No. 7 Men's Soccer Plays Home Opener Thursday
Sept. 18, 2001
Thurs., Sept. 20 Seattle U. at Washington, 7 p.m., Husky Soccer Field
Next Week: Nike Husky Classic, Sept. 28 and 30, Husky Soccer Field
This Week: The No. 7 Washington men's soccer team (3-1-0) returns to action for its home opener versus Seattle University (5-1-0) Thurs., Sept. 20. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Husky Soccer Field on the UW campus.
Washington's games versus UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 14) and at Gonzaga (Sept. 16) were postponed following the tragic events of Sept. 11. Plans have not yet been announced regarding rescheduling of the games.
What's Been Going On: Washington barely caught its breath after a cross country two-win opening weekend in Connecticut when the team traveled three hours south for its second tournament of the season. Fresh off their upset of top-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut, the Huskies met an old nemesis when they faced No. 8 Indiana in the first round of the Portland adidas Invitational, Sept. 8. The Hoosiers kept alive their streak against the Huskies, winning 1-0 on a goal in the 64th minute, to improve the all-time series record to 4-0 over UW. The second round had the Huskies facing No. 16 William & Mary. Three first half goals gave the Huskies the edge they needed as they hung on to win, 3-2, over the Tribe.
Scouting Seattle U: The Redhawks are 5-1 on the season and have won four in a row after dropping the season opener at Chico State ... the team is led by Joe Watson and Ian Chursky, who have scored three goals apiece this season ... Seattle U. is currently a member of both the NCAA and NAIA with full membership in the NCAA at the Division II level anticipated for the 2002-03 season. Seattle U. competes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) as one of 10 members of the league during regular season play, and as an NAIA Region I independent at the regional and national level during postseason play.
Huskies in the Polls
Date Soccer America NSCAA Soccer Times MediaPreseason 11 12 14Sept. 3 2 2 3 -Sept. 10 10 7
Ritchie Named Pac-10 Player of the Week: Following Washington's opening weekend of play Aug. 31-Sept. 3, senior defender Bryn Ritchie was named the Pac-10 Men's Soccer Player of the Week. Ritchie, from Medford, Ore., led UW to the UConn Soccer Classic title over the weekend, as the Huskies posted a 1-0 victory over defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Connecticut in the championship contest. Ritchie's defensive presence helped UW blank the top-ranked team in the nation on Sept. 1, limiting UConn to just 11 shots. In the opening round of the tournament on Aug. 31, Washington defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 3-2 in overtime. Ritchie registered one shot in the win, and contributed to another stellar defensive effort, as the Huskies allowed just nine shots. Ritchie, along with three other Huskies, was named to the UConn Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team. It was the second weekly honor for Ritchie and Washington's third Player of the Week honor all-time.
Huskies Against the Best: In its first four games this season, Washington has already faced three teams ranked in the top 25, including defending national champion and top-ranked Connecticut. The Huskies posted wins over No. 1 UConn (1-0), No. 16 William and Mary (3-2) while suffering the lone loss against No. 8 Indiana. Year in and year out, Washington's schedule is among the toughest in the nation. This season, the Huskies face six teams that competed in the 2000 NCAA Championships.
Defending Champs Picked to Win: Washington, winner of the inaugural conference championship last year, has been picked to defend its title in 2001 in the Pac-10 preseason coaches poll. The Huskies, who finished last season with a record of 14-6-0 and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the sixth year in a row, garnered 22 points, narrowly edging second-place UCLA (21 pts.). The Huskies and Bruins received two first-place votes each, while Stanford yielded the other. Oregon State finished fourth in the poll and California was fifth. Washington won the 2000 Pac-10 title with a 7-1-0 league mark last season. Stanford finished second at 6-2-0, while UCLA compiled a 3-5-0 league record to finish third. The Huskies, Bruins and Cardinal all advanced to theNCAA Tournament. Stanford and Washington reached the second round, with the Cardinal advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals. Here are the results of the preseason coaches' poll (points 5-4-3-2-1), first place votes in parentheses:1. Washington (2) 22
2. UCLA (2) 21
3. Stanford (1) 17
4. Oregon State 8
5. California 7
According to the Coach: 'We are looking forward to playing again, especially in our first home game. We had four tough games on the road, so we are excited to play on our own field. We're anxious to show our fans the quality of our team this year.
