Washington new No. 1 as second half of Conference season kicks off

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SAN FRANCISCO – WASHINGTON was voted the No. 1 team in the country in the latest United Soccer Coaches national poll, receiving 21 of a possible 24 first-place votes to secure the top spot for the first time since 2014. With STANFORD’s No. 1 designation in the Sept. 24, 2019 edition of the poll, this is the first time since 2015 that a pair of Pac-12 teams held the top spot in the national ranks in the same year (Stanford, Dec. 15; UCLA, Sept. 1).

PREVIEWING THE WEEK: This week’s six-match slate (Tuesday, Oct. 22 – Sunday, Oct. 27) features a pair of non-conference matches as well as a return to league play as the second half of the Conference schedule kicks off.

CALIFORNIA (6-3-2, 2-2-1) looks to extend its unbeaten road (2-0-1) record Tuesday evening (7:00 p.m. PT) with a matchup against Portland in what could be an historic game for Golden Bears’ head coach Kevin Grimes. Grimes (202-134-44) needs just one more win to pass Bob DiGrazia and become Cal’s all-time winningest head coach. The Bears secured a 2-1 victory in overtime in their last meeting with the Pilots on Sept. 9, 2017.

Wednesday’s action features a Bay Area derby as No. 5 Stanford hosts San Francisco at 7:00 p.m. PT in a non-conference affair on Pac-12 Network. The Cardinal is 6-0-1 in non-league play this year and shut out the then-No. 16 Dons, 2-0, in the last meeting between the teams on Sept. 7, 2018.

Thursday marks a return to league play for Pac-12 men’s soccer with a pair of Conference matchups. UCLA first hosts No. 1 Washington at 5:00 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network. The Bruins look to avenge a 5-0 defeat to the Huskies in Seattle in late September while UW hopes to extend its eight-game winning streak. The second match of the Conference doubleheader will feature OREGON STATE (5-5-1, 2-2-1) and SAN DIEGO STATE (7:00 p.m. PT) at the SDSU Sports Deck. Oregon State downed the Aztecs, 2-1, in the teams’ first meeting this year behind a game-winning header from Steffan Yeates.

This week’s slate wraps up with a pair of Sunday afternoon matches. The Aztecs welcome the Huskies at 2:30 p.m. PT with UW looking to secure a season sweep over SDSU. Goals from Lucas Meek and Blake Bodily were good for a 2-0 victory for the Huskies on Sept. 22. UCLA hosts Oregon State at 3:00 p.m. PT in the final match of the week. The Beavers shut out the Bruins in Corvallis in the teams’ first meeting (Sept. 22) behind goals from Joel Walker and Sofiane Djeffal.

PAC-12 IN NATIONAL RANKS: After a 4-0 victory over Gonzaga on Wednesday, Washington was voted the No. 1 team in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches national poll. This is the first time UW has been selected the top-ranked team in the nation since being tabbed No. 1 in the Oct. 14, 2014 edition of the poll. Stanford checked in at No. 5 in the national ranks for the second-straight week, marking the ninth-consecutive week the Cardinal has landed in the top 10 this season. This is the first time since Sept. 30 – Oct. 7, 2014 that the Pac-12 produced a pair of top-5 teams in consecutive weeks (UCLA: 2,2 – Washington 5,1).

PAC-12 IN NCAA RPI RANKINGS: Pac-12 men’s soccer is led by Washington and Stanford in the 2019 NCAA RPI rankings as the Huskies and Cardinal rank sixth and 12th, respectively. UCLA is currently 40th in the ranks while Cal just missed the top 50 by a spot at No. 51.

WEEKLY RECAP: No. 1 Washington (12-1-0) kept rolling with a 4-0 victory over in-state rival Gonzaga on Wednesday. The win moved the Huskies to 7-0-0 at home and extended their winning streak to eight games, the third-longest streak in the country. UW secured goals from four different players, including junior midfielder Blake Bodily, who notched a goal and an assist to earn Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. Freshman goalkeeper Sam Fowler recorded 82 shutout minutes before giving way to redshirt sophomore Andrew Morrison to secure the clean sheet.

UCLA (5-6-2, 1-3-1) and San Diego State (3-8-1, 0-5-0) both fell to ranked opponents last week. UCLA fell to then-No. 16 San Diego on Thursday evening with Marcony Pimentel bagging a goal in the 18th minute for the Bruins. The Aztecs were tied with then-No. 21 Marshall at halftime but couldn’t hold on for a result.

NON-CONFERENCE PROWESS: Pac-12 men’s soccer has compiled a 27-11-5 record in non-conference play thus far in 2019. The league’s .686 non-conference winning percentage is good for the third-best mark across all conferences, trailing only the ACC (66-11-11, .813) and Big East (55-22-4, .704).

PAC-12 AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Included in the Pac-12’s 27-11-5 non-conference record are four victories and a draw 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 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Washington midfielder Blake Bodily won men’s soccer player of the week. The junior assisted on the match-winner and scored another goal later in the first half in Washington’s 4-0 win over Gonzaga, helping to extend UW’s winning streak to eight games. After a great run down the left side, Bodily delivered a perfect low cross into the box and Gio Miglietti sent it home for an easy finish in the 15th minute. He then notched his own goal just before halftime with a finish off his hip for his fifth goal of the 2019 campaign. He now leads the Huskies and ranks second in the Pac-12 with 15 points (5 goals, 5 assists). He has recorded points in eight of 11 matches this season. This is the first-career weekly honor for Bodily and the 38th all-time men’s soccer weekly nod for Washington.

STAT CENTRAL: UCLA’s Milan Iloski is tied for the national lead in goals scored (15) and is second in points (32). Iloski leads the country in points per game (1.25) and his 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. Washington goalkeeper Sam Fowler is the national leader in goals against average (.145) and save percentage (.917). Oregon State’s Adrian Crespo and UCLA’s Riley Ferch lead the Conference and are tied for 12th 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 second-hardest schedule in the nation in 2019 with a combined 72-47-21 (.637) opponent record and matchups against three top-six teams this season. Washington has posted a .692 shutout percentage this season, tied for the second-best mark 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: Freshman goalkeeper Sam Fowler has recorded seven starts for Washington this year and posted six clean sheets, compiling 11 total saves. His .145 goals against average and .917 save percentage are both good for the best mark in the country. The Huskies have outscored opponents 21-1 in the six games in which Fowler has directed the back line. 

Pac-12 men’s soccer freshmen have already impressed in their debut collegiate seasons. Despite only making five 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).

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 (105-31-24) 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 annually 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.

STANDINGS:

Team Conference Record Overall Record
1. Washington 5-0-0 12-1-0
2. Stanford 3-1-1 9-1-2
3. California 2-2-1 6-3-2
4. Oregon State 2-2-1 5-5-1
5. UCLA 1-3-1 5-6-2
6. San Diego State 0-5-0 3-8-1

 

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