Nov. 1, 2007
UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: San Francisco heads to the Pacific Northwest for its final road matches of the 2007 regular season, beginning Friday, November 2 in Spokane against Gonzaga. The Dons then travel to the Rose City for a Sunday matinee against Portland, completing a stretch in the schedule where the team has played six of seven on the road. San Francisco closes the regular season with three consecutive home matches at Negoesco Stadium. USF looks to avenge earlier setbacks to the Bulldogs (2-0) and Pilots (1-0) in the opening week of West Coast Conference action on the Hilltop.
DONS & BULLDOGS - THE SERIES: Since 2002, San Francisco owns a 6-2-1 record against Gonzaga after the then No. 24 Bulldogs blanked the Dons 2-0 October 7 at Negoesco Stadium. Last season each team posted a 2-1 home victory. USF leads the all-time series 9-8-1 since 1993.
DONS & PILOTS - THE SERIES: Portland has won three of the last five contests between the two teams after taking a 1-0 decision at Negeosco October 5. Prior to this season, the Dons split the last four contests against the Pilots, taking a thrilling 3-2 decision at home last season, avenging a 2-1 loss in the Rose City. In 2005, both teams posted a road victory in the series Portland leads 12-9-2.
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 24-15-4 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.
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. GONZAGA & PORTLAND LIVE ON THE INTERNET: USF's West Coast Conference Week Five matches at Gonzaga and Portland will both feature live scoring. Simply log on to USFDons.com and click on the GameTracker link under the event menu on the main page. Sunday's match at Portland will also be available on live audio/video streaming, courtesy of Stretch Internet at PortlandPilots.com.
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 69-51-9. 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: Entering the second half of the West Coast Conference schedule USF has been involved in extremely close matches with all but two contests decided by one goal and the Dons own a 6-5-0 record in these contests after seizing a 2-1 win at Saint Mary's (10/28). 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 33-20 ledger in one goal matches, including a 5-4-0 mark during the 2005 campaign.
CHINN AMONG WCC SCORING LEADERS: Sophomore forward Conor Chinn enters the fifth week of the West Coast Conference campaign ranked among the top-five among league leaders in three offensive categories. Chinn shares second place in goals (5), third place in points (12) and rates fourth in shots (33). Chinn scored two goals to lead the Dons to a 2-1 victory against No. 111 Cal (9/14).
Daniel DeGeer CONTRIBUTING OFFENSIVELY: Senior defender Daniel DeGeer assisted on both goals in USF's 2-1 victory at ancient Bay Area and West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary's (10/28) and enters the fifth week of league play with a team-high four assists on the year, good for a share of fifth place among WCC leaders. With eight points this season DeGeer has doubled his career totals entering the 2007 season. DeGeer scored two goals in the Dons 3-2 victory against San Jose State (9/9).
THE RETURN OF FRENCHIE: Junior midfielder Ben Dessard earned his first start since 2005 last Sunday at Saint Mary's (10/28) and promptly scored his first goal of the season at the 24:52 mark to knot the contest at 1-1. Dessard, who missed more than 16 months with two serious knee injuries, was activated prior to the Dons match at No. 3 Santa Clara October 12. It is the third career goal for Dessard, a 2005 WCC Freshman Team selection.
CONNER RECORDS ANOTHER SAVE: Junior goalkeeper Eric Conner enters the fifth week of the West Coast Conference slate ranked among league leaders in a pair of significant categories. Conner leads the WCC in saves per game (4.27) and is fourth in overall saves (47) in 11 starts between the pipes this season. Conner collected his first career shutout in the Green and Gold in a scoreless double overtime deadlock at San Diego (10/21).
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.
A LOOK AT GONZAGA: The Bulldogs enter the week of with a 8-3-3 mark and a 3-1-3 West Coast Conference slate and have played three straight overtime matches, highlighted by a 1-1 road deadlock at No. 3 Santa Clara (10/21). Gonzaga tied Pacific Northwest rival Portland 1-1 to open the second half of the WCC schedule. Senior forward and Hermann Award candidate George Josten leads the way for the Zags with five goals and 16 points. Senior goalkeeper Vito Higgins has played every minute in goal for Gonzaga, posting a 0.75 GAA with 56 saves and four shutouts.
A LOOK AT PORTLAND: The Pilots enter the week with a 5-4-5 overall record and own a modest three match unbeaten streak after tying Pacific Northwest rival Gonzaga 1-1 to open the second half of the WCC schedule. Portland also secured a scoreless tie at No. 3 Santa Clara (10/19). Junior forward Alex Elliott leads Portland in scoring with five goals and 15 points on the season, while freshman forward Ryan Luke has four scoring strikes on the year. Freshman goalkeeper Austin Guerrero has played every minute between the pipes for UP this season and owns a 1.05 GAA with 51 saves and five shutouts in 1368:37 minutes of action.
DONS PLAYING ROAD WARRIORS: After playing eight of its first nine matches at home, USF is finishing a streak of six of seven matches on the road - all of them West Coast Conference contests. The Dons have responded to post an impressive 3-1-1 slate on the road, with the only setback coming in a last second 2-1 loss at No. 4 Santa Clara (10/12). In 2006, USF posted a winning record on the road for the third straight season (6-5-0), while playing one of the most challenging schedules in Division I soccer. The Dons took a 1-0 victory at No. 11 Cal to open the season and added wins at Penn State, Cal State Northridge, San Diego and Loyola Marymount. In the last three seasons, the Dons own a 18-12-1 record in true away matches (3-1-2 at neutral sites) while posting a 12-9-1 slate in WCC road tilts. USF is 23-11-4 at Negoesco Stadium since the start of the 2004 season. San Francisco won its only road match of the season in a 2-1 double overtime thriller at Stanford (9/16).
Erik Visser BY THE NUMBERS: USF head coach Erik Visser is in his third decade of coaching on the Hilltop. Since joining soccer legend Steve Negoesco's staff in 1981, Visser has served as an assistant coach on the men's team (1981-2000) and served as head coach of the women's team (1985-90) before taking the reigns of the Green and Gold in 2001. Visser has coached in a remarkable 636 games at USF and during his four-year playing career competed in 102 matches for a total of 733 games. Just the fourth head coach for the Dons since 1947, Visser ranks third in career victories with 69 behind NSCAA Hall-of-Famers Gus Donoghue (1946-1960), who tallied 121 and mentor Steve Negoesco (1962-2000) who compiled a then NCAA record 544.