Men's Soccer Opens 2001 Season on the Road

Aug. 28, 2001

Seattle - UConn Soccer Classic
Morrone Stadium, Storrs, Conn.

Friday, Aug. 31 - Washington vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 5 p.m. PST
Saturday, Sept. 1 - Washington vs. Connecticut, 7:30 p.m. PST

This Week: The Washington men's soccer team opens its 2001 season on the road, at the UConn Soccer Classic in Storrs, Conn., Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The Huskies open the tournament against Fairleigh Dickinson Friday at 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. PST) and follow that with a second game against defending national champion and preseason No. 1 pick Connecticut. Fairleigh Dickinson had a mark of 13-8-1 last year while Connecticut was 20-3-2 en route to claiming the national championship.

Looking Ahead: Washington gets no reprieve after facing the defending champions on their home field this weekend. The Huskies' second weekend has the Huskies in the adidas Invitational in Portland, where they will face Indiana (Sept. 8), the team that knocked Washington out of the NCAA tournament last year. The Hoosiers, who went on to the final four, also knocked the Huskies out two years ago, en route the NCAA title. Washington's second game of the tournament is against William and Mary, a team that posted a record of 12-9-2 last year.

Defending Champs Picked to Win: Washington, winner of the inaugural conference championship last year, has been picked to defend its title in 2001 in the Pac-10 preseason coaches poll.

The Huskies, who finished last season with a record of 14-6-0 and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the sixth year in a row, garnered 22 points, narrowly edging second-place UCLA (21 pts.). The Huskies and Bruins received two first-place votes each, while Stanford yielded the other. Oregon State finished fourth in the poll and California was fifth.

Washington won the 2000 Pac-10 title with a 7-1-0 league mark last season. Stanford finished second at 6-2-0, while UCLA compiled a 3-5-0 league record to finish third. The Huskies, Bruins and Cardinal all advanced to theNCAA Tournament. Stanford and Washington reached the second round, with the Cardinal advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Here are the results of the preseason coaches' poll (points 5-4-3-2-1), first place votes in parentheses:
1. Washington (2) 22
2. UCLA (2) 21
3. Stanford (1) 17
4. Oregon State 8
5. California 7

Around the Nation: Washington also received notice in the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association) Division I preseason poll, checking in at No. 12. Defending national champion Connecticut, whom the Huskies meet Sept. 1 in Storrs, Conn., holds the top spot. Creighton, Southern Methodist, Indiana and North Carolina round out the top five. Washington meets Indiana, the final four team that knocked the Huskies out of the NCAA tournament last year, in its third game of the season, at the adidas Invitational in Portland, Sept. 8.

Preseason Accolades: Senior co-captain Bryn Ritchie (Medford, Ore.) has been selected as a preseason first team all-American by Collegesoccer.com.

Ritchie, a defender, started every game for the Huskies in 2000. He finished his junior season with 17 points, on six goals and two assists. He scored the game-winning goal in a four-overtime victory against Alabama-Birmingham that put the Huskies in the second round of the tournament. He was named to the NCAA second team all-America squad following the season, as well as being selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team and All-Pac-10 Academic First Team.

Husky Soccer in England: Washington broke new ground this summer as they took a preseason overseas trip to England for the first time. The Huskies enjoyed a 12-day, five-game tour that had the team facing reserves squads from some of the world's best known soccer franchises. They posted a record of 1-1-3 on the trip. Here is a scoring summary of the Huskies' tour through England:

England Tour Schedule and Results (1-1-3)
Aug. 16 - UW 1, Everton Reserves
(Dayo Oyetuga goal, assisted by Seth Marsh)
Aug. 20 - UW 2, Manchester City Reserves
(Bobby McAlister goal, assisted by Jake Sagare, Kyle Fukuchi goal, assisted by Billy Sleeth)
Aug. 21 - UW 3, Blackburn Rovers Reserves
(CJ Klaas goal, penalty kick, Brett Wiesner goal, unassisted, Greg Foisie goal, assisted by Klaas)
Aug. 22 - UW 3, Crewe Alexandra 3
(Brett Wiesner goal, assisted by C.J. Klaas, Greg Foisie goal, assisted by Klaas, Klaas goal, assisted by Wiesner)
Aug. 23 - UW 2, West Ham 3
(Bobby McAlister goal, assisted by Jake Sagare, Zach Kingsley goal, unassisted)

Head Coach Dean Wurzberger: As he enters his 10th year at Washington, Dean Wurzberger is set to cap a decade of excellence which has seen him lead the Husky men's soccer program to unprecedented heights.

