UW Hosts Exhibition With Sounders, Opens Season At Nike Portland Invite

Aug. 26, 2008

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Wed., Aug. 27, 2008 • Exhibition
Seattle Sounders at Washington • 7 p.m. • Husky Soccer Field
Live scoring at GoHuskies.com

Nike Portland Invitational
Portland, Ore. • Merlo Field
Fri., Aug. 29 - Washington (0-0-0) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (0-0-0) • 4:30 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 31 - Washington (0-0-0) vs. #10/#20 Virginia Tech (0-0-0) • 12 p.m.

This Week:
The 2008 season is gearing up for the Washington men's soccer team, as the Huskies host their second and final exhibition contest on Wed., Aug. 27, before heading south to make their official debut at the Nike Portland Invitational this weekend. After defeating Seattle University, 2-0, in its first exhibition, UW will have one more preseason tuneup entertaining the Seattle Sounders for a 7 p.m. match Wednesday at Husky Soccer Field. The Huskies will then head to Portland, Ore., to face Fairleigh Dickinson on Fri., Aug. 29, at 4:30 p.m. and Virginia Tech on Sun., Aug. 31, at 12 p.m. The Huskies will need to get used to playing on the road as the first five official matches of the season will take place away from Husky Soccer Field. After the Portland tournament this weekend, Washington will travel to Furman, S.C. for the Diadora/Spinx Furman Invitational (Sept. 5 and 7) and then back to Portland for a contest with their Northwest rival on Sept. 12. The Huskies will make their official home debut hosting the Husky Fever Classic, Sept. 19 and 21.

Former UW Standouts Highlight Sounders Roster:
A few familiar faces could be returning to Husky Soccer Field when the Sounders and Washington battle in exhibition play Wednesday. Featured on the Sounders' roster are former UW standouts and Husky alums Chris Eylander and Kevin Forrest who both rank among some of Washington's all-time best. Forrest, who finished his tenure as recently as last season, was one of the nation's top goal-scorers in his final two seasons in purple and gold before his career was cut short by a mid-season injury in 2007. Forrest was a preseason candidate for the 2007 Hermann Trophy, was a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 player, the 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a first-team All-Region honoree. His 16 goals and 33 points during the 2006 season rank fourth and eighth on UW's all-time list. Eylander, who finished his UW career in 2005, holds strong in the Husky record books ranking fourth all-time in saves (187), tied for third in shutouts (18) and fifth in goals against average (1.11). He was also a two-time All-Pac-10 player.

In the Rankings:
In the preseason polls, Washington received votes in the Soccer Times Top-25 rankings and was tabbed 32nd according to Top Drawer Soccer. The Huskies were not ranked in the preseason NSCAA, Soccer America or College Soccer News polls.

2008 Season Preview:
Washington is eager to take the pitch for the first time this season, returning nine starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's squad that advanced as far as the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second-consecutive season. Leading the way for UW will be senior midfielders George John and Raphael Cox. John and Cox were named to the 2007 All-Pac-10 first and second-teams, respectively. John, a two-time NSCAA All-Region selection as well, has already garnered national acclaim being tabbed to the 2008 Hermann Trophy Watch List as well. John will share the co-captain duties with junior goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins who missed most of last season due to injury. With Hawkins and redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Stephen Fung, the Huskies have the luxury of having two netminders with starting experience as Fung took over the post when Hawkins went down four matches into last season. Additional returners looking to contribute will be junior defender Casey Cunningham, junior midfielder Taylor Hoss, sophomore defenders Taylor Mueller and Brad Keller, and sophomore midfielder/forward Matt Van Houten. Junior midfielder Jo Jo Katz is another player back from injury after missing 2007 with a torn ACL. True freshmen looking ready to make their mark are forward Brent Richards and midfielders Casey McCool and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes.

Wurzberger Nearing Another Milestone:
Dean Wurzberger, in his 17th season at the helm of the Husky men's soccer program, needs just four more victories to reach the 200-win milestone as UW head coach. Wurzberger already achieved the 200-career mark last season. Wurzberger was the head coach at Sacramento State for one season (1985) before taking over the reins at Washington. His career record stands at 204-99-37, while his UW record is 196-91-32. Under Wurzberger's guidance, the Huskies have reached the NCAA Tournament 12 times and annually rank among the nation's top teams.

Huskies Down Seattle U 2-0 In Exhibition Opener:
Washington used goals from freshman Dylan Tucker-Gangnes and redshirt-freshman Jamie Finch to shutout Seattle University, 2-0, in a men's soccer exhibition contest at Husky Soccer Field, last Friday. After a scoreless first-half, the Huskies put up both of their goals in the second period, the first by Tucker-Gangnes in the 54th minute and the second by Finch in the 86th minute. The contest is the first of two exhibitions the Huskies will play before their official season opener versus Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the Nike Portland Invitational, Aug. 29. It was a pair of true freshmen making their Husky debuts who teamed up to net the first UW goal, as freshman Casey McCool served a cross from the right side of the box which was headed by Tucker-Gangnes into the net past Redhawk goalkeeper Emerson DeOliveira. Just over 30 minutes later, the Huskies sealed the win when junior midfielder Taylor Cochran dished the ball to Finch on the left wing who then nailed a shot across the box into the goal. Sophomore Stephen Fung and junior Rylan Hawkins shared time in goal to combine for the shutout. Fung tallied three saves, all in the first half. The contest marked the fall debut for Hawkins, who after starting the first four games last season missed the rest of the year due to injury.

