Herd Hosts Key C-USA Matches This Weekend

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

HUNTINGTON, WV - The Thundering Herd women's soccer team enters a pivotal weekend in its 2011 season, as it plays host to Conference USA foes Houston and Rice at Sam Hood Field this Friday and Sunday.

Marshall currently sits at 11th place in the conference following losses at SMU and Tulsa this past weekend, and will be looking to draw points from this weekend's fixtures in hopes of advancing to the C-USA postseason. Only the top eight teams progress to the conference tournament, and Marshall - who sits at 3-10-3 for the year and 1-5-2 in the conference, could do itself a big favor if it left the weekend with consecutive league victories.

Angela DeSumma still leads Marshall in goals with four, and in assists with three, and the Herd will be relying heavily upon her playmaking ability as it hopes to impose its will on a Houston Cougars team that has posted four shutouts on the year and holds a 2-5-1 conference record. Jessica Zavalza leads the Cougars with seven goals this season, and Marshall goalkeeper Betsy Haugh - who starts in place of the red-carded Lindsey Kerns - will be looking to shutout Zavalza and company by posting her second shutout of the year.

Following the Friday night showdown with Houston, the Rice University Owls will enter Sam Hood Field on Sunday afternoon carrying a 4-3-1 conference record. At 9-5-2 overall, the Owls have enjoyed success this year, picking up inspiration and wins from Jessica Howard's team-leading eight goals. It will be up to Marshall's seniors - Katie Ball, Angela DeSumma, Freya Holdaway, Erin Blakely, and Megan Tabler - to lead the team in the final home game of their careers, and up to the underclassmen to help ensure that the seniors leave Sam Hood Field with a senior night victory.

Friday's showdown with Houston is slated to kickoff at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday's senior day matchup with Rice will begin at 1:00 p.m. If fans are unable to make it out to Sam Hood Field for the games, live stats during the Houston match can be seen by clicking here<http://www.herdzone.com/gametracker/launch/gt_wsoccer.html?event=983683&school=mars&sport=wsoccer&camefrom=&startschool=&>, and the stats during the Rice game can be viewed here<http://www.herdzone.com/gametracker/launch/gt_wsoccer.html?event=983684&school=mars&sport=wsoccer&camefrom=&startschool=&>. Marshall's student radio, WMUL, will also be covering the games, and live streams of its broadcasts can be heard here<http://www.marshall.edu/wmul/live2.asx>.

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