'It was unique for us to have a weekend off. It was the correct thing to do, because of the tragic events on the east coast and the tragic loss of our Husky fans in Mexico. Add in that we started practice Aug. 6 for our preseason tour to England that had us playing five difficult games over there. We came home and right away went back to the east coast to play the defending national champions, then we turned right around and played Indiana. It was a little chance for us to catch our breath after starting earlier than usual. In that regard, it was a blessing in disguise. Although, we would gladly have played the games in exchange for the awful events that led to the postponements.
We're anxious to get back on the field and get a home game under our belts. It will be a nice tuneup for our own tournament. It has a little bit of a rivalry flavor, as Seattle U. has a Washington state-based team.'
Preseason Accolades: Senior co-captain Bryn Ritchie (Medford, Ore.) has been selected as a preseason first team all-American by Collegesoccer.com. Ritchie, a defender, started every game for the Huskies in 2000. He finished his junior season with 17 points, on six goals and two assists. He scored the game-winning goal in a four-overtime victory against Alabama-Birmingham that put the Huskies in the second round of the tournament. He was named to the NCAA second team all-America squad following the season, as well as being selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team and All-Pac-10 Academic First Team.
Back-to-Back-to-Back: A victory at California, along with a UCLA win over Stanford back on Nov. 10 gave Washington the first-ever Pacific-10 Conference men's soccer championship following the 2000 season. While it was the first Pac-10 title for UW, it marks the third consecutive conference championship for the Huskies, who were coming off back-to-back Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles in 1998 and '99.
Fabulous Frosh: While a seven-player senior class leads the Huskies in their 2001 campaign, a talent-rich freshman class is making an immediate impact. Leading the way is Brett Wiesner (Brookfield, Wisc.), who scored the lone goal in Washington's upset of top-ranked Connecticut Sept. 3. He has started all four games thus far and is expected to be a fixture on the front line. Joining him in the starting lineup is C.J. Klaas of Cherry Valley, Ill., He also wasted little time in his collegiate debut, assisting on Washington's first goal of the season, against FDU. Both Klaas and Wiesner were Parade first team all-America honorees last year. Joe Birklid, a local product out of Buckley, Wash., also saw playing time against FDU. The freshman class is made up of six players and also includes Johnny Schefter, from the perennial power Solaris Club in Yakima, as well as Casey Armstrong, who played for current Husky assistant Seth Spidahl on FC United. Eric Touton joins the Huskies as a redshirt freshman after transfering from the University of San Francisco.
Husky Soccer in England: Washington broke new ground this summer as they took a preseason overseas trip to England for the first time. The Huskies enjoyed a 12-day, five-game tour that had the team facing reserves squads from some of the world's best known soccer franchises. They posted a record of 1-1-3 on the trip. Here is a scoring summary of the Huskies' tour through England:
England Tour Schedule and Results (1-1-3)Aug. 16 - UW 1, Everton Reserves 1 (Dayo Oyetuga goal, assisted by Seth Marsh)Aug. 20 - UW 2, Manchester City Reserves 2 (Bobby McAlister goal, assisted by Jake Sagare, Kyle Fukuchi goal, assisted by Billy Sleeth)Aug. 21 - UW 3, Blackburn Rovers Reserves 1 (CJ Klaas goal, penalty kick, Brett Wiesner goal, unassisted, Greg Foisie goal, assist Klaas)Aug. 22 - UW 3, Crewe Alexandra 3 (Brett Wiesner goal, assist Klaas, Greg Foisie goal, assist Klaas, Klaas goal, assist Wiesner)Aug. 23 - UW 2, West Ham 3 (Bobby McAlister goal, assisted by Jake Sagare, Zach Kingsley goal, unassisted)
Head Coach Dean Wurzberger: As he enters his 10th year at Washington, Dean Wurzberger is set to cap a decade of excellence which has seen him lead the Husky men's soccer program to unprecedented heights. Last year, on the heels of capturing the inaugural Pac-10 Conference championship, Wurzberger's program moved into elite territory, as one of only nine schools in the nation to earn a sixth straight berth to the NCAA Tournament.Since arriving at UW in 1992, Wurzberger has guided the Huskies to seven NCAA appearances in nine years. Washington won the first-ever Pac-10 league title in 2000, a third straight conference title after winning two consecutive MPSF championships.Wurzberger enters his 10th year at the helm of the Husky program with an impressive list of accomplishments. His 2000 squad tore through the initial year of Pac-10 play, posting an undefeated record on the road while recording upsets at perennial powers Stanford and UCLA.
