Oct. 29, 2009

By Amy Farnum

Portland women’s soccer player Danielle Foxhoven takes her job seriously and she does it well.

Her “job” of scoring goals – actually lots of goals -- has helped the second-ranked Pilots compile a 16-1-0 overall record and flawless mark against West Coast Conference opponents.  It has also garnered Foxhoven a lot of attention in the women’s soccer community as she has earned three National Player of the Week awards and four WCC weekly honors.  

The sophomore from Littleton, Colo., leads the nation with 1.313 goals and 3.13 points per game after netting six tallies and dishing out two assists in a pair of victories over Saint Mary’s and San Francisco last week.  With four goals against USF, she became the first Portland player to ever score four goals in a game twice in one season.

“I think my individual success is the end result of what the team does,” said Foxhoven.  “Our style of play is to keep possession and go forward with the ball and continue to attack the opposition.  Just the same as a defender will block a shot or the goalkeeper will save, my job on our team is to score goals.  I take pride in what I do.”

Foxhoven may be humble about her abilities, but Portland head coach Garrett Smith has no problem boasting about one of his star players.

“They say goal scorers are born, not raised – and that’s her,” said Smith.  “She wants to score goals, she understands her job is to score goals and she just does it.  She doesn’t do it for her ego -- she does it because that is her responsibility.  She takes it on with that type of an attitude.  She’s an opportunistic kid and wants to be in front of the goal, and thankfully we have the team around her that puts here there a lot.”

At first glance, the 5-foot, 6-inch Foxhoven may not look that imposing to opponent players, but they quickly learn that she is dangerous.

“She doesn’t look like a powerhouse forward that is going to run through people and score 20 goals in a season, but she just has nose for how to score goals and to be in the right position,” said Smith.  

Foxhoven, who led the WCC with 16 goals as a rookie last year, is one of just two players in the nation to have scored 20 or more goals this season.  Nebraska freshman Morgan Marlborough and Foxhoven have both tallied 21 on the year.  

“That’s where I feel most comfortable, is in front of the goal,” said Foxhoven.  “If they were to stick me in defense, I would definitely not do as well.”

Portland has been perfect on the season with the exception of an upset by Texas A&M at home on Sept. 18, but both Smith and Foxhoven said the loss helped the squad refocus on their ultimate goal of winning a national championship.

“That was telling of the season and an important part of what we’ve become because of how the players responded to it,” said Smith.  “They realized our possibility and chances of doing well this year after we were missing three of our National Team players last year and somehow managed to get to the NCAA quarterfinals.  The expectations of this year’s team were high, but they may have been resting on their laurels a little bit at the beginning of the season and culminating with the loss to Texas A&M.”

“It was a big learning experience for us,” said Foxhoven.  “After that weekend, we all knew we needed to reassess where we were as a team and as individuals, and reassess our goals for the season.  It wasn’t a setback because it was a huge learning experience for us. So far, it’s turned out to be a great thing.”

The Pilots are riding a nine-game winning streak as they enter the most important WCC match-up of the season against No. 14 Santa Clara on Nov. 1.

“They are obviously capable of beating anyone in the country as they’ve proven – beating Purdue and Notre Dame,” said Smith.  “They are a team that historically is probably our biggest rival because they are in our conference and it is us or Santa Clara winning the conference championship almost every year.”