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USU soccer: first-half goal explosion catapults USU to 4-0 shutout over Texas State Sunday

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With first place in the Western Athletic Conference on the line, the Utah State soccer team used a first-half explosion to capture a 4-0 win against Texas State Sunday at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field. The four goals were the most this season for USU.

The quartet of goals were also the most since the Aggies' 6-1 win over Idaho State on Sept. 11, 2011. After scoring two goals in its previous six matches, Utah State has now scored seven in the last two matches.

Utah State moved up to first in the WAC standings with a 7-2-6 overall record and a 2-0-2 league record for eight points. The Bobcats fell to 5-9-1 overall and 2-2-0 in conference matches for six points. The Aggies now lead the all-times series with Texas State, 2-0-1.

"We were just really excited that so many people stepped up. Number one, our attack was diverse, and we had a lot of people contribute to it. And we had a lot of first timers contribute to it and step up that way," USU head coach Heather Cairns said.

The Aggies jumped out of the gates quickly when sophomore midfielder Lexie Morgan scored her first goal of the season in the ninth minute. Morgan took a deflection off a Bobcat player from seven yards out to give USU the early, 1-0 advantage.

"I think we played awesome today. We are all so excited to get this win and we are just really confident and we're just feeling awesome right now. It's good for all of us to step up and we had a lot of girls come on the field and play really well today. So, it was a great game and a great weekend for us," Morgan said.

Ten minutes later, USU upped the lead to 2-0 with another Aggie scoring her first goal of the year. Junior forward Mari Miyashiro and freshman forward Maris Hamblin developed the play, eventually getting the ball to the feet of sophomore forward Lauren Roundy. The goal was the first of the season and her USU career for Roundy.

Before the half ended, Utah State added its third goal of the match, the most scored in a single half this season. Junior midfielder Jennifer Flynn scored her team-leading fifth goal of the season, beating Texas State goalkeeper Natalie Gardini one-on-one. Flynn took the long pass from Miyashiro, who earned her second assist of the match

"We knew going into this meeting and into this weekend, that is was a home weekend and it was very, very important for us to go out with an attacking mentality. We have been working on it for the past couple of weeks, hadn't quite seen it come to fruition as much as we would of liked, and we really felt like it all started to come together today. We are very excited that we've scored multiple goals, but we are also really proud of the fact that we are still earning shutouts as well. We feel like both pieces of the puzzle are really coming together," Cairns said.

In the second half, both teams had several offensive chances. The Aggies were the team to finally break through, scoring in the 79th minute. Off of exquisite passes from sophomore Ambryn McCallson and freshman Sara Lorscheider, freshman forward Jade Tarver used her head to deposit her third goal of the season. The assist was the first of the season for both McCallson and Lorscheider as eight different Aggies earned a point in the win.

For the match, Utah State out-shot Texas State, 18-12, leading in corner kicks, 6-3. Gardini finished with five saves, while the combination of senior Ashlyn Mulford and freshman Jeannie Woller also had five. Mulford and Woller split the shutout which was the fourth-straight for Utah State and seventh this season.

Utah State will now hit the road for its final two regular season matches of the season. The Aggies will take on Seattle on Friday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. (MT) and Idaho on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. (MT).

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.