Nov. 8, 2006
NCAA Tournament Schedule
48th Annual Division I Men's Soccer Championship
New Mexico at San Francisco - 7:00 PM
Creighton at Washington- 7:00 PM
San Francisco/New Mexico at California- 2:30 PM
Creighton/Washington at Santa Clara - 7:00 PM
For the second straight year, Bay Area rivals San Francisco and Santa Clara will represent the West Coast Conference in the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament. The Broncos earned a No. 10 national seed and will have a first round bye before hosting a second round contest on November 15. The Dons, who earned the program's third straight postseason selection, will host New Mexico in first round action on Friday night.
Santa Clara posted a 12-4-4 record this year en route to its ninth WCC men's soccer regular season title, and will be making the program's fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The selection marks the 17th for a Bronco program that claimed a share of the 1989 national championship and has made five College Cup appearances. As one of the tournament's top-16 seeds, Santa Clara has a bye into the second round and will host the winner of the Creighton vs. Washington first round contest that is slated for this weekend in Seattle.
San Francisco will be making its third straight postseason appearance, and will be hosting a first round contest for the second time in the last three seasons. It marks the 30th postseason selection for the USF program, with the Dons having won NCAA Championships four times between 1966-1980. New Mexico, the MPSF champion and the runner-up to Maryland in last season's NCAA Tournament, will visit Negoesco Stadium on Friday in first round action with the winner advancing to take on No. 13 seed California in second round play on November 15.
Around The WCC
WCC Announces All-Conference Awards
The Santa Clara men's soccer team took home the 2006 WCC regular season title, and was rewarded in the all-conference yearly awards as Head Coach Cameron Rast was selected WCC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career, and newcomer Stephen McCarthy shared the league's Freshman of the Year honors with San Diego's Ciaran O'Brien. San Francisco's Rob Valentino was tabbed for WCC Player of the Year recognition, becoming the second Don in the last three seasons to take home the conference's top individual honor, while Portland's Luis Robles became the first Pilot to be named Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season, Valentino became the first USF player to earn WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors, and he is the third Don to be named WCC Player of the Year, following Staale Soebye (1993 & 1994) and current teammate Aaron Chandler (2004). Robles, an All-WCC first team selection in each of the last three seasons, is the first goalkeeper since 2001 to take home the WCC Defensive Player of the Year award. McCarthy is the first Bronco to receive the WCC's top freshman honor since Adam Eyre in 1996, while San Diego's O'Brien follows in the footsteps of older brother Leighton, who was named WCC Freshman of the Year in 1995. Rast was also named WCC Coach of the Year in his second year at the helm in 2003, and earned WCC Defensive Player of the Year accolades as a player in 1989 and 1991.
All seven WCC men's soccer teams were represented on the All-WCC first team, with Portland's Robles and Saint Mary's Matthew Fitzgerald earning a first team spot for the third time in their respective careers. Gonzaga's George Josten, San Diego's Kevin Meissner, and USF's Valentino were each named to the All-WCC first team for the second straight year.
USF's Chandler Becomes All-Time Goals Leader In WCC Play
San Francisco forward Aaron Chandler scored a pair of goals against San Diego on November 3 to become the WCC's all-time goals leader in conference games. The senior entered the season with 13 career goals against league opponents, and scored four times in conference play this year to edge former Gonzaga standout Jeff McAllister (16) for first place on the list. Chandler, the 2004 WCC Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-WCC selection this season, has collected 43 overall points against league competition to finish his career in second place in the conference record book. The Riverside, CA native participated in double round-robin WCC play for three seasons (2004-06).Around The WCC
Multiple Teams In The NCAA Tournament Yet Again
For the sixth straight season and the 18th time in conference history, multiple WCC teams earned bids to the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Bay Area powers Santa Clara and San Francisco will represent the conference for the second straight year, with the Broncos making the program's fourth straight postseason appearance after winning its ninth WCC title. The Dons will be making the program's third straight appearance, and 30th overall, after receiving an at-large bid. More than one conference team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in seven of the last eight seasons, with the league receiving an all-time high of five bids following the 2001 campaign. The conference received three or more bids to the postseason classic each year between 2001-2004.
WCC History And Tradition In The NCAA Tournament
The West Coast Conference has one of the richest men's soccer traditions in the nation, a history that includes 73 NCAA Tournament appearances among six different member institutions since the competition began in 1959. WCC teams have advanced to 17 College Cup events, and have claimed five national championships. San Francisco leads all conference teams with four national crowns, winning the title four times between 1966-1980. Santa Clara won the fifth championship among conference squads, earning a share of the Division I title in 1989 after battling Virginia to a 1-1 draw in the final. The Broncos also advanced to the national championship game in 1991 and 1999, while San Diego played for the national title in 1992. WCC teams have made eight College Cup appearances since 1988, with Santa Clara making the conference's last trip to the college soccer's "Final Four" in 2003.
WCC Player of the Week
George Josten, Gonzaga
George Josten earned WCC Player of the Week honors for the second time this season after leading the Zags to road wins over Saint Mary's and San Diego, and securing his second straight WCC scoring title in the process. The junior netted both Gonzaga goals in Friday's 2-0 win over the Gaels before tallying the game-winner in overtime as the Bulldogs upset then-No. 7 ranked Santa Clara on Sunday. The Idaho Falls, ID native finished the season with a league-high 12 goals for the second straight season, scoring six times against WCC opponents.
