Crimson Kicks Off 2009 Season Against San Diego State Friday Afternoon

Crimson Kicks Off 2009 Season Against San Diego State Friday Afternoon

-Pictured: Co-captain Gina Wideroff. Photo by

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The Game:

Harvard will open its 33rd season of women’s soccer by hosting San Diego State in a non-conference tilt Friday afternoon at Ohiri Field. The Crimson is coming off a 10-3-5 season in which the team won the Ivy League championship and reached the NCAA tournament.

Last season, head coach Ray Leone and his squad posted a 6-0-1 record on home turf, including a 3-0-1 mark against non-conference opponents. The Crimson and Aztecs have met once before in women’s soccer, with Harvard emerging with a 1-0 overtime victory at San Diego State on Oct. 1, 2000.

Follow From Home:
Once again, live statistics will be available for all Harvard home games and most road contests this season.

About Harvard:
The team returns most of its starters from last year’s squad, including its three leading scorers and starting goalkeeper. In her rookie campain, Melanie Baskind paced the Crimson with 19 points on six goals and seven assists, while Katherine Sheeleigh was second with 17 points, scoring six goals and handing out five assists. Christina Hagner, entering her senior season, led all Harvard players with seven goals.

The Crimson defense, led by three-time All-Ivy League defender Lizzy Nichols, who is a candidate for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, surrendered only 18 goals in 18 games last season. The team earned four shutouts and allowed more than two goals in only one contest.

Lauren Mann was third in the Ivy League in 2008 with a .843 save percentage, stopping 59 of 70 shots in the regular season. She owned a 1.02 goals-against average and had one shutout, en route to a 5-3-4 overall record.

About San Diego State:
The Aztecs enter Friday’s game with a 2-2-0 record after splitting their first four games of the season. San Diego State has been outscored by an 8-5 margin but leads in shots, 59-53, and corner kicks, 21-12. Last time out, the Aztecs led 2-0 in the second half at No. 4 Stanford but allowed five goals in the second half, dropping the game, 5-2.

Five different players have scored goals for San Diego State this season, as Jessica Gordon, Cat Walker, Niki Fernandes, Hayley Marsh and Michaela DeJesus have each found the back of the net once. Gordon leads the team with four points, as she has also dished out two assists.

In net, Aubree Southwick has started all four games and is 2-2-0 with two shutouts to her credit, blanking Fresno State and San Jose State. She owns a 2.02 goals-against average and has stopped 13 of 21 shots faced.

Starting Out:
The Crimson owns a 21-9-2 all-time record in season openers and stands 0-1-1 in openers under current head coach Ray Leone.

Successful Newcomers:
Harvard players have been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year each of the last three seasons. Lauren Mann earned the honor in 2006, Katherine Sheeleigh took home the award in 2007 and Melanie Baskind received the distinction last fall.

Coming Up:
The Crimson will visit Connecticut Saturday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., before returning home to play New Hampshire Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m.