Huskies Open NCAA Tournament Action Friday Hosting Creighton
Nov. 8, 2006
NCAA FIRST ROUND
Fri., November 10, 2006
#21/#15 Creighton (13-4-3) at Washington (12-6-1)
7:00 p.m. Husky Soccer Field Seattle, Wash.
Live Scoring GoHuskies.com
NCAA SECOND ROUND
Wed., November 15, 2006
Washington/Creighton Winner at #5/8 Santa Clara (12-4-4) 7 p.m.
Washington earned an at-large berth to the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship and will host Creighton in the first round, Friday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. at Husky Soccer Field on the UW campus. The Huskies are making their 10th postseason appearance in the last 12 seasons and 18th overall. Washington finished the regular season with a 12-6-1 overall record and has won three of its last four matches, while Creighton tallied a 13-4-3 overall mark and is coming off a title winning performance at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The winner of Friday's match advances to the second round to face 10th-seed Santa Clara on its home pitch in Northern California, Wed., Nov. 15, at 7 p.m.
Ticket prices for Friday's match are $7 for adults and $5 for children/seniors/students. Tickets are available online at GoHuskies.com or by calling the Husky Ticket Office at 206-543-2200.
Live stats for Friday's match will be available at GoHuskies.com.
In the Rankings:
UW is unranked in the NSCAA/adidas and Soccer America polls for the fifth straight week. Washington was ranked as high as fourth for three weeks in the NSCAA/adidas poll this season.
Washington started the year 8-0-0, its longest unbeaten and untied streak to open a season in program history. Since then, the Huskies are 4-6-1.
The Huskies have won three of their last four games heading into Friday's postseason match. It is their strongest finish to a regular season since they won three of their last four matches in 2003 - the year they advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Washington finished the regular season fifth in the Pac-10 standings with a 4-5-1 league record. Cal won the conference crown (7-3-0) followed by San Diego State (5-2-3), Stanford (5-3-2) and UCLA (4-3-3). Oregon State finished sixth at 0-9-1.
Junior forward Kevin Forrest leads the team with 13 goals - the most scored by a Husky since 1997 - and 27 points. Eight of his 13 goals have been gamewinners. Forrest has ranked among the top offensive players in the nation and led the Pac-10 in every offensive category all season long.
Junior forward Ely Allen is right behind Forrest in offensive production, with seven goals and five assists for 19 points.
Sophomore midfielder Raphael Cox is tied for 18th in the nation with a team-high nine assists. He also has four goals and ranks third on the team with 17 points.
Redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins has had a stellar first year manning the net. Hawkins has played nearly 1500 minutes, registering a 0.96 goals against average and six shutouts.
The Huskies were the last standing unbeaten or untied team in NCAA Division I men's soccer before falling to UCLA in double-overtime, Sept. 29.
The Huskies' 8-0-0 start included three tournament title wins: Nike Portland Invitational, Middleton Fitness and Cycle Invitational and the Husky Fever Classic.
Huskies Rank Among The Nation's Best:
The Huskies have ranked among the nation's best offensive teams all season. Through 19 games, Washington ranks 22nd in the nation in scoring offense with 1.89 goals per game. Individually, junior forward Kevin Forrest ranks 11th in goals per game (0.76) and 21st in points per game (1.59). Sophomore midfielder Raphael Cox is tied for 18th in the nation with 0.47 assists per game.
NCAA Tournament Format:
The NCAA men's soccer tournament is a single-elimination play-off that features a 48-team field. Twenty-two teams received automatic bids to the tournament, while 26 earned a spot via an at-large selection. The 16 seeded teams received first round byes, while the others will duke it out in first-round matches played at campus sites, Friday, Nov. 10 or Saturday, Nov. 11. All matches through the quarterfinals will be played at campus sites, with the 2006 NCAA Men's College Cup to take place Dec. 1 (semifinals) and Dec. 3 (finals) at Robert R. Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.
Huskies In The Postseason:
Washington is making a postseason appearance for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons and 18th overall. The Huskies have an all-time record of 6-17 in tournament play, advancing as far as the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2003. Until 2003, UW had not won a second-round match in the postseason. Washington's last tournament appearance was in 2004, when the Huskies suffered a 5-3 first round loss to Portland in Seattle. In 2003, UW received a first-round bye before hosting Portland in the second round and defeating the Pilots 1-0. Making school history, 10th-seeded Washington boarded a plane for Saint Louis and nearly pulled an upset over the seventh-seeded Billikens, losing a heartbreaker in overtime, 2-1. Washington has hosted five of its last six NCAA matches, hosting first and second round games in 2000, a first round game in 2001, a second-round match-up in 2003 and a first round game in 2004. Including 2003, the Huskies have played through to the second round seven times. Washington made seven-straight trips to the tournament from 1995-2001.
