Huskies Set To Face Saint Louis In NCAA Third Round Action Sunday

Nov. 29, 2003

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This Week:
Following a 1-0 second-round win over Northwest rival Portland Wednesday, 10th-seeded Washington men's soccer (13-4-2, 5-4-1 Pac-10) advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 7 seed Saint Louis (14-3-3 overall, 6-2-1 C-USA), Sunday, Nov. 30, at Robert R. Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. at 11 a.m. PT. The Huskies have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. Until this year, Washington had advanced as far as the second round six times. The Huskies are making their 15th all-time postseason appearance and eighth in the last nine seasons. Should Washington advance to the quarterfinals, it would face the winner of the Maryland vs. Akron match next weekend at a day and time to be determined. The Huskies have won three straight and four of their last six matches heading into Sunday.

Tournament History:
Washington has an all-time record of 6-15 in NCAA Tournament play, advancing as far as the second round seven times and to the third round for the first time this year. The Huskies' last postseason appearance in 2001 saw UW receive a first-round bye before hosting Portland in the second-round and falling to the Pilots, 1-0. In 1999 and 2000, the Huskies earned first-round wins but fell in second-round matches. Washington also advanced to the second round in 1992, 1996 and 1997. The Huskies made seven-straight trips to the tournament from 1995-2001, and until this weekend's trip to Saint Louis had hosted their last four-straight NCAA matches.

Scouting Saint Louis (14-3-3, 6-2-1 C-USA):
The Billikens ended the regular season tied for fourth with Wake Forest in the NSCAA coaches' poll, and ranked third in College Soccer News, fifth in Soccer Times and eighth in Soccer America. Saint Louis claimed a share of the C-USA regular-season title with Cincinnati and won its postseason tournament. The Billikins have qualified a record 42 times in the 45-year history of the NCAA Tournament and have won a record 10 national championships. Saint Louis is the winningest team in the NCAA Tournament history at 64-30-4 (.673). Like Washington, Saint Louis received a first-round tourney bye and shutout Binghamton, 1-0, in overtime on Wed., Nov. 26, to advance to the third round. Freshman forward Vedad Ibisevic netted the gamewinner. Ibisevic leads the team in scoring with 16 goals and four assists. Goalkeeper Martin Hutton has a 0.94 goals against average in 17 games. The Billikens' only losses this year came to Louisville, No. 21 Cincinnati and No. 24 Indiana. Saint Louis leads the all-time series with UW, 1-0-1 but the teams have not met since 1972.

Tournament Format:
The NCAA men's soccer tournament is a single-elimination play-off that features a 48-team field. The NCAA Tournament format calls for first-round games to be played Fri., Nov. 21, or Sat., Nov. 22, at campus sites with second-round contests scheduled for Wed., Nov. 26, also at campus sites. Third-round games will be played on campus sites, Sat., Nov. 29, or Sun., Nov. 30, as will quarterfinal matches on December 5, 6, or 7. The NCAA Division I Men's College Cup will be played Dec. 12 (semifinals) and Dec. 14 (final), at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Tourney Notes:
Washington played 10 games in the regular season against opponents from the 48-team NCAA Tournament Field, posting a 4-4-2 overall record. Two of those losses came to top-ranked and top-seeded UCLA (both 1-0 scores), while the other two came to Oregon State (3-1) and California (1-0). Washington picked up wins versus Portland (1-0), No. 12-seed Michigan (3-2), Kentucky (2-1) and Oregon State (1-0). The Huskies tied Oakland (1-1) and Cal (1-1).

UW Downs Portland 1-0 For First Ever Second Round Win:
Tenth-seeded Washington picked up its first-ever NCAA Tournament second-round win, downing longtime rival Portland, 1-0, at Husky Soccer Field, Wednesday evening. The Huskies used a goal from senior co-captain Troy Ready just 10 seconds into the second-half to notch the win over the Pilots. A left-side cross from sophomore Jeff Hoover sailed in front of the goal to set up the opportunity, with senior Sean Giudice going up for the header alongside Portland keeper Luis Robles. The deflection off the keeper found Ready in perfect position, as he smashed a low shot from five-yards out. The victory marked the seventh shutout of the season for senior goalkeeper Danny Waltman, who also recorded three saves. It was Washington's first postseason win over Portland since 1999. The Pilots had ousted Washington from the NCAA Tourney three previous times, including UW's last trip in 2001.

