Men's Soccer Opens Pac-10 Slate With Tilt At Washington

Oct. 10, 2001

CORVALLIS, Ore. - -

COMING UP: The Beavers kick off their eight-game Pac-10 schedule with a match at Washington (7-1-0) on Saturday, Oct. 13. OSU (3-5-0) heads to Seattle after a two-week layoff that gave the Beavs a chance to recoup after winning three of four games in a nine-day span at the OSU Diadora Classic.

OSU found its offensive touch over the course of the Diadora Classic, tallying 11 goals over the four games while wracking up wins over Sacramento State (3-2, 2OT), San Diego State (4-1) and Cal State-Northridge (3-2). The Beavs' only misstep was a 2-1 loss to Valparaiso.

OSU got some standout individual play over the two weekends, most notably that of goalkeeper Peter Billmeyer. Billmeyer saved 10 shots in a Sunday win over Cal State-Northridge after having been kicked in the face while charging a loose ball against Valparaiso two days earlier.

Despite having battled numerous injuries throughout the year, Billmeyer is tied for second in the Pac-10 with 39 saves on the year and has guided the defense while starting every game.

'Peter, being a team captain, has stepped up this year and has worked on his communication,' OSU's third-year head coach Dana Taylor said. 'He's a very strong player as well, and has dealt with a lot of pain this year. He's been hurt this season, and has also been working on injuries he carried in from this summer.

'He's a gamer. He steps up and contributes every time out, and we really need that.'

At the heart of the OSU gameplan is a solid defensive effort every time out, and at the heart of the defensive backfield is team co-captain Christian vanBlommestein, who has battled nagging injuries of his own while starting six games this year.

'He's a leader in the back for us,' Taylor said of the sophomore. 'He worked very hard over the summer and has battled injuries throughout the year.'

Defense has been a mainstay at Oregon State, but it's tough to win without offense.

Attacking midfielder Aaron McHardy has led a revitalized scoring attack that has the Beavers averaging 2.75 goals over their last four games.

McHardy, who is tied for second in the Pac-10 in points and goals, has flourished this year thanks to good health and a much more potent surrounding front line than in years past, as Kevin Atkinson, Alex Close, Ignacio Cid, and A.J. Weber all have four points or more to their credit thus far.

'The last few years, he's been dinged up a bit and hasn't been able to produce like he can when he's at the top of his game,' Taylor said of McHardy. 'He felt good coming into the year and has been healthy.

'He's one of our team leaders. He's had the presence to finish the majority of his opportunities that have come his way this year - he's an attacking, crafty player who plays with confidence, and that has filtered through this team.'

The Beavers will need to capitalize on that growing confidence, as OSU's schedule includes some of the best teams in the nation. Already, it has pitted the Beavers against some of the country's best teams this year, having faced the likes of Creighton (then No. 2), Santa Clara and CS-Northridge. OSU also faces Washington, Stanford, UCLA and California in Pac-10 play.

Washington, ranked seventh in the NSCAA poll, will pose perhaps the toughest test to date for OSU. The Huskies hold a 14-0-1 advantage over the Beavers since the teams began playing in 1989.

Last year, the Beavers nearly pulled off the win before falling 1-0 in a closely contested match.

'As I've been telling the guys, this is the Pac-10 opener, and this sets the slate for the rest of the Pac-10 schedule,' Taylor said. 'We need to take this game very seriously. I think this game will come down to set pieces, and to who can capitalize on those opportunities.

'They have one player in particular - Bryn Ritchie, who we really need to watch out for. He's very dangerous on set pieces.'

For the Beavers to be successful, OSU will have to outwork the Huskies and capitalize when scoring opportunities arise.

'Washington is a hard-working, scrappy team with eight seniors. This will be a challenge for us, and we'll have to battle for 90 minutes.

'Last year's game was played, for the most part, in the middle third of the field. We weren't able to penetrate last year. We need to step up to the challenge offensively and defensively this time around.'

SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: Washington brings a heady resume to the game this week, having wracked up a 7-1-0 record thus far. UW's wins include Fairleigh Dickinson, Connecticut, William & Mary, Air Force and Santa Clara.

The Huskies outshoot their opponents by an average of 17.5-9.6 and average 1.9 goals per game. UW has outshot opponents 140-77 on the year.

Statistically, the Huskies are led by Zach Kingsley, whose four goals tie him for fourth in the Pac-10. Benjamin Somoza has three assists to go along with two goals for a total of seven points.

In goal, Chad Olsen has 555 minutes to his credit, with Dan Waltman getting the other 180. Olsen sports a 5-1-0 mark with a 0.65 GAA.

