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Men's Soccer Returns Home For Final Homestand

Nov. 2, 2006

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This Week In Men's Soccer: The Saint Mary's men's soccer team (4-9-5, 2-6-2 WCC) will return home for its final homestand of the season. The Gaels will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs (7-8-2, 4-5-1 WCC) on Friday, November 3 and then host the Portland Pilots (8-7-2, 4-6-0 WCC) on November 5. Both games are slated for 2 p.m. from Saint Mary's Stadium.

Last Week Recap: The Gaels suffered a tough road-trip, dropping two matches on the weekend. SMC fell to LMU in overtime by the score of 2-1. Senior Matthew Fitzgerald recorded the lone goal for SMC in the 89th minute off a long boot from junior goalkeeper Brian Mason. In Sunday's contest the Gaels fell 4-0 to the USD Toreros.

Scouting Gonzaga: The Bulldogs split their two games last weekend against two ranked opponents. GU fell to No. 23 Washington 2-1 but rallied to defeat No. 16 San Francisco 2-1 in double-overtime. Overall the Bulldogs have allowed as many goals as they have netted with 28. GU has been roughed up a bit as they have only committed 194 fouls to the 263 against them.

Offensively Gonzaga is led by George Josten's 22 points. Josten has netted nine goals and handed out four assists. John Palladino follows with 12 points on five goals and two assists while John Reha leads the team with seven assists, adding two goals for 11 points. In between the pipes, Vito Higgins has played every minute for the Bulldogs. Higgins posts an 1.59 goals against average and has tallied 56 saves in 1589 minutes.

Versus the Bulldogs: The two teams met on Oct. 8 where GU ran away with a 4-0 victory. With the victory, Gonzaga now holds a 8-7-1 all-time advantage over the Gaels. The last time SMC defeated GU in Moraga was in a 2-0 shutout in 2004.

Scouting Portland: The Pilots are coming off back-to-back victories versus ranked opponents. UP defeated No. 16 San Francisco 2-1 and then battled No. 23 Washington to a 2-1 win. The wins over the ranked opponents mark the first time in 2006 that the Pilots have downed a top-25 team. The Pilots have out-scored their opposition 27-19 and have an edge in GAA with a 1.08 mark over a 1.54 clip.

Offensively the Pilots are led by Alex Elliott and Christopher Sanders. Elliott leads the team with 18 points on nine goals while Sanders sports 17 points on seven goals and three assists. Matthew Dallman leads the team with six assists.

Versus the Pilots: Portland downed Saint Mary's 2-1 in the Pacific Northwest earlier this season. SMC defeated UP 2-1 in overtime last season in Moraga. The Pilots hold an 18-4-1 advantage all-time.

Senior Day: Seven senior soccer players will be recognized on Sunday, November 5 against Portland. Matthew Fitzgerald, Desmond Brooks, Jason Stanwood, Corey Watts, Anthony Butler, David Lenser and Alex Christlieb will make their last appearance in a Gaels uniform.

Fitzgerald: One of the most decorated players to sport the Gaels uniform. A three-time All-WCC selection including a two-time first-teamer. Was also named the WCC Freshman of the Year in 2003. Leads the team in 2006 with 11 points on four goals and three assists. Ranks third all-time in assists with 17 and fifth in points with 41 and seventh in goals with 12.

Brooks: Is a four-year letterwinner that has appeared in 70 games from the backfield. Combined size and strength to shut down opposing attackers. In 2004, Brooks was instrumental in aiding the SMC defense to set a school record 1.17 GAA. Helped SMC shutout No. 11 USF and No. 17 SCU this season.

Watts: A four-year letterwinner that has appeared in 64 games for the Gaels at midfield. Has tallied two points on two assists and has rallied off 30 shots in his career. An imposing player at the defensive midfield position, Watts was a key in the Gaels 4-2 victory over No. 10 USD drawing a penalty in the box with a long run.

Butler: A four-year letterwinner that was a jack of all trades for the Gaels. Played in 67 games at the forward, midfield and defensive positions. Tallied 22 points on eight goals and six assists. Was named to the Rutgers All-Tournament Team his freshman season.

Christlieb: Blossomed in the last two seasons of his career providing an offensive threat from the defensive end for the Gaels. Was named a 2005 All-WCC honorable mention selection. Garnered All-WCC Player of the Week and was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week in 2006. Has recorded 21 points on eight goals and five assists from the backfield.

Stanwood: A three-year letterwinner that appeared in 23 games for the Gaels. Recorded three points on one goal and one assist. Was named to the Wright State All-Tournament Team for his efforts from the midfield to begin the 2006 season.

Lenser: A four-year participant on the SMC soccer team. Red-shirted his freshman season and has not tallied any stats.

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.