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USF Men's Soccer Tackles Saint Mary's Twice This Weekend in WCC Action

Oct. 25, 2007

UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: San Francisco takes on ancient Bay Area rival Saint Mary's in a pair of games this week, starting Friday, October 26 at Negoesco Stadium. The Dons close out the first half of league play against the Gaels on the Hilltop before opening the second half of the league slate in Moraga in a Sunday matinee. USF is fresh off a successful Southern California road jaunt where it posted a 2-1 victory against Loyola Marymount, before settling for a scoreless tie at San Diego. The Dons continue a stretch where they play seven of eight matches on the road, but USF hosts three straight matches to close out the regular season. USF earned a split in the season series against Saint Mary's last season, dropping a 1-0 road decision September 21 to open conference play before bouncing back to seize a 1-0 victory on the Hilltop October 22.

DONS & GAELS - THE SERIES: USF owns a 15-6-1 lead in the all-time series against Saint Mary's, dating back to 1988. Since the start of double round robin play in 2004, the Dons have posted a 4-2-0 record against the Gaels. San Francisco has not posted a win in Moraga since the 2004 campaign, taking a 2-1 road win, while Saint Mary's has not won at Negoesco Stadium since a 3-1 decision in 1990.

USF IN THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE DOUBLE ROUND ROBIN: One of the NCAA's most storied programs, San Francisco has posted three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and five straight upper echelon West Coast Conference finishes with back-to-back titles (2004-05) and a runner-up showing (2006). Since the WCC adopted the double round-robin format for the 2004 campaign, USF owns a 23-14-4 league ledger.

DONS LOOK TO REBOUND FROM ANOTHER SLOW WCC START: San Francisco will not be accused of getting off to a fast start to West Coast Conference play once again this season. Since the start of double round robin play in 2004, USF has started the league slate 0-2 three times (2004, 2006-07). While it remains to be seen how the Green and Gold responds this year, San Francisco bounced back to capture the WCC title in 2004 and secured its third straight NCAA berth last season. USF opened league with a 1-1-0 mark in 2005.

USF HEAD COACH Erik Visser: Now in his seventh successful year as head coach at his Alma mater, Erik Visser has propelled USF to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and is committed to taking the Green and Gold into the postseason once again in 2007. The Dons posted a 12-7-1 overall record during the 2006 season, while playing a schedule rated in the top-10 nationally. After guiding San Francisco to consecutive West Coast Conference titles (2004-05), the Dons secured a runner-up finish in 2006 in an ever-improving league. From 2004-06, USF recorded a 37-17-6 record and recorded the most league victories (22) during the span. A two-time WCC Coach of the Year (2004-05), Visser owns deep ties to the soccer program at the University of San Francisco. A defender on two USF NCAA Championship teams (1978, 1980), Visser spent 19 seasons as an assistant coach under soccer legend Steve Negoesco before taking the reigns as head coach for the 2001 campaign. Along the way, Visser also started the women's soccer program on the Hilltop in 1985 and served as head coach for six years. Visser is active in the USA National Team program and served as the top assistant for the U-20 team that finished 13th in the 2001 Youth World Cup in Argentina. Visser recorded his 50th career victory at Portland (11/10/05) and owns an overall mark of 68-50-9. Former Dons standout Josh McKay is in his fifth season as top assistant coach and second as an associate head coach, while Tyler Gottschalk is in his fourth campaign as an assistant coach. Former UCLA All-American goalkeeper Eric Reed enters his first season as the Dons keepers coach.

PLENTY OF BONUS SOCCER: USF posted its second overtime win of the season with a 2-1 double overtime decision at Stanford (9/16) and then fought to a scoreless draw at San Diego (10/21), continuing a trend of extra session success. San Francisco played four matches requiring an additional period in 2006 and posted a 2-1-1 overall record and went 1-1-1 in matches needing both overtime sessions. This was in sharp contrast to the 2005 season when the Dons played a remarkable seven matches that reached double overtime and registered a 2-1-4 overall record, 1-1-3 during West Coast Conference play. Since the start of the 2004 season, USF owns a 7-4-7 slate during "bonus soccer" matches.

WINNING THE CLOSE ONES: With the conclusion of the non-conference schedule USF has been involved in extremely close matches with all but two contests decided by one goal and the Dons own a 5-4-0 record in these contests after seizing a 2-1 win at Loyola Marymount (10/19). San Francisco played a remarkable 13 matches in 2006 decided by one goal, posting an 8-5 record in those contests. This shows the strength of the Dons defense, who as a unit allowed a maximum of two goals only five times last year. Dating back to October of the 2003 campaign, USF owns a 32-19 ledger in one goal matches, including a 5-4-0 mark during the 2005 campaign.

SAN FRANCISCO VS. THE NATIONAL ELITE: USF will never be accused of playing a soft schedule and this season is no exception. The Dons match at No. 3 Santa Clara was the fourth top-25 opponent they have faced this season. USF owns a 1-3-0 record against the national elite this season, with a satisfying 2-0 blanking of No. 11 Cal (9/14) the lone victory so far. The Dons fought No. 5 UCLA (9/20) to a standstill, before falling 1-0 in the 88th minute and suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 24 Gonzaga (10/7). Since the start of the 2004 campaign, San Francisco owns a 6-10-2 record against top-25 foes.

USF VS. SAINT MARY'S LIVE ON THE INTERNET: USF's West Coast Conference Week Four matches against Saint Mary's will both be available via CSTV's GameTracker. Simply log on to USFDons.com and click on the GameTracker link under the event menu on the main page. Friday's match against the Gaels will also be available on live audio/video streaming, courtesy of Yahoo Broadcast.

GAME DAY GREEN: The University of San Francisco Athletic Department in conjunction with the USF Bookstore and the USF Residence Life Office encourages all Dons supporters to wear "Game Day Green". The USF Residence Life Office also is in full support of the initiative and staff members will wear "Game Day Green" on game days throughout the Fall Season.