LAST YEAR VS. THE HUSKIES: The Beavers dropped two matches to UW, the first coming in the inaugural Pac-10 men's soccer game in Seattle, as Daniel Oyetuga netted a shot in the 60th minute for the win.

The teams didn't meet again until Nov. 5, when Washington dropped three goals on the Beavs for the shutout on Lorenz Field.

LAST ACTION: OSU dropped a 2-1 decision to Valparaiso on Sept. 28, but followed that with a 3-2 win over CS-Northridge on Sept. 30 on goals by Ignacio Cid, Aaron McHardy and Kevin Atkinson. Peter Billmeyer saved 10 shots on the day.

TAKE COVER: The Beavers set a new school record in their 4-1 trouncing of San Diego State on Sept. 23 when they launched 39 shots. The old record was 33, set in a 3-0 home win over Gonzaga on Oct. 13, 1990.

The record is representative of the Beavers' revitalized attack, as OSU has capped off 125 shots so far. Last year after eight games, OSU had lauched 104 on its way to a school record 248 by season's end.

ON THE LOOKOUT: As the 2001 season progresses, several Beavers have a chance to set records or move up on OSU's various all-time lists.

Peter Billmeyer's 39 saves this year on top 57 last season give him a total of 96 for his young career. The sophomore from Omaha, Neb., is now tied with Colin McMillan for third place on the all-time saves list after 20 career games (4.8 saves per game). The next total to overtake is Olin Glenne's 120, and after that is Bryan Hill's school standard of 253.

Billmeyer's 57 saves in 2000 left him three shy of a tie for third place on the season saves list - a spot occupied by Bryan Hill, who totaled 60 saves in 1998.

With five shutouts this year, Billmeyer would join James Brazeau and Olin Glenn in third on the season shutouts list. The record is seven, set by James Bain in 1990. The career saves record is 12, Billmeyer has two.

Ben Roth, one of two OSU seniors, needs to play in 14 games this year to set the school record for games played. Roth has played in all eight matches this year.

Currently, Roth has 62 games to his credit, 55 of which have been starts. The record of 67 is held by Fredrik Kummernes, who donned the Orange and Black from 1995-98. Roth is a regular in OSU's backfield and has played every position except goalie in his career.

Ryan Smith, a junior midfielder, had a streak of 34 consecutive starts snapped when he came off the bench in OSU's Sept. 9 match at San Francisco. Prior to that, the team co-captain had started every game he had played as a Beaver. He has now started 40 of 41 games.

Even more impressive is the fact that these streaks and potential records are being accomplished in the Pacific-10 Conference, which has the reputation as the toughest soccer conference in the nation.

RETURNING HONOREES: Five Beavers who earned All-Pac-10 recognition after the 2000 campaign return this season. In all, eight Beavers earned all-conference recognition last year, the highest total in school history.

Graduated senior Matt Olsen and Josh Elbaum earned second-team all-conference and Jesse Servin claimed honorable mention, while Peter Billmeyer (goal), Stephen Hensor (midfield), Justin Kirk (midfield), Ryan Smith (midfield), and Christian vanBlommestein (defense) all earned honorable mention. The latter five return this season.

ROUGH RIDE: OSU faces another top-notch slate of opponents in 2001. The Beavers took on then-No. 2 Creighton (NSCAA poll) in their second game of the season and have two conference matches against No. 7 Washington, and No. 2 Stanford.

OSU ALL-TIME RECORD: The Beavers now have an all-time record of 112-117-14 in overall play since the program's inception in 1988 under coach Jimmy Conway.

In league games, OSU is 30-42-6. Oregon State competed in the Northwest Collegiate Soccer Conference for three years beginning in 1988, and in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation through the 1999 season. The Beavers began competition in the Pacific-10 Conference in 2000.

OREGON STATE HEAD COACH DANA TAYLOR: Dana Taylor guided the Beavers to a 7-11-1 record overall and 1-6-1 in Pac-10 play in his second year at the helm of the OSU program as the Pac-10 began men's soccer play last year. Among the wins were triumphs over in-state rival Portland on Sept. 19, which was ranked No. 10 at the time (NSCAA poll), and Pac-10 rival UCLA (then No. 17) on Oct. 22. The Beavers went 5-12-0 in Taylor's first year.

Prior to coming to OSU, Taylor spent four seasons at perennial powerhouse Creighton, where he worked mostly with the goalkeepers. Taylor helped the Bluejays to a 63-17-6 record during his tenure, while the Bluejays captured two Missouri Valley Conference titles.

OSU ON TV: Oregon State's 1 p.m. home match on Nov. 2 against Washington will be replayed by FoxSports on a date to be determined.

LORENZ FIELD AT VALLEY STADIUM: Oregon State's soccer facility, Paul Lorenz Field at Patrick Wayne Valley Stadium, provides soccer enthusiasts with one of the top places on the West Coast to both play and watch the sport.

