Beavers Start Season In Familiar Fashion - On The Road
Aug. 31, 2004
CORVALLIS, Ore. - -
THIS WEEK: OSU opens its 2004 season on Wednesday at Valparaiso (3 p.m. Pacific), then travels to Bloomington, Ind., for the Hoosier Classic, where the Beavers tackle No. 9 Notre Dame on Friday, Sept. 3 (3 p.m.) before facing defending national champion and No. 1 Indiana on Sunday, Sept. 5 (12:30 p.m.). OSU hasn't played its first game at home 10 years, when the Beavers topped Seattle University 2-0 in 1994. In fact, OSU played just two of its nine non-conference matches at Lorenz Field in 2003, and two of its first eight games of 2002 at home.SERIES HISTORY WITH VALPARAISO: OSU has faced Valparaiso just once before, falling 2-1 in a 2001 matchup in Corvallis. Valpo posted a 2-13-2 record in 2003.SERIES HISTORY WITH NOTRE DAME: OSU squares off with the Fighting Irish for the first time in program history this weekend. Notre Dame was 15-3-3 last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Irish enter the 2004 campaign ninth in the preseason NSCAA poll.SERIES HISTORY WITH INDIANA: The Beavers take on the Hoosiers for the first time in program history. The Hoosiers claimed the national title in 2003 and enter the 2004 season atop the NSCAA poll.RETURNING PLAYERS: OSU returns just four starters from last year's NCAA Tournament qualifying team, but three of the four were All-Pac-10 selections in 2003. Thirteen letterwinners return as well, giving the Beavers a youthful, but talented look. Robbie Findley, the 2003 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year at forward, returns as a sophomore, as does two-time all-conference junior midfielder/forward Ryan Johnson. Defenseman Evan McNeley was an honorable mention choice last year as well, and he returns for his senior season.NEWCOMERS: OSU welcomes a total of 14 players to the roster who either redshirted in 2003 or are new to the team. Of those 14, Jason Mariner (RS-Fr./Goal), Mason Webb (Fr./Def./Mid.), Alex Christensen (Fr./Def.) and Brett Gardner (Fr./For.) started in OSU's 1-0 exhibition win over Northern Illinois on Saturday. Loren Hill (Fr./Def./Mid.), Chris Murphy (TR-So./For.) and Robby Christner (Fr./For.) saw action off the bench.LAST ACTION: OSU topped former Beaver assistant Steve Simmons' Northern Illinois squad 1-0 in DeKalb on Saturday thanks to an Alex Asai goal assisted by Loren Hill in the 25th minute.BEAVERS IN THE PROS: Four members of the 2003 squad have seen action in the professional ranks since completing their eligibility. Record-setting goalkeeper Peter Billmeyer was called up by the Dallas Burn of the MLS over the summer; Alan Gordon finished the 'A' League regular season second in scoring with 35 points as a rookie with the Portland Timbers; Ross Duncan plays for the Queensland Lions of the Australian Premiership; and Nick Donaldson competes in the English Fourth Division.JOHNSON OWNS CAREER AND SEASON ASSIST MARKS: Junior Ryan Johnson set the OSU career assist record after just 31 games and has 18 assists in his young career. He broke the former mark of 16 held by Chris Scotti (1989-92) and Fredrik Kemmernes (1995-98). With 13 assists in 2003, Johnson owns the season record as well; he broke the former mark of nine, held by Greg Howes (1998), in just 11 games on Oct. 5 in a 4-0 win over Fresno State.OREGON STATE HEAD COACH DANA TAYLOR: In his sixth year as the men's head soccer coach at Oregon State University, Dana Taylor has elevated the program to elite status.With 2003 came another record-breaking season in which the Beavers again advanced to the NCAA Men's College Cup, hosting an opening-round game for the first time in program history after claiming a school-record 13 wins for the second year in a row.Taylor has an all-time record of 43-50-1, all at OSU. Over the last two years, Taylor's squads have gone 26-15.