Beavs Host Diadora Classic This Weekend

Sept. 9, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - -

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OSU/DIADORA CLASSIC: FRIDAY AND SUNDAY, SEPT. 12 & 14 - LORENZ FIELD AT VALLEY STADIUM, CORVALLIS, ORE.

Friday, Sept. 12, 2:30 p.m. - St. Mary's College (Calif.) (1-3-0) vs. Illinois-Chicago (3-0-0) 5 p.m. - Gonzaga (3-0-0) at Oregon State (2-2-0)

Sunday, Sept. 14, 12 p.m. - UIC vs. Gonzaga 2 p.m. - St. Mary's at OSU

A LOOK AT GONZAGA: The Bulldogs (3-0-0) put their undefeated record on the line this weekend after opening with convincing wins over Air Force (5-3 score), Denver (1-0) and CSU-Monterey Bay (2-0). Arni Pjeturrson, Mike Herzog, Grant Lundberg and Scott Yuska have each tallied two goals, and Pjetursson has two assists to boot. Vito Higgins has played the majority of the minutes in goal (225), and boasts a 1.25 goals-against average while making an average of 4.67 saves per contest. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 8-3, and have 23 statistical points to their opponents' eight. The 23 points are the highest total of any team in the Diadora Classic.

OSU HISTORY WITH GONZAGA: After claiming a 1-0 season-opening win last year in Spokane on a Chad Bartlome goal, the Beavers pushed their series advantage to 12-5-2. OSU was 10-0-1 through 1996 before going winless in the next five matches, but has won two of the last three contests. Since the inception of OSU's soccer program in 1988, the teams have failed to meet in only two seasons - 1992 and 2001.

A LOOK AT ST. MARY'S: The Gaels (1-3-0) beat Denver 3-2 on Sept. 3 for their lone win of the season thus far. SMC is led offensively by Jon Bernal and Matthew Fitzgerald, who have five points apiece. In goal, Kellan Wilson has played all 360 minutes, surrendering an average of two goals per game and making 20 saves. SMC has twice been shutout, losing 1-0 to UC-Riverside and Sacramento State.

OSU HISTORY WITH ST. MARY'S: OSU topped St. Mary's 4-2 on Oct. 6 last year in Corvallis, evening the season series at two wins apiece and giving OSU its school-record seventh win in a row at the time. Prior to 2002, the teams had not met since a 3-0 OSU win in Moraga in 1995.

A LOOK AT ILLINOIS-CHICAGO: The Flames (3-0-0) enter the weekend with an unblemished record, having posted wins over Marquette (3-0), Centenary (2-1, ot) and UNC-Wilmington (2-1). Though UIC has been outshot 55-32, Flame goalkeeper Cain Ross has allowed just two goals for a 0.65 GAA; he's also made 24 saves. The team's 0.65 GAA is the lowest of any team in the Diadora Classic. Eric Cervantes' five points lead the UIC attack.

OSU HISTORY WITH UIC: Although the teams don't go head-to-head in this weekend's tournament, the Beavers and Flames met for the first time ever at the 2000 OSU Diadora Classic, when UIC came away with a 1-0 win.

LAST WEEK: OSU defeated Sacramento State 3-0 to earn its first shutout of the year on goals by Christian vanBlommestein, Robbie Findley and Matt Johnson. vanBlommestein opened the scoring off a Ross Duncan corner kick at 19:53 for a 1-0 halftime lead. Alan Gordon and Ryan Johnson assisted on Robbie Findley's open-net score in the 63rd minute, and Chad Bartlome set up Matt Johnson's score with a cross at 86:11. Peter Billmeyer made four saves to earn his 11th career shutout and move within one shutout of tying the OSU career record.

Sunday's match at Portland resulted in a 2-0 loss, as the Beavers managed only one shot on goal and seven overall. Pilots Christopher Sanders and Heath Pearce tallied both UP goals before the 25-minute mark.

LAST YEAR'S DIADORA CLASSIC: OSU won last year's Diadora Classic by shutting out California-Riverside 2-0 and then-No. 12 Tulsa 3-0. Peter Billmeyer earned the Most Valuable Player honor.

HOME OPENERS: OSU is 12-3-0 all-time in its season-openers, including 3-1 under coach Dana Taylor. Among Taylor's season openers are a 2-1 overtime win over Western Washington (1999), a 1-0 loss to Illinois-Chicago (2000), a 3-2 two-overtime win against Sacramento State (2001) and a 2-0 shutout of UC-Riverside (2002).

