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Men's Soccer Travels to Portland and Gonzaga This Week

Oct. 31, 2007

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This Week In Men's Soccer
The Saint Mary's men's soccer team (6-6-1) will hit the road for two West Coast Conference games this week. On Friday, November 2, the Gaels will play the Portland Pilots in a 7 p.m. game at Merlo Field. Following the game against the Pilots, SMC will travel to Spokane for a Sunday afternoon game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The game between SMC and Gonzaga will begin at noon at Martin Field.

Last Week Recap
Saint Mary's posted a 1-1 record in two games against the San Francisco Dons. In the first game of the weekend, Saint Mary's went on the road and posted a 1-0 win over USF. Sophomore midfield Dylan Leslie scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute on a free kick from about 23 yards out. Sunday's game in Moraga ended with USF scoring a 2-1 win on a Brandon McDonald game-winning goal with four minutes left in regulation. Corey Heldreth gave the Gaels a 1-0 lead when he scored on a header just 44 seconds into the game, but a Ben Dessard goal in the 24th minute had the game tied 1-1 until McDonald headed home the winning goal at 86:04.

Who's Hot
Junior defender Corey Heldreth earns this week's who's hot honor. Heldreth played a key role in SMC's 1-0 shutout victory over San Francisco on the road, marking SMC's first win at USF since the 1990 season. Two days later, Heldreth scored SMC's goal, just 44 seconds into the match, against the Dons.

Scouting the Portland Pilots
Portland enters this week with a 5-4-5 overall record, and following back-to-back ties with No. 3 Santa Clara (0-0) and Gonzaga (2-2) last week, the Pilots are 2-1-4 in WCC play. Portland has scored 21 goals this season and has allowed 16 goals.

Leading the Pilots this season is Alex Elliott who has 15 points on four goals and seven assists. Elliott leads the WCC in assists, is second in points and tied for fifth in goals. Luke Ryan is tied with Elliott for the team lead with four goals and Bryan Irwin has eight points on three goals and two assists. Austin Guerrero has played every minute in goal for Portland and has a 1.05 goals against average. Guerrero has made 51 saves on the year.

Versus The Pilots
Friday's match-up between SMC and Portland will mark the 25th meeting all-time. Following a 0-0 tie with Portland earlier this year, Saint Mary's is 4-18-3 all-time versus Portland. In the last five games of the series, the Gaels are 2-1-2 when playing the Pilots.

Scouting the Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga enters this week with an 8-3-3 overall record. Following ties to No. 3 Santa Clara (1-1) and Portland (2-2) last week, the Bulldogs are 3-1-3 against West Coast Conference competition, and currently in second place in the conference standings. Gonzaga has outscored its opponents 18-11 this season, while posting a total of four shutouts.

Leading the Bulldogs this season is George Josten who has a WCC-leading 16 points this season. Josten leads his team in both goals (5) and assists (6) to rank second in the WCC in both categories. Tye Perdido and Grand Lundberg had three goals each, and John Reha is second on the team with four assists. Vito Higgins has been the man in goal all season, logging 1,322 minutes between the pipes. Higgins has allowed 11 goals, has 56 saves and a 0.75 goals against average, which is second in the conference.

Versus the Bulldogs
When Saint Mary's and Gonzaga meet on Sunday it will mark 19th meeting all time. With a 1-0 loss to Gonzaga earlier this season, SMC's record against Gonzaga is 7-10-1 overall. With this season's win, Gonzaga has won the last four games played between the two schools.

WCC Leaders
Saint Mary's junior Justin Kim is tied for second in the West Coast Conference with six assists. Kim added to his total with an assist on Corey Heldreth's goal against San Francisco on Oct. 28. Kim is also ninth in the conference in shots (26) and eighth in shots per game (2.00). Senior David Blanchard, who is second in the WCC with two game-winning goals, is eighth in goals (3). Keenan Flynn ranks fifth in goals against average (0.97), third in saves per game (3.86), second in shutouts per game (0.43), and second in shutouts with three.

Record Watch
Senior goalkeeper Brian Mason continues to climb up the SMC record books. In three years in net, Mason has put together quite the resume. Mason ranks 1st all-time with a 1.25 career goals against average, and this season added two shutouts, to bring his school record to 15.5 on his career. With his 90 minutes of action against Gonzaga on Oct. 5, Mason moved into first all-time with 5,553 minutes played in goal. Randell Smith (1983-86) held the minutes played mark of 5,530 minutes played for over 20 years. Mason ranks fourth all-time with 259 career saves, 11 behind Steve Reardon (1995-99). The senior also sits second all-time with 60 matches played and is third with 20 wins in net. Smith ranks first with 67 matches played and Kellen Wilson (1999-01, 03) holds the mark with 22 wins.

Head Coach Adam Cooper:
In his second season at the helm of the Saint Mary's men's soccer program, Adam Cooper led the Gaels to new achievements. For the first time in school history the Gaels downed ranked opponents in back-to-back games. To start the 2006 conference season, SMC defeated No. 11 USF 1-0 and No. 10 USD 4-2.

Under the direction of Cooper, Desmond Brooks was selected second overall in the Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft by Chivas USA. Brooks became the first men's soccer player at SMC to be drafted by the MLS. Matt Fitzgerald was selected by the California Victory in the 2007 USL First Division College Player Draft.

Cooper was named the head coach for of the U.S. Maccabi junior boy's squad. Cooper will head a team of 14 and 15 year olds for the Maccabi Pan-American games in Argentina.

Next Week
Saint Mary's will play a single game next week, that a Sunday evening match-up against Santa Clara. The Gaels will travel to the No. 3 ranked Broncos on November 11 for a 7 p.m. game at Buck Shaw Stadium.