The facility was touted by head coach Dana Taylor, who has seen many of the nation's best soccer facilities, as '... one of the best soccer-specific stadiums in the western United States. It's a state-of-the-art facility with good sightlines and it's easy for us to accomodate radio or television broadcasts.'

The main seating section holds approximately 1,000 fans and rises above the midfield line on the west sideline, total capacity is 1,500. A press box for media, statistics and film crews is located behind the main seating section.

OSU is 20-22-3 at Lorenz Field at Valley Stadium, which opened for the 1996 season. The stadium is located a block southeast of Reser Stadium, just south of the intersection of 17th Street and Western Boulevard.

The Beavers went 4-4-1 at home last season, including wins over nationally ranked Portland (then No. 10) and UCLA (then No. 17). OSU is 2-0 at home this year.

MEN'S SOCCER TICKETS: All tickets for Oregon State men'ssoccer games are sold on a general admission basis. They arepriced at $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens age 62 and over and students high school age and under. OSU students are admitted free with OSU student identification card.

Local Bi-Mart stores have coupons good for two admissions for the price of one for OSU men's soccer games.

Men's soccer is also part of the OSU Six-Sport Pass, which is good for general admission seating at all home contests in men's and women's soccer, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics and baseball.

Members of the Junior Benny Beaver Club are also admitted free to all women's soccer games with their club membership card. AYSO youth soccer players are admitted free to all men's home soccer games when wearing their team jersey.

OSU SPORTS INFORMATION: More information on Oregon State men's soccer, interview requests, photographs and game credentials can be obtained by calling Travis Lahman in the Oregon State University Sports Information Office at (541) 737-3720. For interviews, please call at least 24 hours in advance. For game credentials, please call early because press box space is limited.

PLAYER NOTES:

KEVIN ATKINSON: Scored his first career goal in 4-1 win over San Diego State... also tallied an assist vs. SDSU... scored goal against CSUN in 3-2 win... five points, tied for sixth in Pac-10 with 21shots.

CHAD BARTLOME: The freshman has eight shots in six games... first career goal came against Valparaiso... has come off the bench and provided strong play up front while working his way into the rotation.

PETER BILLMEYER: The sophomore goalkeeper and team captain has saved 39 shots (t2nd in Pac-10) in OSU's eight games and has a 1.72 goals-against average... 10 saves in 3-2 win over CS-Northridge while playing with a broken nose... 3-5-0 record.

JOSH BOYS: The sophomore defender earned a spot on the all-tournament team for his play in the Creighton Diadora Classic and has started seven games.

IGNACIO CID: The freshman midfielder leads the team in shots with 23, which ranks third in the Pac-10... and has two assists... assists came at Creighton and in 3-2 win over Sacramento State... scored first career goal in 3-2 win over CSUN.

ALEX CLOSE: The junior forward has played in every game... has one goal and three assists... scored goal in 4-1 win over San Diego State... assists came against Sacramento State, Valparaiso, and CSUN... three assits rank him third in the Pac-10... five points.

NICK DONALDSON: The sophomore transfer midfielder has played in every game and has one assist and four shots... assist came against San Diego State.

ROSS DUNCAN: Scored against Sac St... two points, seven shots... played in every game.

STEPHEN HENSOR: Scored one goal against Santa Clara... two points, three shots in three games.

NICK JENSEN: The senior midfielder has one shot in eight games played.

BRIAN JOHNSON: The freshman has worked his way into the starting lineup and has now started six games.

JUSTIN KIRK: The junior midfielder has two shots in four games played while battling an injury.

AARON MCHARDY: Leads the team in scoring with 11 points on five goals and one assist... named to the Creighton Diadora Classic All-Tournament Team... two goals came against No. 2 Creighton in a 4-2 loss on Sept. 2... scored on a penalty kick to win game in 2OT against Sacramento State... also had an assist vs. Sac. St.... scored again in win over San Diego State... scored against CSUN... five goals rank him second in Pac-10... 11 points are second as well... 22 shots are fifth in Pac-10.

KURT NESS: Started seven games as a back... one assist came in win over San Diego State... five shots.

BEN ROTH: Roth has played in 62 career games, starting 55... 55 starts is tops on the squad, as is 62 games.

RYAN SMITH: The junior midfielder and team captain had his streak of 34 consecutive starts ended when he came off the bench in OSU's 1-0 loss at San Francisco... has now started 40 of 41 games he has played... seven shots.

CHRISTIAN vanBLOMMESTEIN: The sophomore defender has battled injuries and started six games.

A.J. WEBER: The freshman has four points on two goals... goals came against Sacramento State and San Diego State.

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