Huskies Against The Field:
Washington faced four tournament teams in the regular season this year, compiling a record of 2-4-1 against those sides. Washington picked up a non-conference win against Northern Illinois (5-0) in its own Husky Classic. The other three teams are from the Pac-10: Cal, UCLA and San Diego State. UW split the season series with UCLA, falling 2-1 in double overtime to the Bruins in LA before pulling a 2-0 upset in Seattle. UW lost both meetings with Cal and suffered a loss but came back with a draw versus San Diego State.
Washington has seven players on its roster with previous postseason experience, led by seniors Mike Cusenza, Matt Fischer and Ty Harden who were all a part of the 2003 NCAA Sweet 16 squad. Junior Kevin Forrest was also a member of the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tourney squads. Juniors Ely Allen, Derek Crismier, Brett Hite (redshirting 2006), and Nick Loveless were members of the 2004 squad. From the coaching standpoint, head coach Dean Wurzberger has led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament 11 times in 15 seasons.
Creighton will be making its 15th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament when the Bluejays travel to Seattle, Friday. Creighton captured its record 10th Missouri Valley Conference title last weekend with a 2-1 overtime win over No. 1 seed Bradley. The Bluejays have lost just twice since opening the season. CU lost its first two games to then-No. 12 Indiana (0-1, 2 OT) and then-No. 15 Notre Dame (1-4) but since then is 13-2-3 including two unbeaten streaks of at least six matches. Senior forward Michael Kraus, the MVC Player of the Year, leads the team with six goals, five of which were gamewinners. Preseason National Player of the Year candidate Byron Dacy leads the team with 16 points and is tied with junior Pietari Holopainen for the lead with six assists. Junior goalkeeper Matt Allen was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Year. He has a 0.82 goals against average and has tallied eight shutouts this season. The Huskies and Bluejays have not met this season, but both participated in the Middleton Cycle and Fitness Invitational back in September. Washington edged Creighton there for the tournament title as both teams defeated host Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee but UW ended up with a one-goal advantage. Creighton and Washington have had two other common opponents from this year, Oregon State and Air Force. The Huskies swept the season series with Oregon State (3-1 and 2-1 in overtime), while Creighton battled to a 2-2 double overtime draw with the Beavers. UW shutout Air Force 5-0 and the Bluejays suffered a 1-0 double overtime loss to the same team.
All-Time Series Vs. Creighton:
Washington is 1-3-0 all-time against Creighton, falling last year to the Bluejays, 3-2, at the Nike Portland Invitational. The other three meetings came in 2004 at the UNLV FILA Invitational (won 2-1), 2002 in Seattle (lost 1-2 in overtime) and 2000 in Omaha, Neb. (lost 0-2).
UW Wins Regular Season Finale At Oregon State:
Junior forward Kevin Forrest scored on a penalty kick in the 98th minute to lift Washington men's soccer to a 2-1 overtime victory versus Oregon State in both teams' regular season finale at Lorenz Field in Corvallis, Nov. 3. After trailing 1-0 early in the second half, the Huskies came back to score two unanswered goals. Senior defender Ty Harden knocked in the equalizer in the 88th minute that sent the match into overtime, before Forrest connected on the penalty kick attempt at 97:22. A foul in the box on junior forward Ely Allen set up the penalty kick with two and a half minutes remaining in the first overtime period. The Beavers got on the board first at 55:34, when Robbie Findley scored on a penalty kick. The goal came after a first half that was played the majority of time in a downpour and saw both teams tally just two shots a piece. UW outshot OSU 9-5 in the second half and had most of the run of play during the final 30 minutes of regulation. Junior defender Nick Loveless, Forrest and Allen all had decent chances late in the game, but the Huskies didn't find the net until Harden's goal at 87:03. Junior midfielder Steve Mohn had the ball on the right side and served it to Harden in the middle who popped in a sliding attempt on goal. It was the Husky defender's third goal of the season, and second time this year he accounted for the equalizer in the last two minutes of a match to force overtime. The win was the first for the Huskies in Corvallis since 2001, as UW had struggled versus the Beavers on the road the past five seasons. The victory also secured a season sweep over OSU after UW defeated the Beavers, 3-1, in Seattle in both teams' Pac-10 opener, Sept. 24.