Scouting Washington (13-4-2, 5-4-1 Pac-10):
Following its 1-0 regular season finale victory over Oregon State on Sunday, Nov. 16, Washington finished the regular season with an overall record of 12-4-2 and tied for third with Cal in the Pac-10 standings with a 5-4-1 league mark. With 13 wins in 2003, Washington more than doubled its number of wins from 2002 (6-10-3), the first losing season for Washington since 1968. All four losses this year have come to Pac-10 opponents, including a pair of 1-0 losses to top-ranked UCLA. The Huskies have also been shutout in three of four losses, while averaging 2.3 goals per game in victory. UW opened the season unbeaten in its first eight games, the best start to a season since an 8-0-2 start in 1990. UW recorded a nearly unblemished mark against non-conference opponents, going 8-0-1. The Husky defense, led by senior goalkeeper Danny Waltman, has frustrated opposing teams, recording seven shutouts and allowing 15 goals in 19 games. Washington's offensive firepower has been bolstered by the additions of newcomers sophomore Leo Totev and freshman Kevin Forrest, while senior Troy Ready and juniors C.J. Klaas and Casey Armstrong are also among the team leaders on offense. Washington has outscored its opponents 31-15. UW has also scored at least two goals in eight games. Anchoring the backline are freshmen Ty Harden and Will Flanagan who have started all 19 matches, along with sophomore standout Kevin Murray. Ready leads the team in scoring with six goals and 13 points. Totev is close behind with five goals and 13 points. Armstrong has four goals, just ahead of Klaas and Forrest with three each. Klaas leads the team with six assists and 44 shots and is third with 12 points. Fifteen different Huskies have recorded either a goal or an assist so far this season. In goal, Waltman boasts an 0.77 goals against average, which ranks ninth on UW's single-season list.

Huskies To Play NCAA Tourney Without Klaas:
Junior midfielder C.J. Klaas, a preseason All-American and a semifinalist for the 2003 Hermann Trophy, will be missing from the lineup during postseason play. Klaas is a defender on the Under-20 U.S. National Team and will be competing with the squad at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates from Nov. 27-Dec. 19. The U.S. team traveled to UAE on Sat., Nov. 22 and conducted a week of training. The U.S. was drawn into Group F and will face Paraguay, Nov. 29, before meeting Germany on Dec. 2 and South Korea on Dec. 5. If the Huskies advance further in the tournament and the U.S. National Team does not advance past its group, there is a chance Klaas could rejoin the squad in later NCAA rounds. Klaas has been a mainstay in the Husky midfield all season. Having started 17 games, Klaas has three goals and six assists this year.

Pac-10 Honors:
The Pac-10 released its postseason honors last week, with eight Huskies earning All-Conference billing and six being named to the All-Academic Team. Junior C.J. Klaas earned his second-straight first-team All-Pac-10 honors, while freshman Ty Harden and seniors Troy Ready and Danny Waltman were named to the second-team. Four more Huskies were selected to the honorable mention team, including sophomore Michael Chabala, senior Sean Giudice, sophomore Leo Totev and junior Brett Wiesner. Some of those same names appeared on the All-Academic team list as well. Waltman earned second-team honors, while Chabala and Wiesner were honorable mention selections. Junior Joe Birklid was selected to the All-Academic first-team, along with second-team selection junior Casey Armstrong and additional honorable mention honoree sophomore Jeff Hoover.

Harden Fourth Husky Named Pac-10 POW:
Freshman Ty Harden was the fourth Husky this season named Pac-10 Player of the Week, on Nov. 18. Harden played a big role in UW's 1-0 shutout over Oregon State, Nov. 16, marking OSU forward Alan Gordon and holding him to just one shot. Gordon had scored six goals in the last three games with Washington.

Huskies End Regular Season On Winning Note:
With postseason seeding and home-field advantage on the line, Washington shutout then-No. 16 Oregon State, 1-0, in both teams regular season finale Sunday at Husky Soccer Field. Junior forward Brett Wiesner scored the gamewinner in the 76th minute, his second goal of the year. The lone goal of the contest came on a play sequence started by a long through ball by sophomore midfielder Mike Chabala to senior midfielder Troy Ready, who delivered a cross to Wiesner. Wiesner flicked the ball into the upper-left corner of the net, just out of reach of the out-stretched OSU goalkeeper Peter Billmeyer. The win marked the sixth shutout for UW senior goalkeeper Danny Waltman who recorded three saves on the day. Washington's defense held the Beavers to just three shots on goal and none through the first 72 minutes of play. UW freshman defender Ty Harden closely marked OSU forward Alan Gordon, holding Gordon to just one shot. Gordon had scored six goals in the previous three matches versus Washington. The win also snapped a three-game losing streak for Washington versus Oregon State, dating back to 2002.

Rankings:
Washington received votes in the final NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll released Nov. 17, but was absent from the Top-25 for the third-straight week. The Huskies ended the season ranked 13th by Soccer America, 12th by Soccer Times and 12th by College Soccer News. UW's highest rank in the coaches' poll this season was seventh in the Oct. 13 poll.

