Beavs Begin 18-Game Slate At Drake, No. 2 Creighton

Aug. 29, 2001


The Beavers head to the Midwest to do battle with Drake and No. 2 Creighton this weekend, looking to build on last weekend's two preseason road contests that saw them down long-time rival Gonzaga 1-0 and take Portland to the wire before falling 3-2.

The matches at Drake and Creighton will mark the first-ever meetings between OSU and the two schools.

OSU heads east to Des Moines, Iowa, to square off with Drake in a 3 p.m. match on Sept. 1. Returning to a Bulldog squad that went 7-12 last year are 10 starters and 15 letterwinners, including Dusty Grau, Jacob Grier and Brian Duax, all of whom scored better than 21 points in 2000.

The Beavers will be put to the test against Creighton when they take the field at Tranquility Park for their 5:30 p.m. match on Sept. 2. The Bluejays return six starters and 12 letterwinners from a squad that went 22-4-0 overall last season and lost in the NCAA Championship match to Connecticut 2-0.

LAST ACTION: The Beavers used preseason matches against Gonzaga and Portland to find out where they stand heading into the regular season. OSU came out even, dropping Gonzaga 1-0 and falling to Portland 3-2 in two road contests.

OSU got a score from Alex Close in the 75th minute at Gonzaga when Ross Duncan lofted a crossing pass from the left end line that Close deflected into the net.

Peter Billmeyer went the distance in goal, posting a shutout and saving five shots in the process.

At Portland, three of the game's five goals came in a 24-second span that saw OSU's Aaron McHardy put two balls in the back of the net for the Beavs in a late rally that fell short.

After a scoreless first stanza, Portland jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals in the 50th and 54th minutes. It wasn't until McHardy blasted a penalty kick past UP goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri at the 88:19 mark that the Beavers got on the board and the excitement began.

Portland rebounded with a Brandon Henly goal 14 seconds later, only to see McHardy take a through ball from freshman Ignacio Cid and put it past a diving Spiteri to end the scoring.

Billmeyer tallied six saves against the Pilots for OSU.

TAYLOR ON THE WEEKEND'S GAMES: 'First and foremost, it's Drake (that we're concerned with). We're not looking past them. They're a very experienced, athletic, quick squad, and are very similar to us in that we had nearly the same record last year.

'As far as common opponents, we only had one last year, which was Gonzaga, and they tied (OSU dropped a 4-1 decision).

'We're just going over some fine-tuning right now.'

TAYLOR ON RETURNING TO CREIGHTON: 'It's always a little exciting to go back to a school you coached at for a while. Most of the players I helped recruit have graduated now, so it's not as much of an allure.

'I have a lot of fond memories of Omaha and the community there, so I'm looking forward to going back. They have great community support at Creighton and very large crowds, so it's a fun atmoshpere to be a part of.'

WHAT THE BEAVS HAVE BEEN WORKING ON: 'Our biggest point of emphasis this year has been fitness, and we have a very good fitness base this year,' Taylor said. 'That allows us to do other things that we may not have been able to do otherwise.

'Other than that, we want to take care of things in the back and make teams work for any goals they get. Offensively, we want to get more production. We'll see where we are this weekend.'

TAYLOR ON DRAKE: 'Drake is a very physical team, but we really don't know much about them since we haven't played them before, which is a little scary. Creighton we know a little more about.

'As far as advantages, it's too early in the season to tell. Even when you watch a team on tape, you don't know enough about them at this point in the season.'

SEASIDE TRIP: The Beavers have been in Seaside, Ore., for the past four days on their yearly team retreat. In the past, OSU has ventured to Bend, Ore., but changed to Seaside this year. OSU spent Sunday-Wednesday practicing and training in the evening under lighted conditions, which will be the scenario for their two road games this weekend at Drake and No. 2 Creighton.

'We had a good time,' Taylor said. 'We trained up here and had good practices under the lights. The team has come together well since they've been back this year, and it's been exciting to watch.'

ON THE LOOKOUT: Entering the 2001 season, several Beavers have a chance to set records or move up on OSU's various all-time lists.

Ben Roth, one of two OSU seniors, needs to play in 14 games to set the school record for games played. Currently, Roth has 54 games to his credit, 50 of which have been starts. The current record of 67 is held by Fredrik Kummernes, who donned the Orange and Black from 1995-98.

Roth enters the season firmly entrenched in OSU's starting backfield.

Justin Kirk, a junior midfielder, should move on to the all-time top-10 career assists list, as he has six assists coming into the season and needs one to move into a tie for 10th.

The all-time mark is 16, held by both Kummernes and Chris Scotti.

Kirk is eight points shy of a tie for 10th on OSU's all-time scoring list, and has a good chance to move into third place on OSU's all-time points list by the time he finishes his career at OSU. The junior has racked up 22 points in his first two seasons, and needs 31 points to surpass Kummernes' 52. Kirk's eight career goals leave him four shy of 10th place all-time.

Peter Billmeyer's 57 saves in 2000 left him three shy of a tie for third place on the season saves list - a spot occupied by Bryan Hill, who totaled 60 saves in 1998. Billmeyer, a sophomore, could pass Colin McMillan this season for third on the career saves list. McMillan had 96 saves.

