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WCC Men's Soccer Weekly Notes - 8/27

Aug. 27, 2007

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Upcoming Games

Aug. 31
California at San Diego - 3:00 PM
Saint Mary's at Davidson^ - 4:00 PM
Cal State Bakersfield at Portland* - 7:00 PM
Vermont at San Francisco - 7:00 PM
Gonzaga at UC Irvine - 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M at Santa Clara - 8:00 PM

Sept. 1
Cal Poly at Loyola Marymount - 2:00 PM

Sept. 2
Saint Mary's vs. Charlotte^ - 11:00 AM
Gonzaga at UC Santa Barbara - 2:00 PM
Alabama A&M at San Francisco - 2:00 PM
Vermont at Santa Clara - 2:00 PM
New Hampshire at Portland* - 2:30 PM

^Davidson Tournament (Davidson, NC); *Nike Invitational (Portland, OR)

Santa Clara Selected As Preseason Favorite In 2007 WCC Men's Soccer Coaches Poll

The Santa Clara men's soccer team was selected as the preseason favorite to capture its second straight West Coast Conference title, edging out Bay Area rival San Francisco for the first place spot in the 2007 WCC preseason coaches poll. The Broncos received five first place votes and tallied 35 overall points, while the Dons garnered the remaining two first place votes and received 28 overall points. San Diego was picked to finish third with 20 points, while Loyola Marymount and Portland each received 19 points to tie for the No. 4 spot. Gonzaga finished just one point shy of the fourth spot with 18 points, and Saint Mary's rounded out the poll at No. 7 with eight points.

2007 WCC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
1.Santa Clara - 35 (5)
2.San Francisco - 28 (2)
3.San Diego - 20
4.Loyola Marymount - 19
4.Portland - 19
6.Gonzaga - 18
7.Saint Mary's - 8
(First place votes)

Around The WCC

Tough Opening Weekend Awaits WCC Teams
The opening weekend of the 2007 season should prove challenging for WCC teams, as tough non-conference matchups await all seven squads. Gonzaga faces perhaps the toughest task, traveling to Southern California to take on UC Irvine before meeting the No. 1 ranked and defending national champion UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Sunday. LMU opens with a single game at home, meeting Cal Poly in a non-conference clash on Saturday. Portland will host the Nike Invitational and will play Cal State Bakersfield and New Hampshire, while Saint Mary's travels across the country to meet Davidson and Charlotte in North Carolina. San Diego will host No. 11 ranked California to begin the 2007 campaign at Torero Stadium on Friday. San Francisco and Santa Clara will meet two common opponents, as Alabama A&M and Vermont make a visit to the Bay Area.

WCC Trio Named To Hermann Award Watch List
Gonzaga's George Josten, San Francisco's Rob Valentino and Santa Clara's Peter Lowry were each named to the 29-player watch list for the MAC Hermann award, which is presented annually to the top soccer player in the nation. Josten is the inaugural Bulldog to be a Hermann Trophy candidate after winning his second straight West Coast Conference goals (12) and points (28) titles last season. Valentino, the 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year, has led the USF men's soccer team to the NCAA playoffs in all three of his seasons, and was named to the All-WCC first team for the third straight time a year ago. Lowry was named All-Far West Region first team and All-WCC second team as a junior in 2006, tying for the team lead in scoring with six goals and two assists for 14 points.

WCC In The Preseason Rankings
Fresh off an appearance in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, the Santa Clara Broncos are the only WCC team to enter the 2007 season ranked in the preseason polls. Head Coach Cameron Rast's squads was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the College Soccer News preseason listing, and checked in at No. 6 in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll. Soccer America ranked the Broncos at No. 8 in their annual preseason rankings, while the Soccer Times preseason poll has yet to be released.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga enjoyed a solid 2006 campaign, posting a 9-8-2 overall mark and a 6-5-1 record in conference play to finish third in the WCC.

- George Josten netted 12 goals last season to pace the conference, matching his WCC-leading total from the previous season. Josten, who aims to become just the second player in league history to lead the conference in goals for three straight years, enters the season tied for sixth on the WCC career chart with 13 goals against league opponents.

- John Reha assisted on eight GU goals in 2006 to become the first Zag in a decade to lead the conference in assists. His assist total tied for first place on the Gonzaga single-season list, and his 10 career assists rank eighth in program history.

- Gonzaga opens the 2007 season with a challenging road slate, as the Bulldogs head to UC Irvine (8/31) and No. 1 ranked UC Santa Barbara (9/2) this weekend.

Loyola Marymount Lions (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- Loyola Marymount capped the 2006 season with a 9-8-2 overall record and a 5-5-2 mark in conference play.

- Nick Blanco returns to pilot the Lion midfield after enjoying an outstanding 2006 campaign. The senior scored two goals and recorded four assists en route to first team All-WCC recognition. Joining Blanco in the attack is junior Brad Stisser, who tied for the team lead with four goals a year ago.

