Men's Soccer Defends adidas Invite Title in Portland

Sept. 6, 2001

Seattle, Wash. -
Portland adidas Invitational - Merlo Field, Portland, Ore.
Sat., Sept. 8 Washington vs. Indiana, 12 noon
Sun., Sept. 9 Washington vs. William & Mary, 12 noon

This Week: The No. 2 Washington men's soccer team (2-0-0) barely has a chance to catch its breath after returning from a cross country two-win opening weekend. Fresh off its upset of top-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut, the Huskies meet an old nemesis when they face No. 8 Indiana (1-1-0) in the first round of the Portland adidas Invitational, Sept. 8, followed by a game against No. 16 William & Mary (2-0), Sept. 9.
The Huskies, who are defending champions in the tournament, kick-off at 12 noon each day at University of Portland's Merlo Field.

About the Tournament: In the 11-year history of the adidas Invitational, only host Portland and Washington have won the tournament title. The Huskies took home the trophy last year and in 1998, '96, '92 and '90. Last year, Washington defeated San Diego State and Akron, both 3-0, to claim the title and Bryn Ritchie was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

Scouting Report: Washington has quite a history with Indiana, its opponent in the first round of the tournament this weekend. The Hoosiers have eliminated the Huskies from the NCAA Tournament in the second round the last two years. In 1999 Indiana handed Washington a 2-0 setback en route to winning the national championship. Last year, at Husky Soccer Field, IU took a 2-1 victory on its way to the final four of the College Cup.

Indiana, a storied program that has won five NCAA championships, has won all three meetings with the Huskies, having also ended the UW's season in 1992, Dean Wurzberger's first year at Washington.

'Indiana is obviously a motivating force for us,' said UW coach Dean Wurzberger, 'since they've ended our season for us the last two years. We know they are a quality opponent.'

Washington's second game of the tournament is against William and Mary, a team that posted a record of 12-9-2 last year. The Tribe are 2-0 on the season after opening the year with a 5-0 victory over College of Charleston and a 6-1 decision over Marist. Washington has faced WM once before, 1993, and the Tribe won, 1-0.

Ritchie Named Pac-10 Player of the Week: Following Washington's opening weekend of play, senior defender Bryn Ritchie was named the Pac-10 Men's Soccer Player of the Week.

Ritchie, from Medford, Ore., led UW to the UConn Soccer Classic title over the weekend, as the Huskies posted a 1-0 victory over defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Connecticut in the championship contest. Ritchie's defensive presence helped UW blank the top-ranked team in the nation on Sept. 1, limiting UConn to just 11 shots. In the opening round of the tournament on Aug. 31, Washington defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 3-2 in overtime. Ritchie registered one shot in the win, and contributed to another stellar defensive effort, as the Huskies allowed just nine shots. Ritchie, along with three other Huskies, was named to the UConn Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team. It was the second weekly honor for Ritchie and Washington's third Player of the Week honor all-time.

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

According to coach Wurzberger: 'You put plans into place, hoping for certain results, and it was a real pleasure to see it happen. It wasn't an accident. We gained a lot as a team in our preseason tour in England. My biggest concern was all the travel and how the wear and tear would impact the team, but it didn't.

We showed we are a team to be reckoned with. It's early though. We've got so much still to work on. We want to be more fluid with our goal scoring. But having said that, we scored four goals in two games. We gave away two, which is more than we'd like, but it's a good early start. We know we are far from what we are capable of accomplishing when we put our offensive and defensive game together.

We were hoping to have freshmen on the team who would make an impact this year and we've already seen it (Wiesner, Klaas). They've blended in so quickly, which is a credit to the level they were playing at coming in. They are not in awe, big games are nothing new to them, they never missed a step in coming in and playing like veterans. They've made our team better. They've both had a positive impact. No question, I don't think we win those two games without C.J. and Brett. They're that good. And they have such a great supporting cast. It's a nice blend of young and old.

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.

Fabulous Frosh: While a seven-player senior class leads the Huskies in their 2001 campaign, a talent-rich freshman class is making an immediate impact. Leading the way is Brett Wiesner (Brookfield, Wisc.), who scored the lone goal in Washington's upset of top-ranked Connecticut last weekend. He was in the starting lineup in the season opener versus Fairleigh Dickinson and is expected to be a fixture on the front line. Joining him in the starting 11 is C.J. Klaas of Cherry Valley, Ill., He also wasted little time in his collegiate debut, assisting on Washington's first goal of the season, against FDU. Both Klaas and Wiesner were Parade first team all-America honorees last year.

Joe Birklid, a local product out of Buckley, Wash., also saw playing time against FDU. The freshman class is made up of five players and also includes Johnny Schefter, from the perennial power Solaris Club in Yakima, as well as Casey Armstrong, who played for current Husky assistant Seth Spidahl on FC United.

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 1
(Dayo Oyetuga goal, assisted by Seth Marsh)
Aug. 20 - UW 2, Manchester City Reserves 2
(Bobby McAlister goal, assisted by Jake Sagare, Kyle Fukuchi goal, assisted by Billy Sleeth)
Aug. 21 - UW 3, Blackburn Rovers Reserves 1
(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 MPSF 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.

2001 Preview: Tenth-year coach Dean Wurzberger has set the table for a championship run in 2001. 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. Ritchie and Somoza returns as the leading scorers with six goals apiece last year. Opportunity could come in the form of an emerging sophomore class and talented newcomers. The sophomore group, which began to emerge in the spring, 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 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.

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.

Back-to-Back-to-Back: A victory at California, along with a UCLA win over Stanford back on Nov. 10 gave Washington the first-ever Pacific-10 Conference men's soccer championship following the 2000 season. While it is the first Pac-10 title for UW, it marks the third consecutive conference championship for the Huskies, who were coming off back-to-back Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles in 1998 and '99.

Huskies in the Polls

Date	Soccer America	NSCAA	Soccer Times	MediaPreseason	11	12	14Sept. 3	2	2	3	--

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.

Postseason Tournament Field Expands: The NCAA Executive Committee announced recently it has approved the expansion of the fields for the Division I men's and women's soccer championships, effective with the 2001 tournaments.

The men's bracket increased from 32 to 48 teams, while the women's bracket expanded from 48 to 64 teams. It is the first expansion for the men's tournament since the bracket was increased from 28 to 32 teams following the 1992 championship. The women's bracket was increased from 32 to 48 teams in 1998.

In the men's championship, 20 conferences will receive automatic bids with the remaining 28 being awarded to at-large teams. There will be no play-in games for qualification. The Pacific-10 Conference champion does not receive an automatic berth to the tournament because only five schools in the league sponsor the sport (UW, OSU, UCLA, Stanford, California).

Sixteen campus sites will host the first and second rounds of the men's tournament. Three teams will be selected to the 16 sites with the first round being played November 23. In the second round, the winning team of the first round will play the team with the first-round bye on November 25. The third round will be played the weekend of December 1-2, and the quarterfinals will be played December 8-9. The 2001 NCAA Men's College Cup will be played December 14 and 16 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

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