With five shutouts this year, Billmeyer would join James Brazeau and Olin Glenn in third on the season shutouts list. The record is seven, set by James Bain in 1990. The career saves record is 12, Billmeyer has two heading into his sophomore season.

Ryan Smith has a streak of 33 consecutive starts for the Beavs. The junior has started every game he has played for the Beavers in his defensive midfield position.

Even more impressive is the fact that these streaks and potential records are being accomplished in the Pacific-10 Conference, which has the reputation as the toughest soccer conference in the nation.

SIX SHOOTERS: Six Beavers who earned All-Pac-10 recognition after the 2000 campaign return this season. In all, eight Beavers earned all-conference recognition last year, the highest total in school history.

Graduated senior Matt Olsen and Josh Elbaum earned second-team all-conference, while Peter Billmeyer (goal), Stephen Hensor (midfield), Justin Kirk (midfield), Jesse Servin (forward), Ryan Smith (midfield), and Christian vanBlommestein (defense) all earned honorable mention. The latter six return this season.

OSU ALL-TIME RECORD: The Beavers now have an all-time record of 109-112-14 in overall play since the program's inception in 1988 under coach Jimmy Conway.

In league games, OSU is 30-42-6. Oregon State competed in the Northwest Collegiate 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.

OREGON STATE HEAD COACH DANA TAYLOR: Dana Taylor guided the Beavers to a 7-11-1 record overall and 1-6-1 in Pac-10 play in his second year at the helm of the OSU program as the Pac-10 began men's soccer play last year. Among the wins were triumphs over in-state rival Portland on Sept. 19, which was ranked No. 10 at the time (NSCAA poll), and Pac-10 rival UCLA (then No. 17) on Oct. 22. The Beavers went 5-12-0 in Taylor's first year.

Prior to coming to OSU, Taylor spent four seasons at perennial powerhouse Creighton, where he worked mostly with the goalkeepers. Taylor helped the Bluejays to a 63-17-6 record during his tenure, while the Bluejays captured two Missouri Valley Conference titles.

YOUNG GUNS: The Beavers bring nine freshmen into the mix this year, along with nine sophomores, six juniors and only two seniors.

Of the nine sophomores, eight saw significant action last season as freshmen. The remaining sophomore, transfer Nick Donaldson, was a member of Indiana's national championship squad last season.

Here's a look at the roster by class:

FRESHMENChad Bartlome (For.)Kiely Bondurant (Goal)Ignacio Cid (Mid.)Greg Jarmer (Def.)Brian Johnson (Def.)Matt Johnson (For.)Chad Nixon (Mid.)Joe Senn (Def.)A.J. Weber (Mid.)SOPHOMORESPeter Billmeyer (Goal)Josh Boys (Def.)Nick Donaldson (Mid.)Ross Duncan (Mid.)Stephen Hensor (Mid.)Mark Muleady (Goal)Kurt Ness (Def.)Jesse Servin (Mid./For.)Christian vanBlommestein (Def.)JUNIORSKevin Atkinson (For.)Clay Carnahan (Def.)Alex Close (For.)Justin Kirk (Mid.)Aaron McHardy (Mid.)Ryan Smith (Mid.)SENIORSNick Jensen (Mid.)Ben Roth (Def.)

OSU/DIADORA CLASSIC: Oregon State will host the OSU/Diadora Classic for two weekends this season. The third annual tournament features Gonzaga, San Diego State, Sacramento State and Oregon State, with two games on Sept. 21 and two on Sept. 23.

Cal State Northridge, Gonzaga, and Valparaiso come to town for Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 matches.

Last season OSU dropped the first game of the tournament to Illinois-Chicago 1-0 but rallied to swat Sacramento State 3-0.

OSU ON TV: Oregon State's 1 p.m. home match on Nov. 2 against Washington will be replayed by FoxSports on a date to be determined.

ROUGH RIDE: OSU faces another top-notch slate of opponents in 2001. The Beavers will see No. 2 Creighton (NSCAA preseason poll) in their second game of the season along with two conference matches against No. 6 Stanford, No. 12 Washington, and No. 24 UCLA.

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 17-21-3 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.

The Beavers went 4-4-1 at home last season, including wins over nationally ranked Portland (then No. 10) and UCLA (then No. 17).

MEN'S SOCCER TICKETS: All tickets for Oregon State men's soccer games are sold on a general admission basis. They are priced at $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens age 62 and over and students high school age and under. OSU students are admitted free with OSU student identification card.

Local Bi-Mart stores have coupons good for two admissions for the price of one for OSU men's soccer games.

Men's soccer is also part of the OSU Six-Sport Pass, which is good for general admission seating at all home contests in men's and women's soccer, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics and baseball.

Members of the Junior Benny Beaver Club are also admitted free to all women's soccer games with their club membership card. AYSO youth soccer players are admitted free to all men's home soccer games when wearing their team jersey.

OSU SPORTS 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) 737-3720. For interviews, please call at least 24 hours in advance. For game credentials, please call early because press box space is limited.

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