WCC Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs (9-8-2 / 6-5-1 WCC)
- Gonzaga closed out the season with road victories over Saint Mary's and then-No. 7 ranked Santa Clara to finish the season in third place in the WCC standings with a 6-5-1 mark. It marks the highest finish for a GU squad since 2001, when the Zags tied for second place in the WCC.
- George Josten scored three times in the season's final two games to earn his second-straight WCC scoring title with 12 goals on the year. The junior is the first player since San Diego's Ryan Coiner (2001-2002) to lead the conference in goals in back-to-back seasons, and the first Gonzaga player to do so since Jeff McAllister claimed two straight WCC scoring titles in 1996 and 1997.
- Head Coach Einar Thorarinsson notched his 100th career win with the victory over Saint Mary's. The win also gave Thorarinsson 39 career victories in WCC matches, moving him ahead of legendary USF coach Stephen Negoesco into fourth place on the conference's career list.
Loyola Marymount Lions (9-8-2 / 5-5-2 WCC)
- Loyola Marymount fell in overtime at San Francisco over the weekend to wrap up the 2006 season with a 9-8-2 overall mark, and a 5-5-2 record in conference play.
- Bobby Burling led the Lions in goals (4), assists (5), and points (13) during his senior campaign. Burling finished his collegiate career ranked sixth in the LMU record book with 15 career goals and tied for second with 18 career assists.
- Junior Ybarra finished his career at LMU tied for third on the conference's list with 13 career assists in WCC games. Ybarra assisted on 16 goals during his career, which ties him for fourth place on the Lions' career chart.
- Goalkeeper Robert Flores was among the conference leaders in saves (66-3rd) and goals against average (1.12-3rd) this season.
Portland Pilots (8-8-3 / 4-7-1 WCC)
- Portland fell to then-No. 7 ranked Santa Clara on the road before closing out the season with a 1-1 draw at Saint Mary's.
- Luis Robles made 12 saves on the season's final weekend to become Portland's all-time saves leader with 346. Robles also finished his career on The Bluff with 21 career shutouts to rank sixth on the WCC career list.
- Alex Elliott led the Pilots and finished second in the WCC with nine goals during the season, marking the highest scoring output by a Portland player since Alejandro Salazar found the back of the net 10 times during the 2003 campaign.
- Christopher Sanders finished the season tied with Elliott for first place on the squad with 18 points from seven goals and four assists. Two of Sanders' goals were game-winners, moving the junior into a tie for sixth place on the UP list with nine career game-winning goals.
Saint Mary's Gaels (4-10-6 / 2-7-3 WCC)
- Saint Mary's suffered a defeat against Gonzaga before rebounding to battle Portland to a 1-1 draw on the last weekend of the 2006 season. The Gaels wrapped up the season with a 4-10-6 overall record.
- Matthew Fitzgerald led the team with 11 points on four goals and three assists, and the senior moved into a tie for seventh place on the SMC career goals list with 12.
- Freshman Dylan Leslie tied for the team goals lead, finding the back of the net four times including a hat trick against San Diego on September 29. Leslie's three goals against USD marked a single-game individual high for the WCC.
- SMC registered impressive back-to-back wins in September, as SMC knocked off then-No. 11 ranked USF on September 22 before upsetting then-No. 10 ranked USD the next week.
San Diego Toreros (10-8-1 / 5-6-1 WCC)
- San Diego wrapped up the 2006 season with a 10-8-1 overall mark and a 5-6-1 record in conference play after falling to San Francisco and UCLA on the road to close out the season.
- Ryan Guy became the WCC's all-time leader in assists in conference play, as the senior assisted on four San Diego goals during the 2006 campaign to bring his career assist total to 15. He eclipsed the previous mark of 14 set by USD alums Toby Taitano (1990-93) and Guillermo Jara (1992-95).
- Ciaran O'Brien finished the season as the top scorer among WCC freshmen, netting six goals during his first year on Alcala Park.
- Goalkeeper Lance Friesz finished his collegiate career tied for sixth on the WCC career shutouts list with 21 clean sheets.
San Francisco Dons (12-6-1 / 7-5-0 WCC)
- San Francisco earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will be hosting a first round contest for the second time in three years as they welcome MPSF champion New Mexico to Negoesco Stadium on Friday.
- Aaron Chandler became the conference's all-time leading goal scorer in WCC games over the weekend, scoring a pair of goals against San Diego on Friday to bring his career total to 17, edging out former Gonzaga standout Jeff McAllister (16) for first place.
- Geremy Uhl finished the regular season ranked second in the WCC with a 0.82 goals against average, marking the third straight year that the senior goalkeeper has kept a GAA under 1.00.
- Ardalan Attar tallied the game-winning goal in Sunday's overtime win against LMU, marking the junior college transfer's second game-winner of the season.
Santa Clara Broncos (12-4-4 / 8-2-2 WCC)
- Santa Clara closed out the season with its ninth WCC crown and a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. SCU has a first round bye, and will face the winner of the Creighton-Washington match in second round play on November 15.
- Joseph Buttitta notched his WCC-leading eighth shutout of the season in Friday's 3-0 win over Portland. Buttitta is the second straight Bronco `keeper to lead the conference in shutouts, following Kevin Sweeney's nine clean sheets a year ago.
- Five freshmen combined to score 15 of Santa Clara's 32 goals during the regular season. Amaechi Igwe's five goals led the way, followed by four goals each from Sean Danzeiser and Jeff Cosgriff.
- Keith DeVey leads the team with six goals this season, and is currently tied for eighth on the SCU chart with 20 career scoring strikes.