. ASU lost to WKU 2-0 in the two team's meeting in Bowling Green, Ky., on Sept. 21.

THE OPPONENT: WKU  has not lost a match in the SBC Tournament since 2008 and has posted a 2-0-4 during that time. The Lady Toppers are seeking their third championship in five years and holds a 12-0-1 record against ASU all-time.

TOURNAMENT RECORD: ASU has gone 0-7-1 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference tournament. This will be the second straight appearance for the Red Wolves in the postseason tournament. In 2011, the squad lost to FIU 2-0 in the first round.

LOOKING AHEAD: An A-State victory would give ASU its first win in the SBC Tournament and match the Red Wolves against the winner of the No. 1 North Texas and No. 8 Florida Atlantic matchup in the semifinals, which would be played on Friday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m.

MAJOR HONORS: Senior Ashley McMurtry and sophomore Christina Fink were honored as second and first team selections respectively by College Sports Madness in the online publications Sun Belt All-Conference teams. The pair are the first ASU players to receive a postseason award from the publication.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Christina Fink was honored as the SBC Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for her performance against Arkansas-Little Rock. Fink had a goal and an assist in the match and is the school's all-time leader in points with 29.

SCHOOL LEADER: With the victory over FAU, ASU Head Coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge became the winningest head coach in Arkansas State soccer history. The record was previously held by the first head coach in Arkansas State soccer history, Ken Hefner who recorded 19 wins during his tenure. Ziyenege currently has 25 wins as the head coach of the Red Wolves.

STAYING ONSIDE: A-State has been called for offsides just nine times during conference play, the lowest amount of any SBC team.

CONFERENCE RANKING: ASU is tied for third in the Sun Belt with Florida International and Troy for shutouts this season with seven. The Red Wolves are tied for second in the conference in total points (113) with North Texas. The squad is third in assists (31), assists per game (1.63), goals (41) and goals per game (2.16).
Christina Fink is tied for second in the conference in game-winning goals with five. Fink is also tied for second in the conference with 25 points. Fink is also tied for third in the conference with teammate Ashley McMurtry with seven assists.

SETTING THE BAR HIGH: Arkansas State added to the school record for wins in a season with ten in the victory over FAU. The previous high was an eight win season in 2009.

SETTING RECORDS: Ashley McMurtry is the school leader all-time in assists (23) and is currently third on the all-time scoring list (35).
Christina Fink's 27 career points are fifth best in school history. Fink's 22 points this season place her in second 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.

DIAPER DANDY: Loren Mitchell's seven goals place her one goal shy of tying the freshman record set by Rachel Reese in 2000.

HIGH SCORING: The 2012 squad holds the record for total points in a season with 105. They have scored 38 goals and recorded 29 assists.

PROTECTING THE HOUSE: ASU has seven victories at home this season, besting the previous record of six set in 2009. The Red Wolves also set the record for a home winning streak with six straight victories at the ASU Soccer Complex.

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. That mark is also tied for the second most among SBC teams.

LAST TIME OUT: LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (10/26/12) – The Arkansas State soccer team wrapped up its regular season with a 3-1 road victory over Arkansas-Little Rock Friday night at the Coleman Complex.

The win wrapped up the most successful regular season in ASU soccer history. The Red Wolves finished with an 11-7-1 overall record and the most wins in schools history. ASU's 5-4-1 (.500) record in Sun Belt Conference play is also the team's best winning percentage in school history and the five conference wins are tied for the most in school history.

"It's good to see such a young team showing such incredible maturity and poise," ASU soccer coach Tafadzwa Ziyenege said. "We challenged the girls to be the very best team in school history and they have made a strong case for themselves."

The Trojans took an early 1-0 lead in the eighth minute when Ariel Galletti scored on a chip shot that was just out of the reach of A-State goalkeeper Aja Aguirre, but the Red Wolves answered with straight goals over the game's final 69 minutes to secure the win.

Madison Joyce scored her first goal of the season in the 21st minute when she took advantage of a loose ball in front of the net and bet the goalkeeper with a shot to the left side of the net to tie the score at 1-1. Christina Fink added her seventh assist of the season on the goal.

ASU took the lead in the 60th minute when Fink scored her team leading ninth goal of the year on a rebound off of a header off the crossbar from Ashley Jackson. A-State scored just four minutes later on a goal from Ashley McMurtry from 30 yards out. Jackson picked up her second assist of the match on the goal.

ASU outshot the Trojans 25-10 in the match and 10-5 in shots on goal. A-State's 25 shots are tied for the fourth most in a single match.

Fink's goal and assist gave her 29 points for the season, the most ever in a single season by an ASU player. Her nine goals also rank as the second most in school history, while her seven assists are tied for the second most in school history with Ashley McMurtry who also has seven assists on the year.

Aguirre played all 90 minutes in goal and made four saves. She finished the season with an 8-5-1 record, which is tied for the most wins by a goalkeeper in school history for a single season.

ASU will wait for its pairing for the Sun Belt Conference tournament which is set to begin in Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The Red Wolves are guaranteed a seed no worse than fifth.

ASHLEY & ASHLEY: The Red Wolves will welcome back 10 letter winners 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 attendance 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 letter winner (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

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