2001 Preview: Tenth-year coach Dean Wurzberger has set the table for a championship run in 2001. A seven-player senior class, deep in experience, together with a veteran squad and what Wurzberger calls, 'perhaps the greatest recruiting class in the 34-year history of Husky soccer,' and the pieces are in place. Senior co-captains Bryn Ritchie and Ben Somoza highlight the large senior class that has been to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years. Add Jake Sagare, the team leader in shots with 47 last year, offensive threats Zach Kingsley, Trevor Frobose and Greg Foisie and defender Billy Sleeth and the senior class is stacked. The group has 215 career starts among it. Wurzberger hopes the proliferation of experience will answer one of the team's biggest challenges, that of finding a consistent goal scorer among the forwards. Ritchie and Somoza returns as the leading scorers with six goals apiece last year. Opportunity could come in the form of an emerging sophomore class and talented newcomers. The sophomore group, which began to emerge in the spring, includes midfielder Russ Cahill, defender Seth Marsh, forward Bobby McAlister, Jimmy Stark and in goal, Dan Waltman. ( 2001 Preview, continued) The freshman class is an exciting one, featuring a pair of two-time Parade all-Americans, who spent the summer as starters on the U-18 National Team, forward Brett Weisner (Brookfield, Wisc.) and midfielder C.J. Klaas (Cherry Valley, Ill.). Both are veteran national team players and competed for Wurzberger and Husky assistant coach Jimmy Gabriel on the U-16 team in 1998 and '99. On a Washington roster stocked with regional talent, their arrival marks the first time a pair of players from the Midwest has joined the team.
Looking Back at 2000: Last year, Washington rebounded from an 0-2 start to win eight of its next nine games, including four shutouts. The Huskies posted a ninth consecutive winning season and third consecutive conference championship. The Huskies won the inaugural Pacific-10 title in 2000, with a mark of 7-1-0 and an unblemished record on the road. The Huskies were rewarded with a home game in the NCAA first round where they took Alabama-Birmingham to four overtimes before winning the game. The Huskies met an old nemesis, Indiana, in the second round and were knocked out by the eventual Final Four participant. The team, which featured four seniors, finished with a record of 14-6-0 and saw junior defender Bryn Ritchie earn second team all-America honors and nine Huskies earn Pac-10 honors.New Faces: Former professional soccer player Seth Spidahl begins his first year on the Husky soccer staff.A native of Anchorage, Ak., Spidahl spent three years playing professional soccer for the Seattle SeaDogs, during which his team won the 1997 Continental Indoor Soccer League Championship. He was a four-year letterwinner as a defender at Pacific Lutheran University and as a sophomore helped guide the Lutes to the NAIA playoffs and a 14-6-2 record.Spidahl, 27, has been active in Seattle-area soccer at every level and most recently as the coaching director for F.C.United, a boys premier club team in Tacoma. He spent six years coaching within the F.C. United club ranks before being named director two years ago. During his tenure as coach, Spidahl guided his under-18 team, a club that featured current Husky defender Zac Tallman, to the 1999 national championship. He was an assistant coach at the University of Puget Sound for the 1999 and 2000 seasons and guided the UPS team to a 12-5-3 record last year. Prior to that, he spent one season as an assistant and two as head men's soccer coach at Tacoma Community College. His TCC teams won two division championships and finished as runners-up in the 1998 state tournament. Spidahl graduated magna cum laude from PLU in 1996. A science major with a 3.85 grade point average, he was a two-time NAIA Academic all-American and was named PLU Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior.
Postseason Tournament Field Expands: The NCAA Executive Committee announced recently it has approved the expansion of the fields for the Division I men's and women's soccer championships, effective with the 2001 tournaments. The men's bracket increased from 32 to 48 teams, while the women's bracket expanded from 48 to 64 teams. It is the first expansion for the men's tournament since the bracket was increased from 28 to 32 teams following the 1992 championship. The women's bracket was increased from 32 to 48 teams in 1998. In the men's championship, 20 conferences will receive automatic bids with the remaining 28 being awarded to at-large teams. There will be no play-in games for qualification. The Pacific-10 Conference champion does not receive an automatic berth to the tournament because only five schools in the league sponsor the sport (UW, OSU, UCLA, Stanford, California). Sixteen campus sites will host the first and second rounds of the men's tournament. Three teams will be selected to the 16 sites with the first round being played November 23. In the second round, the winning team of the first round will play the team with the first-round bye on November 25. The third round will be played the weekend of December 1-2, and the quarterfinals will be played December 8-9. The 2001 NCAA Men's College Cup will be played December 14 and 16 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.