George John Named to Academic All-District Team:
Sophomore midfielder George John was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII men's soccer team, College Sports Information Directors of America announced Nov. 2 John has a 3.66 grade point average and is majoring in business administration. He has played in all 19 games for the Huskies, starting all but one, and ranks fourth on the team in points (12). John has four goals and four assists this season, with two of those goals coming in a match against Wisconsin, Sept. 8. John's nod to the Academic All-District team puts him on the national ballot for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors. In order to be eligible for Academic All-District or All-America honors, a student-athlete must have a 3.20 cumulative grade point average, be a starter or significant contributor and be at least a sophomore in both academic and athletic standing.
Forrest, Allen Tandem Lead Scoring Barrage:
Junior forwards Kevin Forrest and Ely Allen have combined to create a lethal scoring attack for the Huskies this season. Forrest, who redshirted last season due to injury, has tallied 13 goals in 17 matches, eclipsing his career-high of nine set as a sophomore. Forrest has three games with two or more goals, including a hat trick versus Air Force (Sept. 1). He also has eight gamewinning goals, tops in the conference. Allen has scored seven goals in 17 matches that included a pair of two-goal performances. Allen himself has set a new career-high, surpassing his total of four goals last season. Allen and Forrest teamed to earn back-to-back Pac-10 Player of the Week honors the first two weeks of the season. Forrest is also a two-time selection to the Soccer America Team of the Week this year.
Top Defenders Get Into Scoring Act:
Senior central defenders Matt Fischer and Ty Harden have not only played a huge role in the Huskies' stellar defensive success, they have contributed to the team's offense. The two players have combined to score six goals this season. After having never scored or tallied an assist during his first three years on the team, Fischer already has three goals and one assist to his credit this season. Two of his three goals have come on headers off corner kicks. Harden came into his final season with three goals and has added three more. Harden accounted for a critical goal in UW's double overtime loss at UCLA, Sept. 29. With the Huskies trailing 1-0, Harden knocked in the equalizer in the 89th minute to send the game into overtime. He did the same thing in UW's last match at Oregon State, scoring in the equalizer in the 88th minute of regulation to send the match into overtime. UW ended up winning, 2-1. Harden and Fischer have been the backbone of a UW defense that has allowed 18 goals in 19 games and posted seven shutouts. Harden is a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and third-team all-region player.
Three freshmen have been making solid contributions to the Huskies' success thus far. Defender Taylor Hoss has played in all 19 matches and started 18, providing a solid presence at the left fullback position and contributing to a UW backline that has allowed just 18 goals. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins has put up impressive numbers early. Hawkins is tied for the league lead in shutouts (six) and is third in goals against average (0.96). Defender Adam Lang has also seen increased minutes on the pitch, getting the starting nod at right fullback the last six matches and playing a key role.
UW Leading the Conference:
The Huskies are dominating the Conference statistics, leading the league or sharing the lead in all six offensive categories: shots (282), points (5.42/game), goals (36), goals per game (1.89), assists (31), and assists per game (1.63). Defensively, UW is third in goals allowed (18), third in goals against average (0.91) and is second in shutouts (seven). Kevin Forrest leads in shots (97), shots per game (5.71), points (27), points per game (1.59), goals (13), goals per game (01.76) and gamewinning goals (eight). Fellow forward Ely Allen is third in the league with 2.82 points per game, and fourth with seven goals and .41 goals per game. Midfielders Jo Jo Katz and Raphael Cox rank among the top players in assists. Cox leads the league in assists (nine) and assists per game (0.47), while Katz is third in assists (seven) and assists per game (0.37).
Huskies Tabbed To Finish Third In Pac-10 Coaches Poll:
The Washington men's soccer team was projected to finish third in the 2006 Preseason Pac-10 Coaches' Poll. The four-time defending conference champion UCLA Bruins were tabbed to repeat their title, followed by California and Washington. UCLA received five first-place votes while the Huskies earned one. San Diego State was picked to finish fourth, with Oregon State and Stanford predicted to round out the conference in that order.
Head Coach Dean Wurzberger:
Husky head coach Dean Wurzberger is in his 15th year at the helm of the Washington men's soccer program. The 2004 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year and the all-time winningest coach in program history, Wurzberger has spent over a decade building the Husky program into one of the nation's finest, fielding teams that annually compete for conference and national championships. Under his tutelage, the Huskies have reached the NCAA Tournament nine times in the last 11 years, including a school-record Sweet 16 trip in 2003. His record at Washington seasons stands at a stellar 186-82-28 (.676).
The winner of Friday's match will advance to face 10th-seed Santa Clara in Northern California, Wed., Nov. 15, at 7 p.m.