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San Diego State Soccer: Aztec Men's and women's squads off to hot starts

The two teams have started their 2014-15 campaigns with dramatic wins, impressive wins and plenty of goals.


Usually the fall attention around San Diego State is on football, but the teams making waves right now are the soccer teams.

The women's team has started out with a 4-1-1 record, with the only blemish being a 3-1 loss to Michigan State earlier in the year. A 3-0 thrashing of No. 10 ranked Michigan followed, along with wins over University of Washington and University of Portland last weekend.

Success isn't a new thing to the SDSU ladies; they've won the past two Mountain West regular season and tournament championships, and earlier this year they were picked as favorites to "three-peat."

Last year's leading scorer Hannah Keane hasn't scored yet this year, despite attempting a team-high 19 shots. So who's carrying the team? Freshmen Angela Mitchell and Aliyah Utush, and senior Kelsey Booth.

Mitchell has scored three goals and Utush has scored twice. The five goals between them is almost half the 12 that the team has scored in total this year. These two bring exciting elements to the pitch.

If you pass Mitchell the ball, she'll race down whatever wing she's on, leaving defenders in the dust until she ends up in front of the goal, and then score. Utush is also fast enough to run past defenders, but she adds crafty footwork that helps her slip past defenders in tight spaces.

Utush also brings accuracy to the table. Eleven of her 15 shots have been on target this year.

All of this couldn't happen without Booth and Victoria Barba enforcing the midfield. Barba might only have one goal, but she's easily one of the smartest, toughest players on the pitch. And if she's neither of those, Booth is.

Booth has two goals and an assist, but has played the second most minutes so far, so she'll need to be rested in order to keep her influence at top capacity.


Meanwhile, the men were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 this season. The Aztecs play in the Pac-12 for men's soccer, which only has six teams, so being picked fifth isn't the greatest honor.

Maybe this young squad has taken that as a chip on their shoulder, winning five of their first six games.

There's a lot of new guys that are bagging goals. Freshman David Olsen leads the Aztecs with four goals, and new sophomore Forrayah Bass has chipped in three, but with four assists.

Another fun fact, nine of the Aztecs' 12 goals have been scored by freshmen, with Bass, who transferred from Louisberg College in North Carolina, scoring the other three.

But the most surprising thing about this team is the fact that they won their first four games by one goal. The first was a 1-0 win over University of Buffalo. The next, a dramatic late-game 2-1 win over No. 25 Clemson. Two days later, another game-winner in the second half gave the Aztecs a thrilling 4-3 win over No. 19 Denver.

As if SDSU couldn't be clutch enough, freshman Brady Blackwell delivered a late-game winner against Wright State for the Aztecs' most recent win.

Granted, they'll be heading into the Pac-12 pretty soon. To give a sense of how tough the conference is, consider UCLA, Washington, UC Berkeley and Stanford are all ranked in the NCAA Top-25. Oregon State isn't ranked, but the Beavers are 5-1 and is receiving 27 votes in the poll.