- Despite the loss of five starters from last season, LMU returns a strong midfield that will include seniors Adam Sloustcher (3a) and Trini Gomez (1g, 2a), as well as WCC honorable mention selection Jawaan Delaney (2g, 1a).

- The Lions open the 2007 campaign with a match up against Cal Poly (9/1) at Sullivan Field this weekend.

Portland Pilots (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- Portland returns the most experienced side in the conference, as eight starters and 21 letterwinners return from a Pilot squad that went 8-8-3 and 4-7-1 in WCC play last season.

- Alex Elliott returns for his junior season after leading the Pilots in goals in each of his first two years on The Bluff. Elliott tallied nine goals to lead the team and rank second in the conference last season.

- Despite the loss of three time All-WCC goalkeeper Luis Robles to the professional ranks, Portland returns a solid defensive unit that ranked third in the WCC with a 1.16 goals against average in 2006.

- Portland begins the new season at home with the Nike Invitational, meeting Cal State Bakersfield (8/31) and New Hampshire (9/2) at Merlo Field this weekend.

Saint Mary's Gaels (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- Saint Mary's looks to rebound from a 4-10-6 overall record and a 2-7-3 finish in the WCC last season.

- Dylan Leslie is the Gaels' top returning scorer after tying for the team lead with four scoring strikes as a freshman last season. Leslie garnered second team All-WCC and all-freshman honors following the 2006 campaign.

- Goalkeeper Brian Mason collected 58 saves to rank fifth in the conference last year, and enters his senior season tied with former Gael Rob McDonald (1992-95) for fourth place on the Saint Mary's career list with 246 saves.

- The Gaels travel to North Carolina this weekend for the Davidson Tournament, where they will meet the host Wildcats (8/31) and Charlotte (9/2).

San Diego Toreros (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- San Diego was ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation at one point last season, but struggled in conference play before finishing out the campaign with a 10-8-1 overall record and a 5-6-1 mark in WCC action.

- Dustin Guerrero returns to lead the San Diego attack after scoring four goals and assisting on three additional scores a year ago.

- The Toreros led the league with 47 overall goals last season, and tied a conference record by netting 22 goals as a team in conference play.

- Forwards Chase Tangney (3g) and JT Howlan (3g, 4a) will look to step into increased roles up front, after both contributed off the bench last season.

- USD hosts No. 11 ranked California (8/31) to begin the 2007 season this weekend.

San Francisco Dons (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- San Francisco had its streak of two straight WCC titles snapped last year, but earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season after going 12-7-1 and posting a 7-5-0 mark in WCC play.

- Senior Ardalan Attar and sophomore Conor Chinn will look to provide the scoring spark up front for the Dons. Attar ranked second on the team with five goals in 2006, while Chinn netted four goals with three assists en route to WCC all-freshman honors.

- Rob Valentino, the 2006 WCC Player of the Year, will miss the 2007 season after undergoing knee surgery last week. The senior was tabbed for preseason All-American honors by College Soccer News, and was named to the MAC Hermann Award preseason watch list.

- The Dons open a challenging 2007 slate at home this weekend against Vermont (8/31) and Alabama A&M (9/2).

Santa Clara Broncos (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 WCC)
- Santa Clara looks to build on an exceptional 2006 campaign in which the Broncos claimed the WCC title for the ninth time, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

- Midfielders Peter Lowry and Stephen McCarthy will look to lead the Broncos. Lowry earned second team All-WCC honors after tying for the team lead with six goals and adding two assists, while McCarthy (1a) garnered WCC Co-Freshman of the Year recognition a year ago.

- McCarthy was one of three Bronco players on the US National Team roster for the Pan American games in July. The sophomore was joined by incoming freshman midfielder Jalil Anibaba and freshman goalkeeper Kevin Klasila.

- The Broncos begin the new season at home, welcoming Alabama A&M (8/31) and Vermont (9/2) to Buck Shaw Stadium this weekend.

Games To Watch

#11 California at San Diego - Friday, August 31 at 3:00 PM
San Diego begins the 2007 campaign against California at Torero Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Toreros will look to the goal-scoring abilities of senior Dustin Guerrero in attack, while relying on an experienced backline that includes senior defender Brett Hiroto. Cal, which advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2006, has been ranked as high as No. 11 in the 2007 preseason polls. It will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

Gonzaga at #1NS UC Santa Barbara - Sunday, September 2 at 2:00 PM
Gonzaga opens the season with a challenging road trip to Southern California, where they will meet UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara this weekend. The Zags welcome back senior George Josten, who led the WCC in goals for the second straight season with 12 in 2006. Josten and the Bulldogs look to get the year off to a good start against the defending national champions, who enter the season ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll.