Sept. 27, 2007
BULLDOGS OPEN WCC PLAY: Gonzaga University's men's soccer team, riding a three-match winning streak, opens West Coast Conference play at Pacific Northwest rival University of Portland Saturday at 7 p.m. at Merlo Field at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex. It's the first of three straight WCC road matches for the Bulldogs, who travel to Saint Mary's College and the University of San Francisco next weekend.
GONZAGA SIXTH IN WCC POLL: Gonzaga University's men's soccer team has been picked to finish sixth in the West Coast Conference according to the pre-season vote of the coaches. Defending regular-season champion Santa Clara University was selected as the pre-season favorite with five first-place votes and 35 points to edge the University of San Francisco which received one first-place vote and 28 points. Gonzaga received 18 points, one behind the University of Portland and Loyola Marymount University which tied for fourth. The Bulldogs went 9-8-2 overall a year ago and 6-5-1 for 19 points and third place in the WCC, trailing only SCU (26 points) and USF (21). It was the highest finish for the Bulldogs since 2001 when they tied for second. The six wins were the most for the Bulldogs since the WCC adopted the double round robin 12-game schedule in 2004. Gonzaga went 6-3-1 in its last 10 matches, including 6-2-1 down the stretch in conference play after opening WCC action with three straight road losses.
STILL RANKED: Gonzaga University's men's soccer team, riding a three-match winning streak, remained ranked in two polls and is receiving votes in two others this week. The Bulldogs (5-2-0) moved up four spots to 21st in the Soccer America rankings and improved one spot to 28th in the College Soccer News rankings. Gonzaga is also receiving votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas and SoccerTimes.com polls. The Bulldogs also climbed back into the NSCAA/adidas Far West Regional rankings at No. 8 this week after being out of the regional poll last week.
ON THE ROAD: Gonzaga University continues its long road trek this week. The Bulldogs, who played the University of Washington at home on Sept. 7, won't return to Martin Field until Oct. 12, a stretch of seven straight matches away from home.
FLYING HIGH: Gonzaga University has won three of the last four meetings from the University of Portland, the other match ending in a tie. The Bulldogs won both meetings last year, taking a 2-1 decision in Portland and following that with a 2-1 overtime verdict in Spokane two days later. The teams tied 2-2 in Portland in 2005 after the Bulldogs had taken that year's first meeting 1-0 at Gonzaga. Saturday's match is the only match of the week involving West Coast Conference schools as all other squads are taking the weekend off.
COMFORTABLE IN CORVALLIS: Paul Lorenz Field at Oregon State University might be Gonzaga University's home away from home. The Bulldogs captured the Stephen Hensor/Joe Zaher Classic for the second straight year last weekend. The Bulldogs handed Loyola College of Baltimore, Md., is first loss in seven outings with a 2-1 victory in last Friday's opener, then defeated 2006 NCAA Tournament participant Northern Illinois University 1-0 in Sunday's winner-take-all showdown. Freshman Philippe Garre took a pass from veteran George Josten and scored from 8 yards for his first career goal to give the Bulldogs the win over NIU.
JOSTEN LIKES CORVALLIS: Gonzaga University senior George Josten continued his offensive output at Paul Lorenz Field on the Oregon State University campus. The Hermann Trophy candidate scored a goal and had two assists last weekend, giving him seven goals and five assists in eight career matches at OSU.
HIGGINS GETS SHUTOUT: Senior keeper Vito Higgins of Kailua, Hawai'i became the third player in Gonzaga University's men's soccer history to record double-digit shutouts with the Bulldogs 1-0 win over Northern Illinois University last Sunday. The other two ahead of him are also fellow Hawaiians - Josh Fouts the career leader with 19 and Mike McCarthy second with 13.
THE THORARINSSON TALE OF THE TAPE: Gonzaga University head coach Einar Thorarinsson is 106-97-16 in his 13th season with the Bulldogs. His overall record is 225-149-29 that includes nine seasons across town at Whitworth College. He picked up his 100th Gonzaga win last season with a 3-0 home win at Saint Mary's College. After going 3-10-2 in his first season of 1995, the Bulldogs have had winning seasons in six of the last 10 seasons under Thorarinsson. His teams led the West Coast Conference in wins with a 14-4-0 record in 1997 and 12-4-2 mark in 1998, capturing WCC co-championships in each of those seasons. The Bulldogs were 9-5-2 in 2001, making their inaugural College Cup appearance. In 2005 Gonzaga went to the final match of the season with a chance to win the WCC title. He was accorded his third WCC Coach of the Year honor in 2005 to go with similar honors won in 1996-97 as he was the first coach in Gonzaga history to receive back-to-back WCC Coach of the Year accolades. He is the fourth winningest coach overall in WCC contests with 41 wins and is second among active coaches, Seamus McFadden of the University of San Diego atop both lists with 66 wins.