2014 WAC Men's Soccer Preview
Air Force Falcons
|Head Coach: Doug Hill (Air Force, '83) - Video
|2013 Record: 4-11-5 (3-2-5 WAC, T-4th)||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3||Roster|
Air Force enters its second year in the WAC in men’s soccer since rejoining the conference prior to the 2013 season.
Air Force tied for the Mountain Division title last season with a 3-2-5 league record after a winless non-conference slate.
Air Force plays service-academy rivals Army and Navy in the same season for the first time since 2008.
Eight starters return for the 2014 season led by Ryan Ward with four goals, Zachary Modly with three goals and two assists and Blake Elder with two goals and four assists last season for the Falcons.
80 percent of the team’s points and 78 percent of the team’s goals return for the 2014 season.
Six of the top seven scorers return from last season.
Two of the top three scorers last season were freshmen (Ryan Ward and Blake Elder).
|Head Coach: Richie Grant (Green Mt. College, '93) - Video
|2013 Record: 9-9-2 (6-3-1 WAC, 2nd)||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 6/5||Roster|
Two-time Conference USA Coach of the Year Richie Grant was named the new head coach of Bakersfield men’s soccer program on Jan. 14, 2014. Grant became the fourth head coach of Bakersfield men’s soccer and just the second since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks.
Redshirt senior Joe Masumiya was chosen second team All-Conference in 2013. Masumiya named to the All-Tournament team at the 2013 Copa de Causeway Tournament.
Masumiya started every match last season and led Bakersfield in points (14) and assists (4). He tied with David Velasquez for second on the team in goals (5).
Masumiya has started 33 consecutive matches dating back to the start of the 2012 season.
Redshirt junior Anthony Perez started the majority of the games as the Bakersfield goalie a year ago. The WAC Defensive Player of the Week ending Sept. 8, Perez was 7-7-2 and recorded 81 saves last season.
Although the majority of the Roadrunner roster is comprised from California, Bakersfield does have players from three different states and three different countries.
Bakersfield will open the 2014 season at San Diego State of the Pac-12. The Roadrunners will play teams from six different conferences prior to the start of the WAC campaign Oct. 4 against San Jose State.
Grand Canyon Antelopes
|Head Coach: Petar Draksin (Glendale, '85) - Video
|2013 Record: 4-14-1 (2-8 WAC, 8th)||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 5/6||Roster|
Last season, Kyle Ciliento broke GCU’s career scoring record with 56 goals during his time with the Antelopes. Ciliento was named WAC Offensive Player of the Week after scoring twice to give the Lopes their first-ever Division I win in their season-opener at Omaha on Aug. 30.
Alberto Sanchez Garcia was GCU’s first-ever men’s soccer player to be named to the postseason All-WAC team, garnering first team honors after starting 18 games and collecting five goals and two assists.
GCU returns 11 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including five starters. Alberto Sanchez Garcia was the second leading scorer for the Lopes with five goals last season, while returners Yared Solscheid, Ante Spajic, and Amer Sasivarevic combined to make 50 starts.
Goalkeeper Felipe Reyes started each of GCU’s final three games last season, collecting 15 saves during that time. He allowed just one goal in nearly 200 minutes over his first two starts, which came on Nov. 8 versus Air Force and Nov. 10 at Incarnate Word. The Lopes won the latter game with just 10 seconds to go in the second overtime period.
In 1996, GCU won the NCAA Division II National Championship, beating Oakland University (MI) 3-1 in the championship game to cap a 12-4-5 season.
Won five Pacific West Conference titles in seven seasons as members of the conference.
Houston Baptist Huskies
|Head Coach: Steve Jones (Judson College, '93) - Video
|2013 Record: 9-7-2 (4-4-2 WAC, T-4th)||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3||Roster|
HBU returns leading scorer, Tobenna Uzo, who was second in the conference with 22 points and 1.22 points per game, but the Huskies lose Kristopher Tyrpak to graduation. Tyrpak finished his career with the Huskies ranked seventh in career points (56) and third in career assists (20) and was drafted in the MLS Super Draft by Chivas USA.
HBU will also look to replace three defenders due to graduation, including Walter Kromholz, who is the program leader with 5,872 career minutes played. Kromholz, Kyle Herbison, and John McDuffee combined for 38 points.
Two of sophomore Stefan Lamanna’s three goals last season were game winners.
The Huskies return their goalkeeper, senior Kevin Suarez, who went 4-4-2 with a 1.55 goals-against average and two shutouts. Typically used as a midfielder, junior George Kelley was placed in goal when Suarez was injured and fared well, as he went 5-3-0 with a 1.76 GAA.
Kelley nearly earned his first goalkeeping shutout in a 2-1 win at IUPUI, where he allowed a goal with just 13 minutes to go. He stopped a career-high six shots.
HBU men’s soccer enters its 21st season in 2014. The program began in 1979 and lasted until 1990. The program was resurrected in 2006 with current head coach, Steve Jones, at the helm.
Incarnate Word Cardinals
|Head Coach: Vince Martinez (Fresno State, '91) - Video
|2013 Record: 6-8-1||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 5/6||Roster|
This is the first season for the Cardinals as a member of an NCAA Division I conference. Last year, the team competed as an independent going 6-8-1 while playing all but two games away from home.
Head coach Vince Martinez is 35-15-1 in his three seasons with UIW. He led the team to a pair of DII playoff appearances, including an Elite 8 finish in 2012, in his first two years.
The Cardinals return three of their top four goal scorers from a year ago. Victor Pinal and Alex de la Garza tied for the team lead with five goals while Ben Conway tallied three goals as a true freshman.
