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This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Aug. 28

This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Aug. 28

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UNLV's Marco Gonzalez and San José State's Alex Clewis have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for Aug. 20 - 26.

Gonzalez, a sophomore forward from Las Vegas (Mission Heights Prep HS), led the WAC in points over the opening weekend of the 2018 season, helping lead the Rebels to a pair of season-opening wins. On Friday against Florida Atlantic, he assisted on a goal in a 3-0 win and then he really came alive on Sunday against Evansville, recording the hat trick in a 4-1 win.

Clewis, a senior goalkeeper from Concord, Calif. (Flex Academy), was nearly perfect in goal for the Spartans. His best performance came on Friday night as the senior made 11 saves to lead the Spartans to a scoreless draw with defending national champion and preseason number one Stanford. On Sunday against CSUN, he made three saves and allowed one goal in a narrow loss to the Matadors. His 14 saves lead the WAC through the opening weekend.

Other offensive nominees: California Baptist's Preston Judd scored all three goals to earn the hat track in the Lancers' 3-0 win over Saint Peter's on Friday … Grand Canyon's Calvin Kissi scored his first collegiate goal as the Lopes knocked off 12th-ranked Wisconsin, 2-1 … Houston Baptist's Gianluca Natera scored twice in the Huskies' season-opening tie against Siena … Kansas City's Diego Serfaty scored the Roos' lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Missouri State … UT Rio Grande Valley's Damian Magallan score the first two goals of his career in a 4-1 win over Siena on Sunday … Utah Valley's Austin Buxton scored a pair of goals as the Wolverines earned a 4-0 win over Evansville.

Other defensive nominees: California Baptist's Albert Escuin made a pair of saves to earn the shutout in the Lancers' 3-0 win at Saint Peter's on opening day … Grand Canyon's Alex Radilla was part of the midfield defense that limited 12th-ranked Wisconsin to just one goal and six shots … Houston Baptist's Byron Amaya anchored a back line that did not allow a goal in his 162 minutes on the field, limiting Siena and St. Francis to a combined three shots-on-goal … Kansas City's Filippo Errico made five saves in the Roos' 3-1 loss to Missouri State … UNLV's Jordan Chavez anchored the Rebels' backline that allowed just three total shots and one goal in a pair of wins over Florida Atlantic and Evansville … UT Rio Grande Valley's Andy Rios made seven saves over two games as the Vaqueros split a pair of neutral-site matches in Houston … Utah Valley's Joseph Wheelwright made three saves to earn the shutout as the Wolverines opened the season with a 4-0 win over Evansville.

It's another busy week on non-conference play around the WAC. Among the highlights are Air Force visiting Navy (Friday), Grand Canyon hosting Creighton (Friday), Seattle U opening up its home schedule agaisnt Cal Poly (Friday), and both Houston Baptist and UT Rio Grande Valley participating in the UTRGV Invitational (Friday and Sunday).

With the majority of teams having played twice, UNLV leads the league in shots (34), assists (8) and are tied with Utah Valley for the lead in points (22). UVU leads the WAC in goals (8), goals allowed (0) and goals against average (0.00). San José State is tops in saves (14) while Air Force holds the lead in corners (15).

Individually, Houston Baptist's Gianluca Natera is the early leader in shots (14). UNLV's Marco Gonzalez is tops in points and is tied with CBU's Preston Judd for the lead in goals (3). Seven players have already recorded a pair of assists this season while UVU's Zach Maas has scored the game-winner in both of the Wolverines' matches to lead the conference. HBU's Jorge Cabrera and UVU's Joseph Wheelwright both have a 0.00 GAA and 1.000 save percentage while SJSU's Alex Clewis leads the conference with 14 saves.

Seattle U remained in the College Soccer News Top 30 this week, checking in at 24th. In the United Soccer Coaches Top 25, Grand Canyon is the only WAC school mentioned as the Lopes are among those receiving votes for the second straight week.

