Big Weekend On Tap For Huskies

Oct. 27, 2006

By Joshua Mayers
The UW Daily

His teammates call him 'The Hawk.'

A not-so-subtle play on his last name aside, goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins wasrecently seen flapping his arms in triumph after a game-clinching penalty-kick save against No. 10 UCLA.

A ball hawk for sure.







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On Tuesday, the redshirt freshman was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after shutting out opponents for 200 minutes over the weekend, putting his conference-leading shutout total now at six.

'It was a surprise; you don't think about that kind of stuff , so when you get it, it's kind of cool,' Hawkins said. 'I give credit to the defense  they definitely came up big. I don't have to take a lot of shots, it makes my life simpler.'

With a clutch save in double overtime against San Diego State last Friday,coupled with the shutout of reigning four-time Pac-10 champions UCLA, Hawkins clearly separated himself from the rest of the conference.

'He deserved it; he was the best player in the league over the weekend,' coach Dean Wurzberger said. 'That save he made in [overtime] against San Diego State was the save of the weekend. If that goes in ... we'd never recover.'

This weekend, Hawkins leads the Washington men's soccer team in two non-league matches against West Coast Conference opponents. The Huskies will host the Gonzaga Bulldogs (6-7-2, 3-5-1 WCC) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Husky Field. On Sunday, the Dawgs travel to Portland to take on the Pilots (6-7-2, 3-6 WCC) at 12 p.m.

Against the Bruins last Sunday, the Huskies put together their most complete effort of the year. Midfielder Jo Jo Katz hopes his team is able to continue to build off their recent success.

'[The win against UCLA] was the first time that our team came together,' Katz said. 'We had a great run in the beginning, but this is a changing point for us. I think we realize our potential now.'

Flashes of that potential were shown earlier when the Huskies began the year at a record pace, winning their first eight games. Wurzberger hinted that he is seeing signs of that once fourth-ranked team.

'It looks like we're going back to September from what I've seen -- notconceding goals and getting goals,' Wurzberger said. 'The players feel good and have confidence.'

In training this week, the coaches have tried to deviate from the routine and keep practices active. Wurzberger hopes to avoid a team letdown after an incredible weekend by keeping things fresh.

'You try to keep them enjoying what they're doing,' he said.

With three games left on the schedule, the playoff s are teasingly close. With their eye on 12 wins as worthy of a postseason berth, the Huskies (10-5-1, 3-5-1 Pac-10) realize that a big-win weekend could get them there.

While injuries have kept a couple key players -- Ty Harden and Ely Allen -- out of practice this week, Wurzberger insists that both will be ready to go this weekend.

After an uplifting weekend -- one that seemingly redeemed the players for all the positive results that slipped through their fingers -- Hawkins knows the team has to stay focused on their next opponent.

'Teams like to play teams that just came off big wins, because they're on that kind of a high,' he said. 'But we need to recognize that, keep our heads down and keep playing.'

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