NCAA Experience:
Postseason play will be a first for many Washington players, with only six Huskies on the active roster having been on a UW squad that played in the NCAA Tournament prior to this year. Seniors Troy Ready and Danny Waltman were members of the 2000 and 2001 squads, while with juniors C.J. Klaas, Joe Birklid, Casey Armstrong and Brett Wiesner were members of the 2001 team that played in the postseason.

C.J. Klaas Named Hermann Semifinalist:
Preseason All-American C.J. Klaas was named one of 15 semifinalists for the prestigious Hermann Trophy, the NSCAA announced. Three finalists will be named at the NCAA College Cup, while the winner will be announced Jan. 9. Klaas, who has started 18 games for Washington, has three goals and six assists for 12 points. This year he has also garnered offensive MVP honors at the Portland Nike Invitational, as well as tournament MVP acclaim at the Marquette Invitational.

Striking First:
The Huskies are 11-0-1 when scoring first this year. Seven times has UW failed to net the first goal of the game, resulting in a 2-4-1 record. Washington came back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat UNLV 5-1. After trailing Oakland 1-0, UW came back to knot the game at 1-1 but the match eventually ended in a tie. The Huskies weren't as fortunate versus UCLA and Oregon State, failing to score in a pair of 1-0 losses to the Bruins and scoring in the 81st minute vs. Oregon State. UW posted just its second come-from-behind victory over Stanford on Oct. 31 (3-1), before failing to score versus Cal on Nov. 2 (1-0).

Newcomers Making An Impact:
Coach Wurzberger has been heavily relying upon his younger players with 11 freshmen or sophomores filling a starting role at some point during the season. Four of those underclassmen are newcomers to the team in sophomore Leo Totev and true freshmen Kevin Forrest, Will Flanagan and Ty Harden. Totev is second on the team with five goals, including a pair of two-goal performances vs. UNLV and South Carolina. He is also second with 13 points. Forrest has netted three goals to go along with one assist. Flanagan and Harden have shored up a Husky backline that has allowed 15 goals in 19 games. Both have helped Washington's offensive cause, as Harden has scored two goals and Flanagan has scored one.

The Wall:
Senior Danny Waltman is making the most of his senior campaign, excelling for the Huskies this season. Waltman's current goals against average is 0.77 which ranks ninth on UW's single all-time season list. His season-high save performance was eight versus Michigan, two shy of his career-high of 10 set versus Cal last year. Waltman has made 81 saves this year, surpassing his previous season-high of 60 set in 2002. This year, he has posted seven shutouts (tied for fifth on UW's single-season list) and allowed just two goals in in a span of five games from Sept. 28 through Oct. 12. Through the end of the regular season, Waltman ranked second in the Pac-10 in goals against average (0.81) and save percentage (.848) . He was tied for second in shutouts (six, and is third in saves (78).

Senior Salute:
The collegiate careers of three Washington seniors is coming to an end as Sean Giudice, Troy Ready and Danny Waltman are playing their final matches in a Husky uniform. All three have been major contributors to the 2003 Husky squad. Giudice, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton prior to his junior year, has played in 18 games, starting 12. He has six points on one goal and four assists. Ready is having a breakout senior year after battling through a career full of injuries. Ready has played in 16 games, starting 11, and leads the team with six goals and 15 points. Ready has either a goal or an assist in six of the last eight games, including Washington's gamewinning goal over Portland in the NCAA second round. Waltman is also having the best season of his career, posting a 0.77 goals against average and recording seven shutouts. Waltman has started all but one game in goal. His 81 saves are a career-high and rank third in the Pac-10. The Huskies do have a fourth senior on the roster in Seth Marsh, but Marsh is redshirting this year.

Head Coach Dean Wurzberger:
In his 12th season at the helm of the Washington men's soccer program, head coach Dean Wurzberger has led his Huskies to their eighth NCAA tournament berth in nine seasons. He reached the 150 win milestone for both his career and Washington overall records this year. Wurzberger's 150th career win came with a 1-0 victory over Portland, Sept. 5, while his 150th win as Husky head coach came with Washington's 3-1 win over Stanford, Oct. 31. Wurzberger has an overall head coaching mark of 161-69-28 (11 years at Washington, one year at Sacramento State). Under Wurzberger's guidance, Washington was one of only seven schools in the country to make seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 1995 to 2001. His 2000 team won the inaugural Pac-10 Conference championship, following two consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles. Wurzberger's overall record of 153-61-23 at Washington makes him the winningest head coach in Husky history. His assistant coaches are Bill May, Seth Spidahl and Darren Sawatzky.

On The Horizon:
Should Washington advance, it would play the winner of the Maryland/Akron third-round match next weekend at a time and date yet to be determined. Maryland is the tournament's No. 2 seed.

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