Aztecs Set to Open 2022 Season at Nebraska

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SAN DIEGO – The San Diego State women’s soccer team kicks off their 2022 slate with its regular season opener at Nebraska on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. CT (5 p.m. PT), followed by the teams home opener on Sunday at noon PT against Idaho.

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San Diego State (0-0-0) at Nebraska (0-0-0)

Thursday, August 18 | 7:00 p.m. CT (5 p.m. PT) Big + | Hibner Stadium | Omaha, Neb.


Idaho (0-0-0) at San Diego State (0-0-0)

Sunday, August 22 | Noon (PT) MWN | SDSU Sports Deck | San Diego, Calif.


Aztecs Notes

San Diego State opens the 2022 regular season this week with a match on the road at Nebraska, followed by the teams’ home opener on the Sports Deck against Idaho on Sunday.


Head Coach Mike Friesen begins his 16th campaign leading the Mountain West’s most dominant women’s soccer program. Friesen has guided his squad to ten Mountain West championships (five tournament and five regular season), and five NCAA Tournament appearances, both the most among any current league head coach. Now in his 16th season of conference play, Friesen has an 93-31-15 record. His 93 league victories are the most by any head coach in Mountain West history (the inaugural season of the MW was in 1999).


Friesen’s 165 victories (165-105-35) since the start of the 2007 season, the year he took control of the program, are the most by any current coach in the Mountain West and rank second in league history (Jennifer Rockwood, BYU, 190 victories). Colorado College’s Geoff Bennett’s 150 victories in the last 15 seasons ranks second among current MW head coaches.


The Aztecs are opening the season on the road for the second time in nine seasons and for the first time since 2017 when they opened the season at UCLA. In season openers on the road the Aztecs are 6-7. Now in its 34th campaign, SDSU has a 19-14-1 record overall in season openers.


San Diego State is picked to finish in second place in the MW coaches’ preseason poll. This marks the 12th time in 13 seasons the Aztecs have been picked to finish in either first or second place. The only time SDSU was lower than second place in the preseason poll in the last 13 years was in 2019, a year in which the Aztecs were predicted to finish fourth. That team went 10-9-1, shared the Mountain West regular-season title at 8-2-0, and reached the championship game of the league tournament.


Having won five of the last nine regular-season titles, not including the 2020 season in which the league was divided into two divisions and the Aztecs earned the West Division title, SDSU finds itself not the favorite in the eyes of the conference’s head coaches for just the third time in the last nine years.


The Aztecs have won nine of the last 19 MW trophies (regular season and tournament), all of which have come under the direction of head coach Mike Friesen. In total, the 16th-year head coach has guided San Diego State to 11 conference titles. 

San Diego State has earned 11 Mountain West titles since the conference’s inception in 1999. SDSU was the regular season champions in 1999, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019. The program was the tournament champion in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017, and its five tournament titles are the most among any current member of the Mountain West and the second best in the league’s history (BYU, 7).

San Diego State has been predicted to finish either first or second in the preseason poll in 12 of the last 13 years and enters this season as the most decorated program in the Mountain West with six regular-season and five tournament titles, as well as six NCAA appearances.

Player Notes

SDSU brings back seven starters from last season, including sophomore striker Denise Castro, a 2021 second-team all-MW performer and all-freshman team member. The San Ysidro, California native led the Aztecs in total points in 2021 and topped the scoring charts for the Aztecs with eight goals.

The Aztecs also return second-team all-MW honoree Kiera Utush in midfield. Utush, a senior from Ripon, California, started all 11 league games for the Aztecs and her 1,037 minutes were two shy of the team lead in conference action. Additionally, keeper Alexa Madueno returns between the posts for the Aztecs, the junior was a three-time MW defensive player of the week in 2021, and earned second-team all-MW in 2020.

Striker Emma Gaines-Ramos also returns in 2022. She started in 19 games in 2021 and earned first-team all-MW in 2020 in which she started all 11 matches for the Aztecs and produced three assists.


Alexa Madueno (Jr., GK, Woodland, Calif.) became the first true freshman keeper to start every game in a season for SDSU when she was between the posts in all of SDSU’s 2020 contests. She is the first to do so since Aubree Southwick in 2007 and is the third keeper, and only true freshman, to play every minute in a season for the Aztecs since Stephanie Pearson in 2003. Madueno was included on the Mountain West All-Newcomer team and was a second-team All-MW performer in 2020. She also took part in 15 games for the Aztecs during her sophomore season, and posted a .762 save percentage and had a 1.67 goals against average in 2021.


Rachelle Elve (Sr., F, Huntington Beach, Calif.) has totaled 12 goals in the last three seasons, the highest total among returning Aztecs. Elve returns this season as the Mountain West’s top goal scorer in the last two seasons. Last season at San Jose State (3/12/21), in the team’s first foray away from home, she tallied the program’s 10th hat trick and the first since Aliyah Utush’s trifecta vs. New Mexico on Nov. 4, 2017.


Opponent Notebook

Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Cornhuskers were predicted to finish 12th in the Big 10 coaches poll… Nebraska also had three players chosen to the all-Big 10 preseason watch list… The Aztecs have met the Cornhuskers previously three times and own a 1-1-1 record… San Diego State won the most recent matchup 2-1 in double overtime over the No. 22 nationally ranked Cornhuskers on September 8, 2017… The Aztecs would go on to win the Mountain West Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament that season… Entering the 2022 season Nebraska is led by head coach John Walker who is entering his 29th season at the helm of the program… They return three goal scorers who scored at least six goals in 2021, including Sarah Weber who scored six goals en-route to earning a spot on the Big 10 all-freshman team.

Idaho Vandals

Sunday’s matchup between the Aztecs and Vandals will be the first time the two sides have met in their history… Idaho was picked fifth in the Big Sky preseason coaches poll and return five players who scored at least two goals during the 2021 season… In 2021 the Vandals went 10-6-2, had their best start to a season in program history when they started the season 8-2-2, had the most wins in a season since 2016 when they finished with 10 wins. Idaho’s 10 wins in 2021 is also tied for the third most wins in program history, and the Vandals had the third best winning percentage (.611) in program history… Idaho is led by Jeremy Clevenger who is entering his fourth season at the helm of the program… Clevenger won Big Sky Coach of the Year during the Spring 2021 season when n he led the Vandals to a 5-3 record in conference play and a berth in the Big Sky playoffs. 


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