Scouting Fairleigh Dickinson:
The Knights will make their season debut in Portland this weekend, traveling all the way from Teaneck, N.J. Friday's meeting marks the second time UW has faced Fairleigh Dickinson, the first being a 3-2 Husky win in overtime at the 2001 UConn Soccer Classic. The Knights tallied a 4-10-3 overall record last season, including a 2-5-2 mark in the Northeast Conference. Fairleigh Dickinson was picked to finish eighth in the Preseason NEC Coaches Poll. The Knights are led by junior forward Samson Malijani who was a first-team all-league selection in 2007.

Scouting Virginia Tech:
The Hokies pose an early test for the Huskies as they begin the season with a national ranking of 10th according to the preseason NSCAA poll. Last year, Virginia Tech finished in a three-way for third-place in the ACC, went 14-4-5 and earned its first-ever College Cup appearance with a trip to the NCAA semifinals. The Hokies have advanced to the NCAA Tournament the last three years and four times in the last six seasons. Sunday marks the first meeting between Washington and Virginia Tech.

John Named To Hermann Trophy Watch List:
Senior midfielder George John was one of 48 Division I men's soccer players named to the 2008 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy Watch List, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced Aug. 19. The Hermann Trophy is considered soccer's top collegiate individual honor. A two-year co-captain for Washington, John is a two-time NSCAA All-Far West Region and two-time All-Pac-10 honoree. He was a first-team All-Pac-10 team member in 2007, helping the Huskies to their second-straight trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. John has also excelled in the classroom, earning NSCAA Scholar All-American status last year and is a two-time Pac-10 all-academic selection. The recipients of the MAC Hermann Trophy are selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. A list of 15 semifinalists is selected by a coaches committee in November with three finalists announced in early December. They will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., for a news conference on Jan. 9, 2009, where the winner will be announced, with a presentation banquet following. John is the second-straight Husky named to the list as forward Kevin Forrest was tabbed as a preseason candidate last season. Husky standout C.J. Klaas was a semifinalist for the award in 2003 and 2004.

Huskies Projected To Finish Fourth In Pac-10 Coaches' Poll:
Washington was predicted to finish fourth in this season's Pac-10 standings according to a vote of the league's coaches the conference office announced, Aug. 13. California, coming off back-to-back Pac-10 championships, was picked to win a third-straight crown, followed by UCLA, Stanford, the Huskies, San Diego State and Oregon State. Cal received four first-place votes with the other two going to UCLA and Stanford. Washington was one of three Pac-10 squads to earn a spot in last year's NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, advancing as far as the second round for the second-straight season. The Huskies compiled an overall record of 9-8-4 and finished fifth in the league with a 3-4-3 tally.

Dawg Bite:
UW has not lost a season opener since 2000 (at Creighton, 0-2)...the Huskies are 5-0-2 in openers since then.

Fab Frosh:
The Washington men's soccer incoming recruiting class was ranked 32nd in the nation according to CollegeSoccerNews.com, the website announced. The Huskies' incoming freshmen group includes goalkeeper Brooks Hopp from Seattle who was tabbed one of '100 Freshmen To Keep an Eye On' this season by CSN. Headlining the class is also Brent Richards, a forward from Camas who was named the 2008 Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington. Additional freshmen who could make an impact on the squad right away include midfielders Casey McCool from Bend, Ore., and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes from Bainbridge Island, Wash. Two other Pac-10 squads joined Washington in the CSN rankings with UCLA at No. 8 and California at No. 20.

2007 Season Review:
In 2007, Washington finished the season with a 9-8-4 overall record and placed fifth in the Pac-10 (3-4-3). The Huskies earned an NCAA Tournament berth for the 11th time in 13 years and advanced as far as the second round for the second-straight season. UW downed Portland 1-0 in a first-round match in Seattle, the gamewinner coming from an Ely Allen penalty kick. The Huskies traveled to Southern California to face the defending champs UC Santa Barbara, falling for the second-straight year by a one-goal deficit (1-0). Season highlights included UW notching the program's 500th all-time victory and head coach Dean Wurzberger winning his 200th career game. For the second-straight season, a Husky was tabbed Pac-10 Player of the Year - an honor going to Allen who shared the award with Cal's Andrew Jacobson. Allen was also named to the All-Pac-10 first-team, was a College Soccer News second-team All-American and earned NSCAA All-Far West Region honors. George John was also named to the All-Far West Region team. Washington's great tradition of sending players to the professional ranks continued with Ely Allen being selected in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft by the L.A. Galaxy. Kevin Forrest, whose senior year was cut short due to injury, was picked up by Colorado in the MLS Supplemental Draft.

Head Coach Dean Wurzberger:
Husky coach Dean Wurzberger is in his 17th 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 nearly two decades 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 11 times in the last 13 years, including a school-record Sweet 16 trip in 2003. His record at Washington seasons stands at a stellar 196-91-32 (.665).

Ticket Information:
Tickets for all Husky home matches are on sale now either online at gohuskies.com or by calling the Husky Ticket Office at 206-543-2200. Tickets may also be purchased at the field on game day. Individual tickets prices are $6 for adults, $4 for children/seniors and $3 for groups of 15 or more purchased in advance.

Up Next:
The Huskies head to Furman, S.C., to play in the Diadora/Spinx Furman Invitational. UW will face College of Charleston (Sept. 5, 1:30 p.m. PT) and the host Paladins (Sept. 7, 10:30 a.m. PT).

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