July 27, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - It won`t take Gonzaga University's men's soccer team long to figure out where it stands nationally in the 2007 season.
Looming on the schedule Sept. 2 is defending College Cup champion UC Santa Barbara, one of five College Cup participants on the 2007 Bulldogs schedule announced Friday.
The Bulldogs will open the regular season Aug. 31 at UC Irvine, ranked as high as 18th in one of the final 2006 polls, prior to the meeting with the defending national champions, who defeated UCLA 2-1 for the College Cup title in St. Louis, Mo. UCSB, 17-7-0 in their championship season, was unranked heading into the College Cup.
Following the California trip to open the season the Bulldogs return home for the only time in September, facing cross-state rival University of Washington on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m., the second half of a men's/women's twinbill that begins at 2 p.m. with the Gonzaga women facing Washington State University. It's the only doubleheader on the soccer slate this season. Following the match with the Huskies, who advanced to the College Cup second round a year ago, the Bulldogs will play seven straight matches away from Martin Field.
The Bulldogs will compete in two tournaments this season. The first is the Panther Invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sept. 14-16. The Bulldogs face the University of Wisconsin the first day and the hosts in the finale. Gonzaga will once again compete in the Stephen Hensor/Joe Zaher Classic hosted by Oregon State University Sept. 21-22, one of the rare tournaments that features play on back-to-back days. Gonzaga will meet Loyola College-Maryland on Sept. 21, then face 2006 College Cup participant Northern Illinois University the following day. NIU went 15-5-1 last season, advancing to the second round of the College Cup.
West Coast Conference play for the Bulldogs begins Sept. 29 at the University of Portland in a 7 p.m. contest, the first of three straight road matches to open WCC. Gonzaga returns home Oct. 12 to face Loyola Marymount University and Oct. 14 to meet the University of San Diego as the Bulldogs begin a stretch that sees them play 5-of-6 matches at home.
The WCC will once again play a double round robin schedule in 2007. A pair of WCC schools advanced to the College Cup last season, regular-season WCC champion and College Cup quarterfinalist Santa Clara University and WCC runner-up and College Cup participant University of San Francisco. USF will visit Martin Field Nov. 2, with the Bulldogs ending the regular season Nov. 16 against SCU.
One exhibition contest dots the schedule, Trinity Western University of Langley, British Columbia,visiting Martin Field Aug. 26.
Gonzaga went 6-5-1 and finished third in the WCC a year ago on their way to a 9-8-1 overall record. The Bulldogs roster is dotted with 11 seniors this year, including two-time WCC goals and total points champion George Josten, an All-WCC and National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Far West Region first-team selection. He had 12 goals and 28 points last season. He also garnered Academic All-America recognition.