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Men's Soccer REadies For NCAA Tournament

Nov. 21, 2007

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Men's Soccer Match Facts
Saturday, November 24 - NCAA First Round
SMU at Wescott Field, Dallas, TX - 5 p.m. PST

BULLDOGS IN SECOND NCAA APPEARANCE: Much to their surprise, Gonzaga University's men's soccer team finds itself headed to Dallas, Texas, for a NCAA Tournament date against SMU Saturday at 5 p.m. PST, the Bulldogs second NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bulldogs received the news Monday afternoon after seemingly seeing their season come to an end with a 1-0 double-overtime loss to third-ranked Santa Clara University, the winning goal coming 44 seconds before the end of the second overtime. "I thought we had a very slim chance," Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinsson said on making the NCAA Tournament. "I thought we needed the tie (against SCU) to make it."

WCC HONORS SEVEN: Gonzaga University senior forward George Josten became the inaugural three-time All-West Coast Conference men's soccer first-team selection in Bulldog history as the 2007 team was announced Wednesday. Josten was one of seven Bulldogs honored in the vote of league coaches. Senior keeper Vito Higgins, senior defenders Daniel Scott and Austin Washington were second-team picks; senior midfielder John Palladino and sophomore midfielder Tye Perdido were honorable mention picks, and forward/midfielder Philippe Garre was named to the All-Freshman team. Josten led the Bulldogs in goals (5), assists (7) and points (17). He was the lone first-team repeater from last year. Higgins, Scott and Washington anchored a Bulldog defense that is allowing 0.70 goals-per-match. The single-season school record is 0.68 set in 1998. The Bulldogs posted six shutouts this season, giving Higgins 14 for his career to move into second on the all-time Gonzaga charts. Washington repeats on the second team, while Higgins was an honorable mention selection in 2005. Palladino, a second-team pick last season, started all 18 of his appearances this season. Perdido tied for second on the team in goals (3) and points (7) while seeing most of his time in a reserve role. Two of his three goals were match winners. Garre played the most of the Bulldog newcomers, appearing in 15 of 19 matches with two goals and assist, including the match-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Northern Illinois University.

GOOSE EGG LOSSES: All six 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. Three of the six Gonzaga losses were in overtime - two of them going double overtime.

A DROUGHT: Gonzaga University hasn't scored in four straight matches, going 0-3-1 in that stretch. It's the first time this season the Bulldogs have suffered back-to-back shutouts, let alone four in a row. The last time the Bulldogs went through such a period of offensive futility was four matches midway through the 2004 season. Gonzaga has just one goal in November, a 1-0 win over the University of San Francisco at home Nov. 2.

THE MUSTANGS: SMU finished second in Conference USA and took the No. 2 seed into the conference tournament. But the Mustangs were upset 3-1 by Florida International University in the C-USA Tournament first round. SMU brings a 13-4-2 record into the NCAA Tournament after finishing 6-1-1 in C-USA. Tulsa University captured both the regular-season and tournament titles to earn the C-USA automatic berth.

MUSTANG STANDOUTS: SMU is led by junior midfielder All-America candidate Bruno Guarda, who was named Conference USA Player of the Year this season for the second time in as many years. Guarda led the conference in scoring this season with 21 points on seven goals and seven assists, and in game-winning goals with four. Guarda and two senior teammates - midfielder Ben Shuleva and defender Adrian Chevannes - were named first-team All-Conference USA this year. Senior keeper Steve Sandbo played in 17 of 19 matches, posting a 10-4-2 record and 1.03 GAA with five shutouts.

GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: Gametracker, a function of web site provider CSTV, will be available for all NCAA Tournament matches. To follow Gonzaga University along the NCAA trail via Gametracker log on to http://wwww.gozags.com and go the Gametracker link in the GONZAGA EVENTS section at the bottom of the lead page. There will be no radio or television coverage of Saturday's first-round match between the Bulldogs and SMU.

BATTLE OF THE JESUITS? A "Battle of the Jesuits" could be looming in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament. Saturday's Gonzaga University/SMU winner heads to Omaha, Neb., to face Creighton University in the second round Wednesday. Gonzaga and Creighton - both best known for their exploits on the basketball court in recent years - are both Jesuit institutions.

THE THORARINSSON TALE OF THE TAPE: Gonzaga University head coach Einar Thorarinsson is 110-101-20 in his 13th season with the Bulldogs. His overall record is 229-153-33 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 73 wins.

SMART PLAYERS: Both Gonzaga University and SMU will have an ESPN The Magazine All-America selection on the pitch in their NCAA Tournament first round matchup Saturday. The Bulldogs have George Josten, a two-time first-team selection and a three-time overall pick after being a third-team pick as a sophomore in 2005. He carries a 3.83 GPA in civil engineering. The Mustangs counter with midfielder Ben Shuleva, who was named third-team Academic All-America this season. He carries a 3.92 GPA in finance.

ASSISTS: Seniors George Josten and John Reha are two of Gonzaga University's top career assists leaders. Josten has 17 to rank third, moving ahead of current Bulldog assistant coach Mike Thompson earlier this year. Thompson had 16 in his career. Reha has 14 career helpers, ranking fifth. U.S. World Cup Team member Brian Ching is the all-time leader with 23.