Last year, on the heels of capturing the inaugural Pac-10 Conference championship, Wurzberger's program moved into elite territory, as one of only nine schools in the nation to earn a sixth straight berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Since arriving at UW in 1992, Wurzberger has guided the Huskies to seven NCAA appearances in nine years. Washington won the first-ever Pac-10 league title in 2000, a third straight conference title after winning two consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships.

Wurzberger enters his 10th year at the helm of the Husky program with an impressive list of accomplishments. His 2000 squad tore through the initial year of Pac-10 play, posting an undefeated record on the road while recording upsets at perennial powers Stanford and UCLA.

Looking Back at 2000: Last year, Washington rebounded from an 0-2 start to win eight of its next nine games, including four shutouts. The Huskies posted a ninth consecutive winning season and third consecutive conference championship. The Huskies won the inaugural Pacific-10 title in 2000, with a mark of 7-1-0 and an unblemished record on the road. The Huskies were rewarded with a home game in the NCAA first round where they took Alabama-Birmingham to four overtimes before winning the game. The Huskies met an old nemesis, Indiana, in the second round and were knocked out by the eventual Final Four participant. The team, which featured four seniors, finished with a record of 14-6-0 and saw junior defender Bryn Ritchie earn second team all-America honors and nine Huskies earn Pac-10 honors.

A Glance at the 2001 Huskies: Tenth-year coach Dean Wurzberger has set the table for a championship run by the 2001 Huskies. A seven-player senior class, deep in experience, together with a veteran squad and what Wurzberger calls, 'perhaps the greatest recruiting class in the 34-year history of Husky soccer,' and the pieces are in place.

Senior co-captains Bryn Ritchie and Ben Somoza highlight the large senior class that has been to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years. Add Jake Sagare, the team leader in shots with 47 last year, offensive threats Zach Kingsley, Trevor Frobose and Greg Foisie and defender Billy Sleeth and the senior class is stacked. The group has 215 career starts among it.Wurzberger hopes the proliferation of experience will answer one of the team's biggest challenges, that of finding a consistent goal scorer among the forwards. Leader Kai Carroll, who tallied eight goals a year ago, has graduated and trailing him were Ritchie and Somoza, with six apiece. Opportunity could come in the form of an emerging sophomore class and talented newcomers. The sophomores, many of whom played together on the Solaris Club squad, did not see a great deal of playing time as freshmen, but emerged during the spring season. The group includes midfielder Russ Cahill, defender Seth Marsh, forward Bobby McAlister, Jimmy Stark and in goal, Dan Waltman.

The freshman class is an exciting one, featuring a pair of two-time Parade Magazine all-Americans, who spent the summer as starters on the U-18 National Team, forward Brett Weisner (Brookfield, Wisc.) and midfielder C.J. Klaas (Cherry Valley, Ill.). Both are veteran national team players and competed for Wurzberger and Husky assistant coach Jimmy Gabriel on the U-16 team in 1998 and '99. On a Washington roster stocked with regional talent, their arrival marks the first time a pair of players from the Midwest has joined the team.

As is tradition, the Huskies boast one of the most difficult schedules in the nation. In its second game of the year, Washington faces defending national champion Connecticut on its home field. Immediately following is a meeting with final four participant Indiana, the Huskies' nemesis, at the adidas Invitational in Portland. The pressure never lets up as the Huskies defend their Pac-10 title in a league that featured three teams consistently ranked in the top 10 last year.

New Faces: Former professional soccer player Seth Spidahl begins his first year on the Husky soccer staff. A native of Anchorage, Ak., Spidahl spent three years playing professional soccer for the Seattle SeaDogs, during which his team won the 1997 Continental Indoor Soccer League Championship. He was a four-year letterwinner as a defender at Pacific Lutheran University and as a sophomore helped guide the Lutes to the NAIA playoffs and a 14-6-2 record. Spidahl, 27, has been active in Seattle-area soccer at every level and most recently as the coaching director for F.C.United, a boys premier club team in Tacoma. He spent six years coaching within the F.C. United club ranks before being named director two years ago. During his tenure as coach, Spidahl guided his under-18 team, a club that featured current Husky defender Zac Tallman, to the 1999 national championship. He was an assistant coach at the University of Puget Sound for the 1999 and 2000 seasons and guided the UPS team to a 12-5-3 record last year. Prior to that, he spent one season as an assistant and two as head men's soccer coach at Tacoma Community College. His TCC teams won two division championships and finished as runners-up in the 1998 state tournament. Spidahl graduated magna cum laude from PLU in 1996. A science major with a 3.85 grade point average, he was a two-time NAIA Academic all-American and was named PLU Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior.

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