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Men's Soccer Heads To The Pacific Northwest

Oct. 2, 2006

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This Week In Men's Soccer: The Saint Mary's men's soccer team (4-3-4, 2-0-1 WCC) will embark on its first road trip of West Coast Conference play when the Gaels head to the Pacific Northwest for two games. The Gaels will start off their weekend with a game against the Portland Pilots (4-3-2, 1-2-0 WCC) on Friday, October 6 at 7 p.m. SMC will then play Gonzaga (3-5-1, 0-3-0 WCC) on Sunday, October 8 at 1 p.m.

Who's Hot: Freshman midfielder Dylan Leslie was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for his effort against No. 10-ranked San Diego. The newcomer recorded his first career hat trick to pace the Gaels over the Toreros. Leslie's three goals against USD equaled the total amount of goals allowed by the Toreros all season.

Last Week Recap: The Gaels continued to stay hot at home in WCC action with another win over a ranked opponent. SMC downed No. 10-ranked San Diego 4-2 on Friday and then played Loyola Marymount to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. The win over USD marks the second consecutive win over a ranked opponent. SMC defeated then No. 11-ranked USF 1-0 on September 22.

Freshman Dylan Leslie paced the Gaels past the Toreros with a hat trick. Leslie converted a penalty kick for his first goal of the game. The newcomer then buried a one-timer far post off a pass from Matthew Fitzgerald and capped of his scoring barrage with a header off a Carlos Diaz corner kick. Fellow freshman Bryan VanDoorninck recorded the fourth goal against USD. Fitzgerald buried a volley off a Anthony Butler cross for the lone goal against LMU.

Scouting Portland: The Gaels head to Merlo Field in Portland where the Pilots sport a 4-3-2 overall record and a 1-2-0 conference mark. Portland is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to No. 23 USF and a 3-0 victory over Seattle. To start the season the Pilots played 2005 NCAA runner-up New Mexico to a scoreless tie. As a team the Pilots have out-scored their opposition 14-6, holding their opponents to a 0.64 goals against average.

Offensively the Pilots are led by the 10 points of Alex Elliott on the strength of five goals. Christopher Sanders and Matthew Dallman each have four points with Sanders recoding two goals and Dallman chipping in with two assists and a goal. In net, Luis Robles has posted four shut outs and tallied 43 saves while allowing six goals.

Versus Portland: The two WCC teams have met 22 times with the Pilots grabbing a 17-4-1 advantage. The two teams split last years' series with each team recording a win at home.

Scouting Gonzaga: The Bulldogs (3-5-1, 0-3-0 WCC) will face the Santa Clara Broncos on Friday before hosting the Gaels on Sunday. Gonzaga has dropped all three of its WCC games this season, falling to USF 2-1 and San Diego 4-0. The Zags have been out-scored by their opposition 17-15 and are allowing 1.84 goals per game.

Offensively the Bulldogs are led by reigning WCC scoring leader George Josten. The forward has recorded 16 points on the strength of six goals and four assists. John Palladino and Grant Lundberg have tallied six points each. Palladino has recorded three goals while Lundberg has two goals and two assists credited to his name. In net, Vito Higgins has allowed 17 goals for a 1.84 goals against average and has tallied 30 saves.

Versus Gonzaga: The two WCC teams have met 15 times with both squads even at 7-7-1. The two teams split last years' series with each team taking home a win on the road.

Back-to-Back Players of the Week: With Dylan Leslie being named WCC Player of the Week and senior defender Alex Christlieb nabbing the honor last week, Saint Mary's has had a stranglehold on the honor. The current first place team atop the conference standings has been rewarded for their great play to start WCC play.

Gaels Mow Down Ranked Opponents: Saint Mary's has downed two ranked opponents in back-to-back games. The Gaels started conference play with a 1-0 victory over then No. 11 San Francisco. The very next game the Gaels defeated the No. 10 Toreros 4-2. It marks the first time in school history that SMC has beaten two ranked opponents in a row.

WCC Leaders: Sophomore forward Carlos Diaz currently leads the conference in shots with 37, shots per game with 3.36, he is tied with Matthew Fitzgerald in assists with three, and he is eighth in points with nine. Freshman midfielder Dylan Leslie is third in goals with four and fourth in goals per game with 0.40. Junior goalkeeper Brian Mason is fifth in saves with 29 and fourth in saves per game with 3.22.

In conference play, the Gaels are currently first in assists with six, assists per game with two, goals per game with two and goals allowed with three for a 0.93 goals against average. SMC is second in goals with six, points with 18 and shut outs with one.

Individually in WCC action, Leslie leads in points with six, points per game with two, goals with three and goals per game with two. Fellow freshman Mark Araujo is currently first in assists with two and assists per game with 0.67. Mason leads the WCC with a shut out and a 0.33 shut outs per game clip.

First-Year Head Coach Adam Cooper: After serving as an assistant coach for the Saint Mary's men's soccer team for five seasons, Adam Cooper was promoted to head coach as a unanimous choice by the selection committee, players and staff. Cooper officially took over the program on December 29, 2005.

As an assistant at SMC, Cooper was instrumental in the Gaels tying a school-record with nine wins in 2005. Cooper has also stamped his name on some impressive recruiting classes that included 2003 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year Matthew Fitzgerald, 2005 Freshman of the Year Michael Clegg and 2004 Second-Team Freshman All-American Brian Mason.

Cooper's playing experience includes one year of professional soccer with the Orange County Waves in the Division II A-League where he was the seventh pick in the first round of the 2000 A-League draft. Prior to playing professionally, Cooper was a four-year letter-winner at UCLA, helping the Bruins to the NCAA Championship in 1997 and a Final Four appearance in 1999. During that time he earned Academic All-Conference honors in 1996 and 1999 and completed a bachelor's degree in Sociology.

Next Week: The Gaels will continue WCC play when they take to the road for their first conference trip away from Moraga. SMC will head to the Pacific Northwest to face Portland on Friday, October 6 at 7 p.m. and Gonzaga on Sunday, October 8 at 1 p.m.