SEATTLE – Washington men’s soccer continues its magical season on Saturday, December 7, at 5 p.m. The second-seeded Dawgs (16-1-4) host seventh-seeded New Mexico (13-5-2) with a spot in the College Cup on the line. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks with Christian Miles and Cobi Jones on the call.
The Huskies have advanced to the first Elite 8 in program history, also winning two NCAA Tournament games for the first time. After receiving a first-round bye, the Dawgs defeated Seattle U., 4-2, before defeating Stanford, 1-0, last weekend. Ian Lange headed in the winning goal in the 85th minute off a long throw from Michael Harris. With the win, Washington has improved to 11-18-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
The Husky coaching staff will be familiar with New Mexico as head coach Jamie Clark began his career as an assistant with the Lobos. In addition, Washington assistant coach Jeff Rowland is one of the top players in New Mexico history as a two-time All-American. Current Lobo head coach Jeremy Fishbein led New Mexico to the 2005 NCAA Championship game with Clark on his staff and Rowland his top player.
Despite the familiarity of coaches, this will be the first matchup of the season between the two sides after Washington hosted a pair of repeat matchups in the first two rounds. All-time, Washington is 2-0-0 against New Mexico with the last meeting coming in 2008. The Dawgs won that game, 3-2, in overtime, but no current players from either side were involved.
Last weekend’s win over Stanford was the 10th shutout of the year for Washington. Ryan Herman picked up his Pac-12-leading eight shutout, while the Dawgs improved their defensive ranking to 22nd nationally with a goals allowed average of 0.73. Taylor Peay leads the defense and was named a semifinalist for the MAC Herman Trophy earlier this week. The award given to the top player in college soccer with Peay being one of 15 semifinalists.
Offensively, Lange scored the Dawgs 45th goal of the season against Stanford. Washington is now third in the nation in total goals, despite not having a player with more than seven. The Huskies have gotten seven goals apiece from Darwin Jones and Cristian Roldan, while Peay and Mason Robertson have added six each, while Josh Heard has five. Michael Harris reclaimed the Pac-12 lead with 10 assists, one more than teammate James Moberg who has nine.
New Mexico is a NCAA Tournament experienced team, playing in the Sweet 16 each of the past two seasons before this year’s Elite 8 run. The Lobos are led by MAC Herman Trophy semifinalist defender Kyle Venter. Similar to Washington, New Mexico uses a balanced scoring attack with no player having over seven goals. For the season, the Lobos have scored 34 goals, while allowing just 18. New Mexico has defeated George Mason and Penn State so far in the NCAA Tournament without allowing a goal.
The winner of Saturday’s contest will advance to the College Cup at PPL Park in Philadelphia. The semifinal round will be Friday, December 13, while the final will be Sunday, December 15.