The United Soccer Coaches switched up the regional ranking system for 2018 and the WAC is now in the Far West Region with the Pac-12 and Big West conferences. UNLV is the top ranked WAC team, checking in at seventh. Grand Canyon is one spot back at eighth with Air Force in 10th. Utah Valley is one of two teams receiving votes in the regional ranking.

Grand Canyon recorded its first-ever win over a United Soccer Coaches Top 25 team when they earned a 2-1 victory over 12th-ranked Wisconsin on opening night and there were a lot of fans in attendance to witness the feat. GCU set a new attendance record with 6,648 on Aug. 24, breaking the old mark of 6,402 from opening night of GCU Stadium in 2016.

California Baptist earned a 3-0 win over Saint Peter's in its first-ever Division I men's soccer game and the victory also happened to be the 100th career win for head coach Coe Michaelson.

Seattle U is the preseason favorite to win the 2018 Western Athletic Conference men's soccer title in a vote of the league's 12 head coaches, who could not vote for their own team.

The Redhawks collected nine of 12 first-place votes and 119 total points to take the top spot after winning the 2017 WAC Tournament and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. UNLV was selected second with 105 points, just one tick ahead of defending regular season champion Air Force, who earned the remaining three first-place votes and 104 points overall. Tournament Through 8/27ist San José State was selected fourth with 84 points, followed by Utah Valley in fifth with 79 points and Grand Canyon in sixth with 75 points. CSU Bakersfield was selected seventh with 55 points, followed by UT Rio Grande Valley in eighth, Kansas City in ninth, newcomer California Baptist in 10th, Houston Baptist in 11th and UIW in 12th.

Seattle U midfielder Sergio Rivas and defender Nathan Aune were selected as WAC Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year respectively in a vote of the league's 12 head coaches, who could not vote for their own players.

Rivas and Aune are joined on the Preseason All-WAC squad by teammates Anthony Ayala and Josh Adachi. UNLV has three players as forward Marco Gonzalez, midfielder Timo Mehlich and defender Adam Musovski were honored. Air Force had two selected as forwards Tucker Bone and Austin Dewing represented the Falcons. Grand Canyon midfielder Josh Drack and San José State defender Andy Rios rounded out the 11-member team.

Seattle U's Nathan Aune and Air Force's Tucker Bone are among those on the watch list for the 2018 Missouri Athletic Club's (MAC) Hermann Trophy. Aune was the 2017 WAC Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-American as a junior. Bone was a semiThrough 8/27ist for the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy as he earned first-team All-American honors as a junior.

Air Force forward Tucker Bone and Seattle U midfielder Sergio Rivas were both named to the Top Drawer Soccer Preseason Best XI First Team. Seattle U defender Nathan Aune was a second-team selection while teammate Declan McGlynn was named to the TDS Best XI Freshman Team. In addition, both Aune and Bone were named to the Soccer American Preseason Men's College Best XI.

California Baptist joins the Western Athletic Conference as a full-time member in 2018-19. The Lancers won the NCAA Division II Learfield Cup in 2017-18. They will begin their four year transition process to Division 1. This will make them ineligible to compete in post season tournaments (WAC and NCAA) until 2022-2023 season.

With 11 men's soccer teams eligible for the postseason in 2018, the WAC tournament field remains at seven teams. The tournament also features an extra rest day between the first round and semiThrough 8/27 round. The regular season champion and top seed will receive the only bye in the tournament, with the other teams beginning play on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Seattle. SemiThrough 8/27s will be played on Friday, Nov. 9 with the championship game set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.

The WAC has 19 non-conference games against participants from the 2017 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament including rematches of all three games the WAC played in the national tournament last season. Air Force is among those with a rematch, facing Virginia Tech in a neutral-site match on opening night at James Madison. Seattle hosts its second-round opponent Akron on Sep. 7 and then takes on rival and first-round opponent Washington on Sep. 23. Opening night will also feature San José State traveling to defending national champion Stanford and Grand Canyon hosting Wisconsin. Akron will also make the trip to Phoenix on Sep. 20 to take on the Lopes.

The WAC Digital Network will broadcast 97 regular season games and all six games of the expanded 2018 WAC Men's Soccer Tournament in Seattle.