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This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Sept. 17

This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Sept. 17

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UNLV'S MEHLICH, GCU'S EASLEY NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
UNLV's Timo Mehlich and Grand Canyon's Esai Easley have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for September 9 - 15.
 
Mehlich, a senior midfielder from Monchengladbach, Germany, scored twice in the Rebels' 2-0 win at Pacific on Friday. He put four of his five shots on goal to provide an offensive attack against the Tigers. He also had three shots with one of goal in a 1-0 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
 
Easley, a sophomore defender from Kailua, Hawai'i, anchored the Lopes back line to their third shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over visiting Oregon State. He has been on the field for 307 minutes this season as GCU has allowed just one goal over four games, posting a 0.25 team goals against average.
 
Other offensive nominees: CSU Bakersfield's Niklas Korber scored for the 'Runners in a 3-2 loss to seventh-ranked Saint Mary's … Grand Canyon's Pambos Aristotelous scored the Lopes' lone goal in a 1-0 win over Oregon State … San José State's Danny Sanchez scored the first goal in the Spartans' loss to then eighth-ranked Saint Mary's … Utah Valley's Alec Felix scored the golden goal in the Wolverines' overtime win over Canisius on Friday night.
 
Other defensive nominees: UNLV's Lukas Betz totaled 17 saves and allowed just two goals over 270 minutes to help the Rebels go 2-1 on the road … San José State's Jamal Adam helped to hold then eighth-ranked Saint Mary's scoreless for the first 62 minutes of their match.
 
UP NEXT
With conference play beginning next week, it's another tough schedule around the WAC. Grand Canyon kicks off the big matchups on Tuesday, traveling to 17th-ranked Virginia Tech. UNLV plays host to the Johann Memorial Classic and among the teams participating will be Utah Valley, sixth-ranked Saint Mary's and Santa Clara.
 
BY THE NUMBERS
California Baptist leads the WAC in shots (111) while UNLV is tops in points (32) and is tied with CSU Bakersfield for the lead in goals (11) and with Utah Valley for the lead in assists (10). Defensively, Grand Canyon is the leader in least goals allowed (1) and goals against average (0.25) while UNLV is the leader in saves (30) and Seattle U is tops in shutouts (4).
 
Individually, CBU's Rafael Vacas Barba holds the lead in shots (26) while UNLV's Bryan Martinez-Serrano and CSUB's Niklas Korber are tied fo rthe lead in points (9). Korber is also tied with SU's Noe Meza for the lead in goals (4) while Martinez-Serrano stands alone atop the assists list with three. GCU's George Tasouris is the leader in goals against average (0.25) and save percentage (.941). CBU's Albert Escuin is tops in saves (23) while SU's Akili Kasim holds the shutout lead (4).
 
ON THE MAP
A trio of teams are right on the cusp of getting a number next to their name as Air Force is among those receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 and both Seattle U and Grand Canyon are just outside the College Soccer News Top 30.
 
BEST IN THE (FAR) WEST
Two WAC squads are among those listed in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Far West Regional Ranking. Seattle U is ranked eighth while Grand Canyon rounds out the poll at 10th.
 
HYNDMAN JOINS 500-WIN CLUB
Grand Canyon head coach Schellas Hyndman became the fifth Division I men's soccer coach in history to win 500 games after his Lopes earned a season-opening win over Northern Kentucky on Aug. 30. South Carolina's Mark Berson is the only other active coach with over 500 wins.
 
FROM NEW ZEALAND TO VEGAS AND BACK
UNLV junior defender Billy Jones will miss some time with the Rebels later this month as he heads to Fiji to compete for his native New Zealand in Olympic Qualifyers. The Oly-Whites are the top seed in Group A, which also include Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Samoa. Group B consists of Fiji, Vanuatu, Papau New Guinea and Tonga. The winner of qualifying tournament will earn the lone berth available to the region for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 
SEATTLE U PICKED TO WIN 2019 TITLE
Seattle U is the preseason favorite to win the 2019 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 five of 12 first-place votes and 112 total points to take the top spot. UT Rio Grande Valley was selected second with two first-place votes and 104 points. Air Force and Grand Canyon tied for the third spot with the Falcons earning three first-place votes and the Lopes earning one first-place vote and both teams garnering 88 points. UNLV was just one point back with 87 points to take the fifth spot. San José State, a tournament finalist the last two seasons, received the final first-place vote and 77 points to take the sixth spot. Utah Valley was selected seventh with 75 points, followed by California Baptist in eighth, CSU Bakersfield in ninth, Houston Baptist and Kansas City tied for tenth and UIW in 12th. 
 
AUNE, RIVAS HIGHLIGHT PRESEASON ALL-WAC SQUAD
UT Rio Grande Valley's Kyle Edwards and Grand Canyon's George Tasouris were selected as the 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 team or players.
 
Edwards is joined on the Preseason All-WAC squad by teammate William Akio while Tasouris was the lone representative for GCU. UNLV and Seattle U each had three honored as Tyler Allen, Marco Gonzalez and Timo Mehlich represented the Rebels and Julian Avilia-Good, Declan McGlynn and Thomas Mickoski were the Redhawks' honorees. Air Force's Nick Blessing and San José State's Max Allen rounded out the 11-member team.
 
UTRGV'S EDWARDS NAMED TO MAC HERMANN WATCH LIST
UT Rio Grande Valley's Kyle Edwards is the lone WAC representative on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, released on Aug. 1. The senior scored 14 goals and recorded 33 points during a standout junior season, which saw him earn First Team All-WAC honors, as well as First Team All-Far West Region honors.
 
DUO EARNS PRESEASON HONORS
UT Rio Grande Valley forward Kyle Edwards was named to the Top Drawer Soccer Preseason Best XI, earning third team honors. Seattle U midfielder Jesse Ortiz was named to the TDS Freshman Best XI after scoring 13 goals for Houston Dynamo U-19 and three goals for Brazos Valley Cavalry FC of USL2 where he played with UTRGV's Edwards.
 
PLAYING THE BEST
The WAC has 27 non-conference games against participants from the 2018 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament. Seattle U and Grand Canyon might have a strong argument for who has the toughest non-conference schedule as the Redhawks are set to take on five NCAA participants (Denver, Indiana (at Notre Dame), at Notre Dame, Portland and Washington) while the Lopes will play four NCAA participants (Oregon State, at Saint Mary's, at UC Riverside and at Virginia Tech). CSU Bakersfield, Houston Baptist and San José State will each take on three NCAA participants. In total, 11 of the 12 WAC men's soccer programs will face a postseason participant in non-conference play.
 
LUCKY SEVEN
With 11 men's soccer teams eligible for the postseason in 2019, the WAC tournament field remains at seven teams. The tournament also features an extra rest day between the first round and semifinal 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. 13 at the United State Air Force Academy outside of Colorado Springs, Colo. Semifinals will be played on Friday, Nov. 15 with the championship game set for Sunday, Nov. 17.