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WCC Men's Soccer Weekly Notes - 10/9

Oct. 9, 2006

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WCC Player of the Week
Rob Valentino, San Francisco

San Francisco defender Rob Valentino earned WCC Player of the Week honors after leading the Dons to a pair of crucial road victories in conference play over the weekend. The junior anchored a USF defense that shutout LMU on Friday, 1-0, before limiting a San Diego offense that leads the nation in scoring to just one goal in a 2-1 victory on Sunday. The preseason All-American assisted on the game-winning goal in Friday's win over the Lions, and was also credited with an assist on Brandon McDonald's game-winning goal against the Toreros on Sunday.

Upcoming Games

Oct. 12
San Diego at Loyola Marymount* - 4:00 PM

Oct. 13
Saint Mary's at Santa Clara* - 7:00 PM
Gonzaga at Portland* - 7:30 PM

Oct. 15
Loyola Marymount at San Diego* - 2:00 PM
Portland at Gonzaga* - 2:00 PM
Santa Clara at Saint Mary's* - 2:00 PM

* Denotes Conference Game

Around the WCC

San Francisco's Uhl Ties WCC Shutout Record
San Francisco goalkeeper Geremy Uhl tied former Portland and current United States National Team Goalkeeper Kasey Keller's conference record for shutouts in WCC matches with his 13th career clean sheet in a 1-0 win over LMU on Friday. Keller posted 13 clean sheets in just 20 WCC matches for UP between 1988-91, while Uhl has been available for 36 WCC matches during his time on The Hilltop due to double round-robin play implemented in 2004. Uhl's 23 overall career shutouts currently ranks sixth on the WCC chart.

Regional Rivalries Highlight This Weekend's Slate
Regional rivalries take center stage as the WCC season hits its midpoint this week. Northwest rivals Gonzaga and Portland will meet twice this weekend, while Southern California powers LMU and San Diego lock horns for a pair of matches, and Saint Mary's and Santa Clara join up for two tilts in the Bay Area. WCC leading USF will have the weekend off.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-5-2 / 1-3-1 WCC)
- Gonzaga enjoyed a successful return home after playing seven straight matches on the road, tying Santa Clara on Friday before handing Saint Mary's a 4-0 defeat on Sunday.

- Vito Higgins collected 11 saves en route to posting a pair of shutouts in net over the weekend. Higgins has made 193 saves during his time in Spokane, and can become just the fourth goalkeeper in program history to crack the 200-save barrier with seven more.

- John Reha scored a goal and added a pair of assists in Sunday's win over Saint Mary's. The junior, who sat out the 2005 season due to injury, has already established career-highs in both goals (2) and assists (4) so far this season.

- The Zags look to continue their recent hot streak this weekend, as GU travels to face Northwest rival Portland (10/13) before returning home to face the Pilots on Sunday (10/15).

Loyola Marymount Lions (6-5-1 / 2-2-1 WCC)
- Loyola Marymount fell to 2-2-1 in conference play after a 1-0 loss to San Francisco at Sullivan Field on Friday.

- Robert Flores collected three saves during the loss to USF, bringing his season save total to 34. The senior currently ranks fourth in the conference in saves.

- The Lions have gotten goals from eight different players so far this season, led by David Niemeyer's three scoring strikes. Six of LMU's 12 goals this season have come from seniors, as Bobby Burling and Diego Souza have combined for three goals in addition to Niemeyer's total.

- The Lions jump back into action against San Diego this week in a pair of crucial conference matches. LMU will host the Toreros on Thursday (10/12) before making the trip south to take on San Diego on Sunday (10/15).

Portland Pilots (5-4-2 / 2-3-0 WCC)
- Portland earned a split at home over the weekend, dealing Saint Mary's a 2-1 defeat on Friday before falling to Santa Clara on Sunday, 2-1.

- Christopher Sanders provided the heroics in Friday's win, scoring two goals in a 10-minute stretch to give UP the come-from-behind victory over SMC. Sanders' game-winning goal marked the ninth of his career, putting him into a tie for sixth on the UP list.

- Matthew Dallman assisted on Sanders' game-winner, moving him into a tie for the team lead with three assists on the season.

