Nov. 14, 2007
BULLDOGS FACE MUST-WIN FRIDAY: The NCAA Tournament won't announce its pairings until Monday, but for Gonzaga University's men's soccer team the "playoffs" begin Friday at Martin Field. After dropping a pair of 1-0 decisions on the road last weekend at Loyola Marymount University and the University of San Diego, the Bulldogs find themselves in a "must-win match Friday when third-ranked Santa Clara University visits for a 1 p.m. contest. The Bulldogs (9-5-4; 4-3-4) seemed well on their way to the tourney prior to last weekend's pair of setbacks, and now must beat the West Coast Conference regular-season champion Broncos (13-1-4; 8-0-2), who wrapped up the title and automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament last weekend.
BULLDOGS CAN TIE FOR THIRD: The best Gonzaga University can finish in the West Coast Conference this season is third - and the Bulldogs need plenty of help to accomplish that feat. First, Gonzaga must take care of business Friday at home against third-ranked Santa Clara University. Then, the Bulldogs must hope the University of San Diego loses its final two matches at Saint Mary's College and the University of San Francisco. USD (9-8-1; 6-3-1) has 19 points while Gonzaga has 16. A Gonzaga win and two USD losses give Gonzaga the tie. USD can still finish second if the University of Portland loses or ties with SCU. If Portland loses, USD needs a win and a tie this weekend to overtake the Pilots for second. If Portland wins, USD needs two wins to claim the second spot.
OUT OF POLLS: Gonzaga University isn't ranked in any of the four major polls this week, although the Bulldogs are the first team listed in the "also receiving votes" category of the College Soccer News Top 30. The Bulldogs are still in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Far West Region poll, dropping five spots to ninth.
SELECTION MONDAY: The pairings for the 49th annual NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship will be announced Monday at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time on ESPNews. If Gonzaga defeats Santa Clara University Friday the Bulldogs will have wins against No. 1 (UC Santa Barbara), No. 3 (SCU) and No. 15 (Washington), plus the Bulldogs tied SCU in the first meeting.
SENIOR FAREWELL: Gonzaga University will bid farewell to 10 seniors in pre-match introductions Friday. In uniform at Martin Field for the final time will be MF Scott Campbell, GK Vito Higgins, F George Josten, MF/D Grant Lundberg, F Luke Miller, MF/D John Palladino, MF John Reha, D Daniel Scott, GK Dade Smith and D Austin Washington. Miller and Campbell have been injured all season, and Scott will be unable to play because of a red card suffered in the Bulldogs match last Sunday.
JOSTEN REPEATS: Gonzaga University senior forward George Josten has been named to the ESPN The Magazine/College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) District VIII All-Academic men's soccer team for a third straight year. Josten carries a 3.83 GPA in civil engineering. Josten, who will now go on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors, was a first-team Academic All-America selection last season after being a third-team pick as a sophomore. Josten has moved ahead of current Gonzaga assistant coach Mike Thompson and into sole possession of third place with his 17th career assist. He is tied for fourth with Brian Ching on the single-season list with his seventh helper this season. His 34 career goals also tie him for third with Ching.
A DROUGHT: Gonzaga University hasn't scored in three straight matches, going 0-2-1 in that stretch. It's the first time this season the Bulldogs have suffered back-to-back shutouts, let alone three in a row. The last time the Bulldogs went through such a period of offensive futility was the final three matches of 2004.
GOOSE EGG LOSSES: All five Gonzaga University losses this season have been 1-0 verdicts. The Bulldogs have surrendered two goals just once this season, a 2-2 home tie with the University of Portland.
BULLDOGS VS. BRONCOS: Gonzaga University tied third-ranked Santa Clara University 1-1 in the first meeting this season at Buck Shaw Stadium on the Broncos campus. Since dropping four straight matches to Santa Clara University from 2003-05, Gonzaga University has a four-match unbeaten streak against the Broncos in the series SCU still leads 9-6-3. Last year the teams battled to a scoreless double-overtime tie at Martin Field on the GU campus and the Bulldogs captured a 2-1 overtime victory in the re-match at Buck Shaw Stadium on George Josten's goal 12 seconds into the OT. Gonzaga also won the final meeting of the 2005 season 2-1 at home.
CHING SIDELINED: Brian Ching, who played for Gonzaga University from 1996-00, and his Houston Dynamo have qualified for the MLS championship again. But Ching will probably be sidelined with a calf injury suffered in the West Conference Championship match last weekend. He had a pair of goals in a 4-1 win over FC Dallas in the conference semifinals. Last year Ching had a spectacular bike kick against DC United in the finals, scored the overtime equalizer and converted a penalty kick in the shootout as Houston won the 2006 MLS Cup.
THE THORARINSSON TALE OF THE TAPE: Gonzaga University head coach Einar Thorarinsson is 110-100-20 in his 13th season with the Bulldogs. His overall record is 229-152-33 that includes nine seasons across town at Whitworth College. He picked up his 100th Gonzaga win last season with a 3-0 home win at Saint Mary's College. After going 3-10-2 in his first season of 1995, the Bulldogs have had winning seasons in six of the last 10 seasons under Thorarinsson. His teams led the West Coast Conference in wins with a 14-4-0 record in 1997 and 12-4-2 mark in 1998, capturing WCC co-championships in each of those seasons. The Bulldogs were 9-5-2 in 2001, making their inaugural College Cup appearance. In 2005 Gonzaga went to the final match of the season with a chance to win the WCC title. He was accorded his third WCC Coach of the Year honor in 2005 to go with similar honors won in 1996-97 as he was the first coach in Gonzaga history to receive back-to-back WCC Coach of the Year accolades. He is the fourth winningest coach overall in WCC contests with 46 wins and is second among active coaches, Seamus McFadden of the University of San Diego atop both lists with 71 wins.