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WCC Men's Soccer Weekly Notes - 11/26

Nov. 26, 2007

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Santa Clara Hosts UCLA In NCAA Tournament Second Round

Santa Clara will meet a familiar foe when it hosts UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM. The Broncos earned a bye into the second round of the competition as the No. 7 seed in the tournament, while the Bruins edged New Mexico, 1-0, in first round action to advance to Wednesday's match. The Broncos are making the program's 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and will be competing in second round action for the fourth time in the last five years.

Led by WCC Coach of the Year Cameron Rast, Santa Clara posted a 15-1-4 record and a 10-0-2 mark in league play to capture the program's 10th WCC men's soccer regular season title. Midfielder Peter Lowry was tabbed for WCC Player of the year honors after netting a league-high eight goals on the year, and was joined on the All-WCC first team by freshman Jalil Anibaba and senior Jamil Roberts. Anibaba was tabbed for WCC Freshman of the Year honors, while Roberts was named WCC Defender of the Year after anchoring a stellar defense that surrendered just 13 goals, and allowed more than one goal just twice during the season. Freshman goalkeeper Kevin Klasila took over the starting job in the SCU net, and led the WCC with a 0.47 goals against average en route to WCC All-Freshman Team recognition.

The Bruins have put together a 9-8-3 overall record, including Saturday's 1-0 win over the Lobos. Junior Maxwell Griffin has scored a team-high nine goals on the year, while sophomore Brian Perk has started all 20 games and has played nearly every minute in the Bruin net. UCLA returned 22 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's team that fell to UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA College Cup final.

The two programs have met 27 times since 1974, including this season's 2-1 overtime victory for Santa Clara at Buck Shaw Stadium on September 22. UCLA holds a 15-8-4 advantage in the all-time series with the Broncos, and has won five of the last seven meetings between the two West Coast powerhouses. The two programs have also met four times in the postseason, with Santa Clara holding a 3-1-0 advantage against the Bruins in NCAA Tournament play. Their last postseason meeting came in 1997, with UCLA posting a 3-0 win at home.

NCAA Tournament Second Round
UCLA at No. 7 Santa Clara
Buck Shaw Stadium
Wednesday, November 28 - 7:00 PM

Around The WCC

WCC Tradition In The NCAA Tournament
For the seventh straight season and the 19th time in conference history, multiple WCC teams have earned bids to the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara will be playing in its fifth straight NCAA Tournament and the 18th in program history, while Portland will be making its 13th appearance, and Gonzaga earned postseason selection for the second time. WCC teams have made 78 NCAA Tournament appearances since the NCAA competition began, and have claimed five national championships. USF leads all conference teams with four national championships, while SCU earned a share of the Division I crown in 1989 after battling Virginia to a draw in the title game. Santa Clara is the last WCC team to have appeared in a College Cup, advancing to college soccer's "Final Four" in 2003.

WCC Alums Help Houston Dynamo To Second Straight MLS Cup
WCC alums helped the Houston Dynamo to its second straight MLS Cup title with a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution. Former SCU defender Ryan Cochrane started 25 games this year, including the MLS Cup final, while Portland alum Nate Jaqua scored six goals for the Dynamo this season. Former Gonzaga standout Brian Ching, who tied for the team lead with seven goals, did not play in the final due to injury. Portland alum Kelly Gray appeared in nine games for the Dynamo this year before being traded to the Galaxy, while former SCU standout Erik Ustruck spent the year on Houston's developmental squad.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (9-7-4 / 4-4-4 WCC)
- Gonzaga battled SMU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling 1-0 on a late penalty kick to close out the 2007 campaign.

- The Zags made the second postseason appearance in program history on Saturday, and their first since 2001.

- Vito Higgins was phenomenal in his last game in the Gonzaga net, collecting a career-high 14 saves against the Mustangs. Higgins finished his career in Spokane with a program-record 305 career saves.

- George Josten, who became Gonzaga's first ever three-time All-WCC first team selection, led the team with five goals and seven assists for 17 points on the season. The senior also garnered his third straight Academic All-American honor, and finished his career tied with current MLS standout Brian Ching for third place in the GU record book with 34 career goals.

Loyola Marymount Lions (3-16-1 / 1-11-0 WCC)
- Loyola Marymount finished out the regular season with setbacks at San Francisco and Saint Mary's. The Lions closed out the year with a 3-16-1 overall mark, and a 1-11-0 record in conference play.

- Rafael Baca led LMU in scoring as a freshman, tallying two goals and five assists for a total of nine points. Baca made 19 starts for the Lions en route to garnering All-WCC second team and All-Freshman team honors.

- Patrick Lane made 16 starts in between the pipes for the Lions this season, collecting 58 saves and recording three shutouts.