- Luis Robles moved into a tie with Kasey Keller for second place on the UP all-time saves list after collecting seven saves on the weekend, bringing his career total to 303.

- Portland hosts Gonzaga (10/13) before traveling to Spokane for a return match (10/15).

Saint Mary's Gaels (4-5-4 / 2-2-1 WCC)
- Saint Mary's suffered its first two defeats in conference play over the weekend, dropping a 2-1 decision at Portland before falling to Gonzaga on the road, 4-0.

- David Blanchard put Saint Mary's ahead with his third goal of the season against Portland, netting a score from nine yards out after a throw-in by Alex Christlieb.

- Brian Mason picked up a pair of saves in Friday's loss to Portland to bring his season save total to 31. The junior, who led the WCC in saves last season with 94, currently ranks fifth on the SMC list with 219 career saves.

- The Gaels will match up with Bay Area Rival Santa Clara for a pair of games this weekend, with SMC visiting SCU on Friday (10/13) before hosting the Broncos on Sunday (10/15).

San Diego Toreros (7-4-0 / 2-3-0 WCC)
- San Diego fell to San Francisco on Sunday, 2-1, marking its third straight loss in conference play and its first loss at Torero Stadium this season.

- Ryan Guy tallied the Toreros' goal against the Dons, putting in a rebound to move into the team lead with five goals so far this season. Guy, who entered the season with eight career goals, also leads the team with 13 overall points.

- San Diego enters the week ranked first in the nation in scoring, averaging 3.0 goals per game. The Toreros have gotten goals from 12 different players so far this season, and seven different players have scored at least three goals.

- San Diego looks to get back on the winning track against Southern California rival Loyola Marymount this weekend. The Toreros will travel to face the Lions on Thursday (10/12) before heading home for the return match on Sunday (10/15).

San Francisco Dons (9-3-1 / 4-2-0 WCC)
- San Francisco continued to roll in conference play, extending its current winning streak to four matches by defeating LMU and San Diego on the road over the weekend.

- Geremy Uhl was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week after collecting nine saves in the two USF victories. Uhl's shutout of LMU on Friday put him into a tie with former Portland goalkeeper Kasey Keller for first place on the WCC career list with 13 clean sheets in conference contests.

- Rob Valentino assisted on game-winning goals in both games, notching an assist on Chris Rodd's first goal in a USF uniform on Friday and earning assist credit for Brandon McDonald's game-winner on Sunday.

- USF will have the week off before starting the second half of WCC play on October 20.

Santa Clara Broncos (7-3-3 / 3-1-1 WCC)
- Santa Clara came away from a road trip to the Northwest with a win and a tie, battling Gonzaga to a scoreless draw on Friday before handing Portland a 2-1 defeat on Sunday.

- Joseph Buttitta made a pair of saves, including a game-saving stop in the closing moments of overtime, to record his fourth shutout of the season in Friday's tie at Gonzaga.

- Sean Danzeiser tallied his third goal of the season in Sunday's win over Portland, marking the ninth score by a Santa Clara freshman so far this season. Freshman Jeff Cosgriff has also scored three times, while Amaechi Igwe has found the net twice and Ryan Brown has tallied once.

- Santa Clara will meet Bay Area rival Saint Mary's twice this weekend, with the Broncos hosting the Gaels on Friday (10/13) and traveling to Moraga on Sunday (10/15).

Games To Watch

San Diego at Loyola Marymount - Thursday, October 12 at 4:00 PM (PT)
San Diego visits Loyola Marymount in a battle of two squads looking to emerge from the middle of the WCC standings. USD has struggled as of late, dropping its last three matches in conference play, while LMU is looking for consistency after going 1-1-1 in its last three contests against WCC opponents. The Toreros feature a high-powered offense that leads the nation with an average of three goals per game, and the Lions have a balanced attack that has seen eight different players find the back of the net this season.

Portland at Gonzaga - Sunday, October 15 at 2:00 PM (PT)
Sunday's match between Northwest rivals Portland and Gonzaga will be the second meeting of the weekend between these two squads. Although the Zags and Pilots currently reside at the bottom of the conference standings, both teams have produced solid results as of late. Portland went 1-1 at home last weekend, while the Zags notched a win and a tie, including a 4-0 defeat of Saint Mary's on Sunday.