UIW and GCU are both in the transitional phase of NCAA DI membership. Both schools played their final games as members of DII on the campus of GCU in the 2012 NCAA playoffs as both lost to Simon Fraser. Last year, GCU traveled to UIW and won 2-1 in overtime when they scored with 10 seconds remaining in the second overtime period.
The Cardinals will be a new group this year after graduating one of the best classes in the program’s history that included a pair of All-Americans and four-year starters in Vinnie Bailey and James Nero.
The Cardinals have had a pipeline of players coming from the UK and this year is no different with five players hailing from the United Kingdom.
Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos
|Head Coach: Rick Benben (SIUE, '73) - Video
|2013 Record: 4-11-4 (3-6-1 WAC, T-6th)||Complete Schedule|
The Kangaroos enter their second season in the WAC.
UMKC returns 78 percent of its scoring from 2013, led by seniors Jordan Rideout and Tato Chiaparro.
The ‘Roos returned nine starters, but added 11 newcomers (7 transfers) to bolster the lineup in every position.
Jordan Rideout enters the season ranked No. 2 all-time at UMKC in goals, needing eight this year to match Bryan Perez’s mark of 29.
Missouri-Kansas City was granted a waiver from the NCAA this summer that gave team MVP Guerrero Pino two additional years of eligibility, making him a junior this season. He will have to sit out the first 10 games of this season though.
In games that UMKC allowed one or fewer goals last season, the ‘Roos were 4-3-3.
At one point the ‘Roos were 3-1-1 in WAC play last year, but ended the season on a six-game skid.
|Head Coach: Rich Ryerson (UNLV, '87) - Video
|2013 Record: 7-10-2||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2||Roster|
The Rebels return nine starters from a year ago and only lose a total of four players off last year’s squad. UNLV ranks fifth in the nation in career starts by active players with 345.
For the first time since the 1991 season, the Rebels have four returning all-conference players (forward Salvador Bernal, midfielder Rodrigo Fuentes, defender Kyle Mellies, goalkeeper Ryan Harding).
Bernal highlights the returnees. The senior and Las Vegas native has a chance to become the first four-time first-team all-conference player in UNLV history if he makes the team again as a senior. Another key returnee is Ryan Harding, who after missing 2012 with cancer treatments and five games in 2013, will be available for the entire season in 2014. Harding posted four solo shutouts and a 1.22 GAA in his 13 games.
UNLV will feature 13 players from the Las Vegas/Henderson area.
The Rebels will face four NCAA tournament teams from a year ago (at Bradley, vs UMBC, vs. UC Irvine, at Seattle).
UNLV will open its schedule with a first-ever trip to the state of Illinois, taking on Western Illinois (Aug. 29) and Bradley (Aug. 31) in the Bradley Tournament in Peoria, Ill.
San Jose State Spartans
|Head Coach: Simon Tobin (Nonington, '83) - Video
|2013 Record: 4-13-4 (3-6-1 WAC, T-6th)||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 11/0||Roster|
Members of the WAC from 1996-99, the Spartans returned in 2013 and enter their sixth season overall in the conference.
San Jose State returns 89 percent of its goal scoring output from 2013.
Head Coach Simon Tobin, in his first season guiding the Spartans, is just the third head coach the program has had in the last 60 years.
Of its 19 opponents on the 2014 schedule, the Spartans have a winning record against 10, tied versus one, a losing record against three and have are facing five for the first time.
Sophomore Rory Knibbs, an All-WAC selection in 2013, returns as the team’s leading goal scorer and third most prolific at finding the back of the net the conference.
Knibbs, Manny Espinosa and Jamison Loveless, each an All-WAC Tournament selection in 2013, return in 2014.
Seattle U Redhawks
|Head Coach: Pete Fewing (Washington, '84) - Video
|2013 Record: 11-9-4 (7-0-3 WAC, 1st)||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4||Roster|
The Redhawks won both the WAC regular season and tournament titles, going undefeated, in 2013.
Coach Pete Fewing was named WAC Coach of the Year while Miguel Gonzalez was named Offensive Player of the Year and Kyle Bjornethun was named Freshman of the Year.
SU defeated Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2013, becoming the first Seattle U men’s team to win an NCAA DI tournament game since men’s basketball defeated Utah State on Mar. 14, 1964.
In the final postseason version of the men’s DI Top Drawer Soccer Top 25, the Redhawks earned a spot at No. 25.
The Redhawks’ tournament win at Creighton handed the Bluejays just their second NCAA Tournament loss at home in the 11-year history of Morrison Stadium. It also snapped two straight years in which Creighton advanced to the Final Four.
Graduated senior Jake Feener led the nation in saves and saves per game in 2013.
Jake Feener, Miguel Gonzalez, Ian Hines-Ike, and Kyle Bjornethun received WAC All-Tournament honors while Feener was named Tournament MVP.
Utah Valley Wolverines
|Head Coach: Greg Maas (Portland, '88) - Video
|2013 Record: N/A, First Season||Complete Schedule|
|Starters Returning/Lost: N/A||Roster|
The 2014 season marks the first year of competition for the men’s soccer program at Utah Valley University.
The Wolverines represent the one and only NCAA Division I men’s soccer program in the state of Utah.
Utah Valley’s initial roster features 32 student-athletes hailing from nine states and four countries.
The roster also includes only three upperclassmen: juniors Aaron Stoddard and Tyler Brown, as well as lone senior Cameron Kidwell.
UVU will make its NCAA men’s soccer debut in a home match against UMass on August 30 while its first-ever WAC match will be played in Orem against reigning conference champion Seattle U.
Former University of Portland standout and Real Salt Lake Utah U-17 coach Greg Maas was appointed the program’s first head coach in February of 2013.