- All three of Loyola Marymount's victories this season came against nationally ranked opponents. The Lions recorded wins over then-No. 17 New Mexico, then-No. 6 Harvard, and then-No. 23 Gonzaga this year.

Portland Pilots (10-6-5 / 6-2-4 WCC)
- Portland traveled to Seattle and played Washington to a scoreless deadlock before surrendering a late penalty kick and falling to the Huskies, 1-0, in NCAA Tournament first round action.

- Portland earned its first postseason bid since the 2004 season after winning five of its last six regular season matches.

- Alex Elliott scored a team-high seven goals on the season and dished out 10 assists, which is tied for the seventh-highest single-season total in Pilot program history. Elliott earned All-WCC first team honors following the year.

- Austin Guerrero has enjoyed an outstanding freshman campaign in the Pilot net, leading the conference with 85 saves and eight shutouts. Guerrero was tabbed for first team All-WCC honors, and was named to the WCC All-Freshman team.

Saint Mary's Gaels (7-9-2 / 3-7-2 WCC)
- Saint Mary's closed out the year with a 2-1 victory over Loyola Marymount, finishing the regular season with a 7-9-2 overall record and a 3-7-2 mark in conference play.

- Eric Robert scored the game-winning goal in his last game as a Gael, tallying an unassisted strike with just five seconds remaining in regulation during the win over the Lions.

- Dylan Leslie headlined the Saint Mary's All-WCC honorees, garnering first team recognition. Leslie scored one goal and collected two assists during his sophomore season, with his lone goal providing the difference in a victory over San Francisco.

- The Gaels surrendered just 21 goals during the regular season, breaking the previous program-low of 25 set in 1981 and repeated in 1994 and 2004.

San Diego Toreros (11-8-1 / 8-3-1 WCC)
- San Diego finished the season on a hot streak, winning eight of its last 10 games to post an 11-8-1 overall record and a second place mark of 8-3-1 in conference play.

- JT Howlan and Colin Jennings finished the regular season tied for second place in the conference with three game-winning goals apiece. Howlan, who tallied the game-winner in the season finale at San Francisco, was San Diego's top goal scorer with seven strikes on the season.

- Tannen Wels garnered All-WCC first team honors after scoring four goals and adding two assists in his final season at San Diego.

- San Diego's second place finish in the WCC standings was its highest since 2003, and USD's eight wins in conference play marked a program-best.

San Francisco Dons (7-11-1 / 3-8-1 WCC)
- San Francisco closed out the 2007 season with a split at home, as the Dons shut out Loyola Marymount, 4-0, before suffering a 2-1 defeat against San Diego in the season finale.

- Conor Chinn assisted on three of San Francisco's four goals in the win over the Lions, bringing his team-high season assist total to five. The sophomore also led the Dons with five goals and 15 points on the season.

- Daniel DeGeer capped an outstanding season by earning All-WCC first team honors along with fellow USF senior Chris Rodd. DeGeer, who entered his senior season with zero career goals and four assists, finished the year ranked second on the team with 11 points (3g, 5a).

- Eric Conner collected 54 saves in the San Francisco goal during conference play to lead the WCC.

Santa Clara Broncos (15-1-4 / 10-0-2 WCC)
- Santa Clara garnered the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and received a first round bye. The Broncos will host UCLA in second round action on Wednesday at 7:00 PM.

- Peter Lowry, who finished the season with a conference-best eight goals on the season, became the second Bronco in three years to be named WCC Player of the Year, following former teammate Mehdi Ballouchy (2005).

- Kevin Klasila has surrendered just seven goals in 15 games in net, and leads the conference with a 0.47 goals against average. Klasila looks to become the fourth different Bronco keeper in the last five years to lead the WCC in GAA.

- The Broncos enter the postseason on a 17-game unbeaten run, having last suffered defeat over two months ago at Brown (September 7).

NCAA Tournament First Round Recaps

Washington 1, Portland 0 - November 23 - Seattle, WA
The Washington Huskies scored on a penalty kick in the 86th minute to defeat the Portland Pilots 1-0 in an NCAA first round game on a chilly Friday night at Husky Soccer Field. Ely Allen went low, inside the right post with the game-winner. UW (9-7-4) was awarded the penalty kick when the referees ruled that Portland (10-6-5) defender Brayton Knapp took down Washington's Matt Van Houten in the 18-yard box.

SMU 1, Gonzaga 0 - November 24 - Dallas, TX
Gonzaga goalkeeper Vito Higgins made a career-high 14 saves, but it was an SMU penalty kick at 75:57 that ended the Bulldogs' (9-7-4) season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at a cold and soggy Westcott Field on Saturday night. Higgins was brilliant in net, thwarting one SMU (13-4-2) rush after another. He nearly stopped Bruno Guarda's penalty kick, but the chest-high kick was to the right and just out of the reach of Higgins.