ROAD TRIP: OSU opens with seven of its first nine matches on the road this year, but the Beavers are no strangers to early-season road trips. In 1999, Dana Taylor's first year as head coach, the Beavers played their first seven matches away from Lorenz Field. Last year, OSU opened with six of its first nine at neutral or opposing sites, and in 1991, the Beavers opened with seven consecutive road dates.

OFF THE BENCH: Freshman Robbie Findley (5 points) and sophomore Matt Johnson (4 points) have proven to be a powerful scoring combination coming off the bench. The duo leads the team in scoring and has played in every game, and the two have done all their scoring coming off the bench. Findley made his first start against Portland, but the team was shut out 2-0.

Alan Gordon: After 34 points (15 goals, 4 assists) as a junior in 2002, his first year as a Beaver, senior Alan Gordon has a chance to become OSU's all-time leading scorer in two seasons. The Gilbert, Ariz., native needs 42 points this year to accomplish that feat. Gordon is two points from moving into 10th place on the school's all-time scoring list, and is already tied for ninth in career goals with 15. His 34 points were second on the single-season list last year. Gordon tallied his first point of the year with an assist in a 3-0 win over Sacramento State.

Peter Billmeyer: After 2 1/2 years as the starting goalkeeper and 43 consecutive starts, Billmeyer owns the OSU career saves record with 268. He also owns the school's season saves mark with 100, which he set in 2002. Billmeyer, from Omaha, Neb., needs two shutouts to eclipse the school's career shutout mark; he currently has 11 for his career with one this year. He led the Pac-10 in saves each of the last two years, and has played all but 51 minutes, 10 seconds in the net during that span.

Evan McNeley: In his first two games as a Beaver, midfielder/back Evan McNeley made his presence known with a goal in the opener against San Diego State Aug. 29 and an assist in a win over San Diego on Aug. 31. He has started every game this year since transferring from Seattle University.

START YOUR ENGINES: Seniors Christian vanBlommestein and Peter Billmeyer have starting streaks going; vanBlommestein, a defender, has started all 57 career matches in which he has played and scored his first career goal in a 3-0 win over Sacramento State. Billmeyer has started 43 straight games in goal, and 54 in his career.

NEWCOMERS: Six newcomers have seen action thus far, including transfers Evan McNeley (jr., mid./def.), Jake Bachman (so., forward) and Chris Ritter (jr., defense), and freshmen Carlos Cornejo (fr., midfield), Nathan Quan (fr., midfield) and Robbie Findley (fr., Phoenix, Ariz.). McNeley, Quan, Ritter, Findley and Bachman all had starts.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Of its 19 regular-season matches, OSU plays nine against teams that competed in the NCAA College Cup last year, including two against Stanford, California and UCLA, as well as one against San Diego, Portland and Holy Cross. OSU already topped San Diego 2-1 on Aug. 31. Only seven of the 19 matches will be played at home, with just two of OSU's first nine at Lorenz Field.

OSU'S ALL-TIME RECORD: The Beavers now have an all-time record of 129-134-14 in overall play since the program's inception in 1988 under coach Jimmy Conway.

In league games, OSU is 35-55-6 and is 94-79-8 in non-conference play. Oregon State competed in the Northwest Colleges 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 when the conference began sponsoring men's soccer play.

OREGON STATE HEAD COACH Dana Taylor: Dana Taylor has instilled an unprecedented level of excitement in Oregon State men's soccer as he begins his fifth season at the helm of the Beaver program.

En route to earning the Pacific-10 Conference co-Coach of the Year honor in his fourth season, Taylor led OSU to a record-setting campaign in 2002, guiding the Beavers to a school-best 13 wins and their first-ever NCAA College Cup appearance.

Over the course of the year, the Beavers broke OSU records or made new entries on the school's all-time lists 35 times. Taylor's squad also knocked off three teams that were ranked at one point in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll during the season, including No. 6 California on the final day of the regular season to clinch a postseason berth.

Taylor owns a 32-45-1 overall record, and is 7-25-1 in conference play.

While at OSU, Taylor's teams have done well in the classroom, regularly posting grade-point averages of 3.0 or better.

In his first four years at Oregon State, Taylor has coached 14 All-Pac-10 athletes, five all-region players, and two All-Americans. While at OSU and during his tenure as an assistant at Creighton, 12 of Taylor's players have gone on to professional careers.

Prior to coming to OSU, Taylor was an assistant coach at Creighton for four seasons, helping the Bluejays to a 63-17-6 record, two Missouri Valley Conference titles, and a Final Four appearance in 1996.

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 29-27-3 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.

MEN'S SOCCER 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) 737-8588. For interviews, please call at least 24 hours in advance. For game credentials, please call early, as press box space is limited. Information is also available on the web at www.osubeavers.com.

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