Men's Soccer Hits Bay Area for Critical Pac-10 Games
Fri., Oct. 26: No. 4 Washington at California, 2 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 28: No. 4 Washington at No. 6 Stanford, 2:30 p.m.
The fourth-ranked Washington men's soccer team (10-1-0, 2-0-0), on an eight-game win streak, hits the Bay Area for its first Pac-10 Conference road games of the season. The Huskies play at California (6-5-1, 0-2-0) in an afternoon game, at 2 p.m., Fri., Oct. 26 at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. Following that, its a match between a pair of top 10 teams as the Huskies face No. 6 Stanford (11-1-0, 1-1-0) at 2:30 p.m., Sun., Oct. 28 at Maloney Field. Defending champion Washington is currently in the driver's seat for the Pac-10 race, with a 2-0 conference record after home victories over Oregon State (2-1) and UCLA (3-1). The Huskies hold the edge over Stanford in the most recent Soccer America poll, at No. 4 while the Cardinal stand at No. 6. Stanford checks in as the top team in the West region though, thereby standing at No. 4 in the NSCAA Coaches Poll while Washington is at No. 8.
A Glance at the Huskies
Washington is rolling right now, currently riding an eight-game win streak and holding its last three opponents to just one goal per game. The Huskies, who have been ranked in the top 10 since the first week of the season, have not lost since a 1-0 setback to Indiana in Portland back on Sept. 8. Statistically, senior co-captain Ben Somoza leads the way with 12 points after scoring one goal and assisting on another in the win over UCLA after converting a penalty kick for a score against Oregon State.
This Week in the Polls
NSCAA Coaches Soccer America Soccer Times 4. Stanford 4. Washington 4. Stanford 8. Washington 6. Stanford 5. Washington
California is not ranked
This weekend promises to be an exciting one, given the history between the teams. Washington carries a 15-5-4 lead in the series with California, increasing its lead last year after a 7-0 trouncing in Seattle and a 4-2 decision in Berkeley. The game at Cal last year saw UW senior Kai Carroll post a hat trick in his final regular season game and the 13th-ranked Huskies clinch the first-ever Pac-10 conference title. Washington, at 7-1 in league play, got an assist from UCLA when the Bruins knocked off top-ranked Stanford to give UW the title outright. Both the Huskies and the Cardinal had entered the day with one conference loss each. Washington owns a 15-9-0 record in its history with Stanford after a split last year. The series is one of close games. Seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by one goal and the Huskies are 4-4 in that span. The lone exception to the one-goal decisions is the most recent game, a 2-0 Cardinal win in Seattle last year. The Huskies won the first meeting with the Cardinal last year, a 2-1 overtime thriller in Palo Alto. Bryn Ritchie scored in the first minute of overtime to lift the 12th-ranked Huskies to the win over previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Stanford. The second meeting, in Seattle, was more lopsided as the Cardinal handed UW its first conference loss of the year, 2-0, and snapped a six-game win streak for the Huskies.
Credit Somoza with the Assist: When senior co-captain Ben Somoza assisted Greg Foisie on the Huskies' gamewinner against UCLA last Friday, it gave him 20 career assists and moved him into a tie at No. 10 on Washington's all-time chart. He is tied with John Hamel who tallied 20 assists from 1985-88. Somoza, who prepped at Edmonds-Woodway HS, needs one more to move ninth, two more to eighth and three more to move into a three-way tie for sixth. He has tallied eight assists per season each of the last two years.
Scouting California: After opening the season at 2-3-1, the Bears rattled off four straight victories including a 3-2 overtime decision versus Santa Clara. However, they have since dropped the last two, being shutout 2-0 by UCLA and 4-0 by Stanford. Senior Chris Roner leads the team with 24 shots while Austin Ripmaster is the leader in goals scored with five.
Scouting Stanford: The Cardinal, like the Huskies, have lost only one game this season. Stanford's loss came at the hands of UCLA, 2-1, in its conference opener Oct. 14 in Los Angeles. More recently, the Cardinal is coming off a pair of shutouts, 4-0 over California and 1-0 at Santa Clara. Roger Levesque is the leader in goals scored, with eight, while senior Lee Morrison is on the Hermann Award watch list.
