Posted: Oct 09, 2018
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UTRGV'S AKIO, UVU's WHEELWRIGHT NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
UT Rio Grande Valley's William Akio and Utah Valley's Joseph Wheelwright have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for Oct. 1 - 7.
Akio, a junior forward from Nairobi, Kenya (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), played a big role in UTRGV going 2-0 on the week. After picking up an assist in Friday's 3-0 win over Kansas City, he set up both goals in a 2-1 win over Houston Baptist on Sunday. His four assists in WAC play lead the league and his seven assists also gives him the league lead. He is also tied for the lead in game-winning goals with three.
Wheelwright, a redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper from Pleasant View, Utah (Sunset HS), was strong in net to help lead the Wolverines to a pair of wins on the road. On Friday at California Baptist, he made four saves to earn his third shutout of the season in a 1-0 win. He followed that up with five saves and one goal allowed in a 2-1 win at CSU Bakersfield on Sunday. His 0.86 goals against average is fourth in the WAC this season.
Other offensive nominees: Air Force's Austin Dewing scored a goal in the Falcons' 3-1 win at California Baptist … CSU Bakersfield's Ryan Goldsmith put in the game-winner in the 'Runners' 1-0 win over seventh-ranked Air Force … Grand Canyon's Jackson Jellah scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win at 25th-ranked Seattle U … Utah Valley's Austin Buxton scored the game-winning goal in Friday's 1-0 win at California Baptist.
Other defensive nominees: Air Force's Nick Blessing played all 180 minutes for the Falcons in a 1-1 trip to California … CSU Bakersfield's Rodrigo Sarmiento earned the shutout with seven saves in a 1-0 upset of seventh-ranked Air Force … Grand Canyon's George Tasouris allowed just one goal and made 14 saves on the weekend, including a shutout win at Seattle U on Sunday … San José State's Eduardo Miranda was instrumental in the Spartans picking up a pair of wins at home … UT Rio Grande Valley's Antone Jarvis anchored the UTRGV defense that allowed just one goal in a pair of home wins.
It's a bit of a rest week in the WAC with each of the 12 teams only having one match to play. On Saturday, Houston Baptist travels to take on Air Force, Kansas City heads to Utah Valley, CSU Bakersfield visits Seattle U, Grand Canyon hosts UT Rio Grande Valley and UIW travels to UNLV. Sunday features one match with California Baptist heading north to take on San José State.
BY THE NUMBERS
While Seattle U leads the WAC in shots (239), it's Air Force holding the top spot in points (95), goals (33), assists (29), least goals allowed (9) and goals against average (0.67). The Falcons are tied with Seattle U and Grand Canyon for the lead in shutouts with five each. Houston Baptist holds the top spot in saves (59).
Individually, UNLV's Marco Gonzalez is the shots leader (48) while CBU's Preston Judd holds the lead in points (24) and goals (11). UTRGV's William Akio is the leader in assists with seven and is also tied with AFA's Tucker Bone for the lead in game-winning goals with three. AFA's Andrea Seazzu holds the top goals against average at 0.63 and GCU's George Tasouris has the best save percentage at .850. HBU's Jorge Cabrera is the leader in saves (54) while SU's Josh Adachi has the lead in shutouts (5).
In WAC-only play, Seattle U holds the lead in shots (99) and Air Force is the leader in points (40), goals (13) and assists (14). Grand Canyon has the least goals allowed (3) and also holds the top goals against average (0.60) and is tied with CSU Bakersfield for the lead in shutouts (3). Houston Baptist is the leader in saves (31).
Indvidually, UNLV's Gonzalez is the leader in shots (18). UTRGV's Kyle Edwards and AFA's Bone are co-leaders in points (7) and goals (3) while UTRGV's Akio is the leader in assists (4). In goal, GCU's George Tasouris holds the top goals against average (0.60) and save percentage (.864) and HBU's Cabrera is the leader in saves (30).
ON THE MAP
Despite taking a loss last week, both Air Force and Seattle U remain in the national discussion. The Falcons now sit at 15th in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25, 20th in the Top Drawer Soccer Top 25 and 11th in the College Soccer News Top 30. Seattle U is 22nd in the TDS Top 25, 26th in the CSN Top 30 and among those receiving votes for the USC Top 25.
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. After taking a loss last weekend, Air Force fell one spot to number two in the ranking, trailing only Stanford. Seattle U also fell a spot to five while Utah Valley returned to the regional rankings at 10.
REPPING THE RPI
With six teams in the top 100 of the latest NCAA RPI rankings, the WAC is proving itself to be among the top leagues in the country. Air Force is the top ranked team at 38th, followed by UT Rio Grande Valley at 46th. Seattle U comes in at 66th, followed by San José State at 73rd, Houston Baptist at 90th and Utah Valley at 93rd.
BRING ON THE BEST
The WAC played 10 Top 25 opponents from the coaches poll in non-conference play and went 8-1-1 in those games. Air Force, Grand Canyon and Seattle U have two of those wins each, San José State has a win and a tie and UNLV has the final Top 25 win.
CLIMBING THE CAREER CHARTS
A number of players have cracked the WAC top-10 in several career categories. Air Force's Austin Dewing is tied for sixth all-time in points with 65 while teammate Tucker Bone is ninth with 59. Dewing's 24 career goals puts him in a tie for sixth on the career list. SU's Sergio Rivas is third on the all-time assists list with 22 with AFA's Bone just one spot behind. Rivas is also third in shots with 214. Kansas City's Filippo Errico is second on the career saves list with 186.
Four men's soccer teams from the Western Athletic Conference have earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2017-18 academic year.
To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.
UT Rio Grande Valley had the highest team GPA among the WAC teams honored as the Vaqueros posted an impressive 3.50 grade-point average. Grand Canyon was next with a 3.34 GPA, followed by CSU Bakersfield at 3.10 and Seattle U at 3.08.
289 men's teams across all three divisions were honored, with 191 schools receiving honors for both their men and women's team. All four men's teams from the WAC that were honored were joined by their women's programs as well.
Air Force head coach Doug Hill recorded his 100th career victory on Sept. 22 as his 10th-ranked Falcons earned a 4-1 win at Kansas City to open WAC play.
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 semifinalist 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. Semifinals 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.