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This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Sept. 18

This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Sept. 18

Complete Release (PDF)

 
 
HBU'S COBURN, GCU'S TASOURIS NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Houston Baptist's Nick Coburn and Grand Canyon's George Tasouris have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for Sept. 10 - 16.
 
Coburn, a freshman midfielder from Katy, Texas (Cinco Ranch HS), led the Huskies to a 3-1 upset of perennial power SMU. The first-year player opened up the scoring in the 29th minute to give HBU the 1-0 advantage and again scored in the 35th minute to put the Huskies up 2-0. After SMU pulled back within a goal in the 69th minute, he assisted on the match's final score in the 86th minute to give HBU the impressive victory.
 
Tasouris, a freshman goalkeeper from Nicosia, Cyprus (The English School Nicosia), earned his second shutout in four starts in a 1-0 win over Loyola Marymount. The first-year keeper made six saves to preserve the clean sheet. His 0.49 goals against average and .920 save percentage are both best in the WAC this season.
 
Other offensive nominees: Air Force's Klint Parker scored the tying goal in Friday's comeback win over 22nd-ranked San Francisco and assisted on the opening strike in a 6-1 win against Harvard on Sunday … California Baptist's Niklas Haakenstad scored his third goal of the season to lead the Lancers to a 2-1 win over Seattle U … Grand Canyon's Calvin Kissi scored his second game-winning goal of the season in a 1-0 win over Loyola Marymount … Kansas City's Pandelis Popgeorgiev scored on a penalty kick in the Roos 4-1 loss at Missouri State … Seattle U's Cody Gibson scored the game-winner in a 2-1 win at Loyola Marymount and also scored for the Redhawks in a 2-1 defeat at California Baptist … UT Rio Grande Valley's Isidro Martinez scored his first goal of the season, which was the game-winner in a 2-1 victory at Central Arkansas. 
 
Other defensive nominees: Air Force's Joe Ortiz helped lead the Falcon defense to a pair of home wins over 22nd-ranked San Francisco and Harvard … California Baptist's Albert Escuin made five saves to give the Lancers a win in their WAC opener against Seattle U … Houston Baptist's Jorge Cabrera made four saves as the Huskies knocked off SMU, 3-1 … Kansas City's Filippo Errico made a save in a loss at Missouri State … UT Rio Grande Valley's Andy Rios made a career-high tying five saves in a 2-1 win at Central Arkansas.
 
UP NEXT
After California Baptist came back to defeat Seattle U in the first WAC match of the season, the rest of the league opens league play this week with a sprinkling of non-conference games as well. Utah Valley hosts 13th-ranked UC Davis on Tuesday before opening WAC play on Saturday at Houston Baptist. Grand Canyon hosts Akron on Thursday before traveling to UIW for a WAC match on Sunday. 10th-ranked Air Force takes to the road, traveling to Kansas City on Saturday while UNLV makes the trek to UT Rio Grande Valley to open WAC play. The final WAC matchup of the week is San José State heading south to CSU Bakersfield. Finally, Seattle U makes the short trip to No. 16 Washington on Sunday night in the annual Emerald City derby.
 
BY THE NUMBERS
With conference play begining in earnest this week, Seattle U leads the league in shots (128) but it is Air Force on top in points (55), goals (20), least goals allowed (5), goals against average (0.61), shutouts (4) and corners (49). UNLV holds the top spot in assists (18) while San José State and Grand Canyon are tied for the lead in saves (35).
 
Individually, UTRGV's Kyle Edwards, HBU's Gianluca Natera and SU's Sergio Rivas are tied for the lead in shots (26). CBU's Preston Judd is the leader in points (18) and goals (8) while UNLV's Nico Clasen and AFA's Tucker Bone are tied for the lead in assists (4). Bone also leads the WAC in game-winning goals (3). In net, AFA's Andrea Seazzu holds the top goals against average (0.62) and leads the league in shutouts (4). GCU's George Tasouris is tops in save percentage (.856) while SJSU's Alex Clewis holds the top mark in saves (34).
 
ON THE MAP
The Air Force Falcons continue to fly up the national polls this week. Air Force is ranked 10th in the United Soccer Coaches' Top 25, 13th in the College Soccer News Top 30 and 18th in the Top Drawer Soccer Top 25. They were also 17th in last week's Soccer America Top 25 and should climb when the next poll is announced.
 
REGIONALLY RANKED
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. Air Force tops the rankings, moving up to the top spot from fourth last week. UNLV is the only other WAC school in this week's ranking, dropping one spot to 10th.
 
BRING ON THE BEST
The WAC has played seven Top 25 opponents from the coaches poll and has gone 7-0-1 in those games. Grand Canyon and Air Force have top of those wins each, San José State has a win and a tie and UNLV and Seattle U have one Top 25 win each. This week, Utah Valley hosts 13th-ranked UC Davis, No. 10 Air Force travels to Kansas City and Seattle U crosses the Montlake cut to 16th-ranked Washington.
 
MAN OF MANY HATS
California Baptist's Preston Judd has made quite the introduction for himself in the Lancers' move to NCAA Division I. The sophomore forward has already recorded two hat tricks this season, scoring three goals in CBU's season-opening win at Saint Peter's and then repeating the feat, and adding an assist, in the Lancers' win at Gonzaga on Aug. 31.
 
LOTS OF LOPES
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.
 
A LOT FOR THE LANCERS TO CELEBRATE
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 PICKED TO WIN 2018 TITLE
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 9/10ist 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. 
 
AUNE, RIVAS HIGHLIGHT PRESEASON ALL-WAC SQUAD
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.
 
AUNE, BONE NAMED TO MAC HERMANN WATCH LIST
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 9/10ist for the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy as he earned first-team All-American honors as a junior.
 
QUARTET EARNS PRESEASON HONORS
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.
 
WELCOME TO THE WAC
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. 
 
THE SEATTLE SEVEN
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 9/10 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 9/10s will be played on Friday, Nov. 9 with the championship game set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.
 
PLAYING THE BEST
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.  
 
ON THE AIR
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.