According to Coach Wurzberger: 'California has shown the ability to rise to the occasion. We know that teams play big against us. They are an improving program and hard at work trying to upgrade their program. They have a midfield player, Chris Roner, whom we've admired every year we've played them. He is a player who could start on any Pac-10 team. Cal is always talented. (Coach) Kevin Grimes is trying to imprint his ideas on a young team. They've had some good results and it should be a good challenge for us Friday. 'The Stanford game promises to be a good match-up. It's the No. 1 and 2 teams in the West Region facing off with almost identical records. Stanford has a blend like we do, with impact senior players along with talented freshmen who see playing time. You look at the history of the games between us, they are always close. They always have a major impact on what happens in the league. We're looking forward to this game. We've seen their results parallel ours. We're looking forward to going head-to-head down there Sunday. We're obviously confident that we've already faced teams of Stanford's caliber and I'm sure they are saying the same thing. They've had impressive wins. We expect it to be a preview of postseason play, for superiority in the west region. This is the first of two, so regardless of what happens, they come back to Seattle. It's a big game, but we play them again. There will be some definite impressions after that first game. We're looking forward to coming out on top.'
Championship Defense Under Way
Washington is off to a quick start in defending its Pac-10 championship from last season. The Huskies won a pair of home games, over Oregon State and UCLA, to kickoff the 2001 campaign. Washington won the inaugural Pac-10 title last year, the first season of men's soccer within the conference. It was the third consecutive conference championship for the soccer team, which won the previous two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) titles, in 1998 and `99. The Huskies last year posted a record of 7-1 in Pac-10 action, including an undefeated record on the road. Current senior co-captains Bryn Ritchie and Ben Somoza earned first team all-conference honors while six other Huskies also earned recognition.
Six players in the Washington senior class are aiming for a perfect four-for-four in conference championships during their collegiate careers. With two MPSF titles and the first-ever Pac-10 championship to their credit, Greg Foisie, Zach Kingsley, Bryn Ritchie, Jake Sagare, Billy Sleeth and Ben Somoza have a chance to make it four in a row with a second Pac-10 title this year. The seventh senior, Trevor Frobose, transferred to UW from the Air Force Academy, and played his first season as a Husky last year. The six fourth-year seniors have also been to the NCAA tournament each of the three previous seasons. Washington is one of nine schools in the nation to have made six consecutive trips to the postseason tournament. Ironically, the Huskies have been knocked out of the tournament in the second round the last two season, each time at the hands of Indiana. The Hoosiers also handed the Huskies their only loss this season, at the adidas Invitational in Portland Sept. 8.
Scheduling News: Washington's games versus UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 14) and at Gonzaga (Sept. 16) were postponed following the events of Sept. 11. The UCSB game has been cancelled while plans to reschedule the Gonzaga match are pending.
The Huskies are making strides towards the postseason with increased scoring in 2001. Eleven different players have scored 24 goals in 11 games this season, a marked increase from years past. Last season, the team had 22 goals after 11 games, but that total was skewed by a 7-0 route of California. In 1999, the Huskies had converted just 13 shots midway through the year.
King of the Hill
With his game-winning goal in overtime at Santa Clara Oct. 5, senior forward Zach Kingsley (Spokane, Wash./Shadle Park) has four goals in the Huskies' first 11 games, far surpassing his scoring output from his first three years at Washington. Kingsley scored three goals as a junior last year after going scoreless in his first two seasons. A move further up the field this year, to forward, up from the attacking midfield spot, has him closer to the goal with more chances to finish opportunities. 'Zach had a great off-season and his confidence is high right now,' says Husky coach Dean Wurzberger. 'He is versatile and most effective in front of the goal. He started the season at midfield but it quickly became clear that he could do the most damage, cause opponents the most problems, in the attacking part of the field. Zach is unpredictable with his dribbling and has a good ability to finish his attacking moves.' Kingsley, an entertaining writer, keeps a weekly soccer diary on www.gohuskies.com. Check out the men's soccer page for the latest 'Quoteth Kingsley' chapter.
