Pac-12 Men's Soccer boasts pair of top-5 teams
SAN FRANCISCO – Pac-12 men’s soccer returns to action with a trio of non-league matches after concluding the first half of conference play last week. The Conference currently boasts a pair of top-5 teams in No. 2 WASHINGTON and No. 5 STANFORD, marking the first time since November 2014 that the Pac-12 produced a simultaneous pair of top-5 squads (No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 UCLA).
WEEKLY RECAP: Washington (11-1-0) kept rolling with a 2-1 victory over Oregon State (5-5-1, 2-2-1) on Sunday, good for the Huskies’ seventh-straight victory. Seniors Ryan DeGroot and Jaret Townsend both notched goals for UW, finding the back of the net in the 35th and 55th minute, respectively. Adrian Crespo’s 85th-minute goal for the Beavers snapped the Huskies’ home shutout streak at 535 minutes. Washington still improved to 6-0-0 at home and 5-0-0 in conference play for a five-point cushion atop the league table at the halfway mark.
Stanford picked up a pair of 1-0 road victories last week to improve to 9-1-2 overall and 3-1-1 in league play. Thursday’s action saw the Cardinal break through in the 81st minute against UCLA (5-5-2) as Charlie Wehan bagged the game-winner on assists from Jared Gilbey and Ousseni Bouda. It was Wehan’s third goal of the 2019 campaign that secured Stanford’s seventh-straight victory over the Bruins. Bouda would go on to secure his own game-winner on Sunday against San Diego State (3-7-1, 0-5-1) to solidify the Southern California road sweep for the Cardinal. The freshman now leads Stanford with 12 points (4 goals, 4 assists) on the year.
CALIFORNIA (6-3-2, 2-2-1) kicked off its week with a 4-0 victory over San Diego State on Wednesday behind goals from four different Golden Bears. The victory was No. 202 for head coach Kevin Grimes in Berkeley, moving him into a tie with Bob DiGrazia for the most wins in Cal history. The Golden Bears finished up their road trip at UCLA on Sunday as the teams fought to a 3-3 draw. Milan Iloski picked up his national-best 15th goal while Riley Ferch notched a pair of assists to move to a tie atop the Conference rankings with seven helpers. The Bears were aided by a pair of goals from Jonathan Estrada, who is now tied with Tommy Williamson for the team lead with five goals on the year.
NON-CONFERENCE PROWESS: Pac-12 men’s soccer has compiled a 26-9-5 record in non-conference play thus far in 2019. The league’s .714 non-conference winning percentage is good for the second-best mark across all conferences, trailing only the ACC (62-9-10, .827).
PAC-12 AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Included in the Pac-12’s 26-9-5 non-conference record is a 4-2-1 mark against Top 25 opponents:
- Stanford at then-No. 3 Akron (W, 2-1) – Monday, Sept. 2
- UCLA vs. then-No. 3 Maryland (W, 3-2) – Friday, Sept. 6
- Washington at then-No. 16 Michigan State (W, 1-0) – Friday, Sept. 6
- Washington vs. then-No. 18 Denver (W, 2-1) – Friday, Aug. 30
- California vs. then-No. 25 UC Irvine (D, 1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 1
PAC-12 IN NATIONAL RANKS: After a victory over Oregon State on Sunday, Washington has maintained its No. 2 position on the United Soccer Coaches national poll. This is the second-straight week at No. 2 for the Huskies, good for UW’s highest ranking since being named the top-ranked team in the nation in the Oct. 14, 2014 edition of the poll. Stanford checked in at No. 5 in the national ranks, marking the eighth-straight week the Cardinal has landed in the top 10 this season.
PREVIEWING THE WEEK: This week’s action features a three-match slate of non-conference contests, including a pair of ranked opponents. (Tuesday, Oct. 16 – Friday, Oct. 18).
No. 2 Washington kicks things off with a matchup against in-state rival Gonzaga (1-7-1) on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. PT. The match will be televised on Pac-12 Washington. The Huskies are riding a seven-game winning streak and have allowed just a pair of goals over the stretch of victories. UW holds a 30-1-1 all-time record over the Bulldogs and has won the last 10 matches in the series. Gonzaga picked up a 1-1 preseason draw against Washington on Aug. 27.
The Bruins host No. 16 San Diego (9-1-1) on Thursday evening with the first whistle scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT. The match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Los Angeles. This is the fifth-straight home match for UCLA as the Bruins look to continue their three-game unbeaten (2-0-1) streak in non-conference play. San Diego is currently unbeaten in its last five matches (4-0-1), jumping seven spots from last week’s national ranks. This is the fourth nationally-ranked non-conference opponent for the Bruins in 2019 as UCLA took on then-top-10 opponents Indiana, Maryland, and Georgetown earlier in the season. UCLA improved to 24-8-4 all-time over the Toreros with a 2-0 victory at the Wallis Annenberg Stadium home opener on Aug. 28, 2018.
Friday’s action features the first-ever meeting between San Diego State and No. 21 Marshall (8-1-2). The Aztecs will host the match at the SDSU Sports Deck at 7:00 p.m. PT. SDSU is 3-1-1 in its last five non-league games while the Thundering Herd has already matched its win total from 2018 with eight victories on the year.
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stanford forward/midfielder Ousseni Bouda won Pac-12 Men’s Soccer Player of the Week. He assisted on the game-winner at UCLA on Thursday night and then scored the winner, himself, at San Diego State on Sunday afternoon. The freshman began the sequence which led to Charlie Wehan’s goal in Westwood to deliver the Cardinal a 1-0 victory over the Bruins (Oct. 10). He then scored the deciding goal from 25 yards out early in the second half against SDSU (Oct. 13), securing the 1-0 win at SDSU on Sunday. Bouda is now tied for the team lead in goals (4) and leads Stanford in points (12) through the first 12 games of the season. This is the first-career weekly honor for Bouda. This Stanford’s second men’s soccer weekly nod of the year, bringing the Cardinal’s all-time men’s soccer weekly total to 36.
STAT CENTRAL: UCLA’s Milan Iloski is the national leader in goals scored (15) and points (32). Iloski’s five goals against San Diego State (Oct. 6) were good for the most scored in a game by any player in the country this season. Oregon State midfielders Adrian Crespo (7) and Sofiane Djeffal (5) have combined for 12 assists on the year as the Beavers are the only team in the Conference with a pair of student-athletes with at least five assists on the year. Crespo and UCLA’s Riley Ferch lead the Conference and are tied for seventh in the country with seven assists on the year. Lucas Meek’s game-winning header for Washington against Stanford on Oct. 3 was his fifth game-winning goal of the season, good for a tie for the national lead in the category.
UCLA has played the 10th-hardest schedule in the nation in 2019 with a combined 76-39-20 (.637) opponent record and matchups against three top-six teams this season. Washington has posted a .667 shutout percentage this season, tied for the third-best in the country. Stanford’s Sept. 2 victory over then No. 3 Akron moved the Cardinal to 4-0-2 in its last six matches against top-five opponents.
FRESHMAN PHENOMS: Pac-12 men’s soccer freshmen have already impressed in their debut collegiate seasons. Despite only making four starts in 2019, San Diego State freshman forward Hunter George has already tallied five goals on the year, good for the team lead and tied for the third-best mark in the Conference. First-year forwards Gabe Segal and Ousseni Bouda are tied for the Stanford lead with four goals in 2019. Segal scored in three straight matches from Sept. 15 – Sept. 24, including the game-winner in his first Big Clásico against Cal, while Bouda picked up the game-winner in the Cardinal’s 1-0 victory over San Diego State (Oct. 13).
Freshman goalkeeper Sam Fowler has recorded six starts for Washington this year and posted five clean sheets, compiling 11 total saves. His .917 save percentage is good for the best mark in the Pac-12. The Huskies have outscored opponents 17-1 in the six games in which Fowler has directed the back line.
COACHING MILESTONES ACHIEVED, INCOMING: Cal head coach Kevin Grimes (202-134-44) notched his 200th-career victory in Berkeley with the Golden Bears’ 2-0 win over San Francisco on Sept. 28. He became just the second head coach in Cal history to reach 200, now needing just one more win to eclipse Bob DiGrazia (202-133-9) and become the Golden Bears’ all-time winningest head coach.
Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn (105-30-25) recorded his 100th-career victory at Stanford with the team’s 2-0 win over Denver (Sept. 13). Gunn is just the second to reach the 100-win milestone at Stanford as Fred Priddle went 133-119-23 from 1954-75. In just seven full seasons at the helm, Gunn has guided the Cardinal to five-straight Pac-12 titles and three NCAA Championships. Washington’s Jamie Clark (110-43-20) also reached the 100-win milestone earlier this season in the Huskies’ season-opening win over then No. 18 Denver (Aug. 30). He became only the third coach in program history to achieve the milestone and has since moved into second place on the all-time wins list with UW’s victory over UCLA (Sept. 22).
PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM: Pac-12 men’s soccer head coaches selected the Preseason All-Conference Team, a squad fully composed of 2018 All-Pac-12 honorees. Reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year Tanner Beason headlines the team as the anchor of the Cardinal back four, while Stanford’s goalkeeper Andrew Thomas was selected following a Conference-best 82 saves in 2018. Two-time first team All-Pac-12 honoree Blake Bodily leads the Huskies’ trio of representatives, while reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Sofiane Djeffal was voted to the team along with sophomore forward Gloire Amanda for Oregon State. A pair of redshirt seniors, forward Pablo Pelaez (SDSU) and defender Matthew Powell (UCLA), round out the Preseason All-Conference team after All-Pac-12 second team honors in 2018.
NATIONAL HONORS: Beason and Bodily were named to the 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious honor in collegiate soccer and is awarded annual to the most outstanding male and female players. The winners of the Trophy will be announced in January in St. Louis, Mo., at the Missouri Athletic Club’s annual banquet.
PAC-12 POSTSEASON HISTORY: The Pac-12 placed at least four programs into the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the past six seasons and the eighth time since it began sponsoring the sport with just five teams in 2000 (San Diego State added as sixth member in 2005). UCLA (four) and Stanford (three) have combined for seven NCAA Men’s Soccer titles, highlighted by the Cardinal’s recent streak of three-consecutive crowns from 2015-17. The Bruins and Cardinal have accounted for 17 of the Conference’s all-time top-4 finishes at the NCAA Tournament, including nine College Cup appearances between the two programs (Stanford 5, UCLA 4) over the past 18 seasons.
|San Diego State||0-5-0||3-7-1|