No. 4 Washington 3, No. 20 UCLA 1
Washington won its eighth-straight game and fourth in a row over No. 20 UCLA with a 3-1 Pac-10 Conference victory in front of 1,587 fans at Husky Soccer Field. It was the widest margin of victory in the series since the Huskies shutout the Bruins, 2-0, back in 1998. Somoza gave Washington an early lead in the game when he converted a free kick at 8:52. It wasn't until the 67th minute that UCLA equalized. Tim Pierce collected a ball from Chad Davis and from 18 yards out on the left sent the ball to the upper right corner of the net at 67:04. Washington answered when senior Greg Foisie checked in the game at 65:54 and scored the game-winner less than seven minutes later. Somoza sent a cross from the right side to Foisie who sent a header in the net from six yards out at 72:25. It was the third game-winner of the season for Foisie. The Huskies capped off the scoring with a goal by senior forward Jake Sagare at 84:54. He found the lower left corner of the net from 12 yards out, connecting off a deflected shot by Trevor Frobose. Junior keeper Chad Olsen had an impressive night in goal for the Huskies, tallying six saves, including two in a barrage of three quick shots by the Bruins late in the game. UCLA's Zach Wells had four saves after facing 17 shots by the Huskies.
Season at a Glance
Washington barely caught its breath upon returning from England, on a Monday, when it turned around and headed back across the country to Connecticut Thursday of that same week for its opening matches of the 2001 season. The Huskies extended themselves to overtime for the first win, over Fairleigh Dickinson (3-2) before true freshman Brett Wiesner scored the lone goal to knock-off defending national champion Connecticut, 1-0, on its home field. The team maintained the hectic travel schedule, barely catching its breath again before travelling three hours south for its second tournament of the season. The Huskies met an old nemesis when they faced No. 8 Indiana in the first round of the Portland adidas Invitational, Sept. 8. The Hoosiers kept alive their streak against the Huskies, winning 1-0 on a goal in the 64th minute, to improve the all-time series record to 4-0 over UW. The second round had the Huskies facing No. 16 William & Mary. Three first half goals gave the Huskies the edge they needed as they hung on to win, 3-2, over the Tribe. After a 10-day layoff due to cancelled games, Washington finally played its home opener when it hosted cross town rival Seattle University Sept. 20. The Huskies used two first half goals and one for insurance in the second half to down the visitors, 3-1. The Nike Husky Invitational saw Washington defeat UNLV (2-0) and No. 15 Air Force (2-1) while Portland, a 9-1 winner over Air Force in the first round, won the tournament on goal differential. A road game at Santa Clara went to overtime before senior Zach Kingsley knocked in the game-winner in the 103rd minute for his fourth goal of the year. The Huskies extended their win streak with a 4-1 non-conference victory over St. Mary's and a 2-1 Pac-10-opening win over Oregon State. The streak is at eight games entering the first conference road game this weekend after the fourth-ranked Huskies defeated No. 20 UCLA, 3-1, for its largest margin of victory against the Bruins since 1998.
By the Numbers: Washington has outscored its opponents, 24-10, so far and is outshooting the competition, 208-120 ... the Huskies have also taken 94 corner kicks to opponents' 37.
Huskies in the Polls
Date Soccer America NSCAA Soccer TimesPreseason 11 12 14Sept. 3 2 2 3Sept. 10 10 7 5Sept. 24 6 7 6Oct. 2 6 7 7Oct. 8 5 7 7Oct. 15 4 9 7Oct. 22 4 8 5
Huskies Against the Best: In its first 11 games this season, Washington has already faced five teams ranked in the top 25, including defending national champion and top-ranked Connecticut. The Huskies posted wins over No. 1 UConn (1-0), No. 16 William & Mary (3-2) while suffering the lone loss against No. 8 Indiana. They defeated No. 19 Air Force, 2-1, in the Husky Classic and most recently tallied a 3-1 win over No. 20 UCLA in Seattle. Year in and year out, Washington's schedule is among the toughest in the nation. This season, the Huskies face six teams that competed in the 2000 NCAA Championships.
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 Sept. 3. He has started all 10 games thus far and is a fixture on the front line. Joining him in the starting lineup 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 and scoring his first collegiate goal against St. Mary's. Both Klaas and Wiesner were Parade first team all-America honorees last year. Joe Birklid, a local product out of Buckley, Wash., made his first collegiate start at Santa Clara and was in the starting lineup again versus St. Mary's and Oregon State. The freshman class is made up of six 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. Eric Touton joins the Huskies as a redshirt freshman after transfering from the University of San Francisco.