Men's Soccer Hosts NCAA First Round Game
Nov. 15, 2000
This Week: The Pac-10 champion Washington men's soccer team (13-5-0, 7-1-0) makes its sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament this weekend when it hosts the University of Alabama-Birmingham (14-4-2) Friday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Husky Soccer Field.
The Huskies finished the regular season with a record of 13-5-0 overall and 7-1-0 en route to claiming the first-ever Pacific-10 Conference title. Washington entered the year as one of just 10 programs in the nation with a current five-year streak of appearing in the postseason tournament. With their bid to the 2000 tournament, the Huskies become one of only nine other programs in the country to match the feat. In all, Washington has made 13 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
The Blazers finished the year at 14-4-2 and ended the regular season with a 2-1 loss to St. Louis in the conference champioship game. They posted a record of 5-1-2 in the conference regular season play. This will be the first meeting between the Blazers and the Huskies.
The winner of the game Friday advances to the second round for a match against the winner of the Indiana-San Jose State game being held Saturday in California. Indiana enters the tournament as the defending national champions while San Jose owns a 20-0-1 record this season.
Tickets may be purchased through the UW Ticket Office, (206) 543-2200. They are $7 for adults and $5 for students, children and senior citizens. Tickets will also be sold game day beginning at 6 p.m.
About the NCAA Tournament: Known as the "College Cup" the men's postseason soccer tournament is a 32-team field that is played in single elimination format. Games will be held at host schools until the field is pared down to a final four teams. The final four and championship games will be held at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina Dec. 8 and 10.
Back-to-Back-to-Back: A victory at California, along with a UCLA win over Stanford last Friday, gave Washington the first-ever Pacific-10 Conference men's soccer championship. While it is the first Pac-10 title for Washington, it marks the third consecutive conference championship for the Huskies, who were coming off back-to-back Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles in 1998 and `99.
Head Coach Dean Wurzberger Says: "Our team is excited for postseason play," said Husky head coach Dean Wurzberger, who is in his ninth year at Washington. "They have had enough success and enough set backs this year that they know what it takes to win. They know they need to have the right mindset. All the individuals have to be playing well for the team to do well. Our slow start cost us a little bit (starting the season 0-2) and our loss to Portland at the end of the season cost us a bit. But we are playing at home and we're playing a good team at home. The biggest thing I'm excited about is that we are playing an out of region team. History will show that we've always matched up with another team from the west, Stanford, Portland, UCLA, someone we had already played. That used to be the old format, but the NCAA is moving teams around now. We are delighted to be playing someone out of region. Having said that, the last time we hosted was in 1998 and we got beat by North Carolina-Greensboro. So it doesn't mean this is an easy game. Hopefully we learned from that experience. Just because they are out of region doesn't mean they aren't a good team.
"We are coming off a great performance at Cal Friday," Wurzberger added. "Some of our best soccer of the season was in that first 30 minutes when we took a 3-0 lead. We've been asking for goals from our forwards and they've been coming lately. We're playing well. This team has been in the playoffs every year, so that helps with experience. They know they have to bring everything they have. The attitude is good. Everyone is anxious to get started and all the better that it's Friday, instead of having to wait until Sunday. We've got to make sure we are firing on all cylinders Friday night. We've been playing well lately. We are battle-tested, coming through the Pac-10. There is not a tougher conference. You play UCLA, Stanford, California and Oregon State twice, home and away, and that's tough."
UW'S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Washington will be making its 14th NCAA tournament appearance since the program's inception in 1968, including six straight under coach Dean Wurzberger. UW has a 4-13 record in the tournament, with Wurzberger's teams at 4-6. Last year, Washington won its first round game at Portland before falling to eventual national champion Indiana, in Bloomington. The first round game at Husky Soccer Field is the first NCAA home match for UW since 1998 when, as a No. 4 seed, the Huskies were upset by No. 16 UNC-Greensboro, 2-1.
A Look at the Tournament Field: North Carolina earned the No. 1 seed in the 2000 tournament, followed by Clemson, No 3 Stanford, No. 4 San Diego, No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 SMU, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 8 San Jose State. Washington has faced five of the 32 NCAA teams this season, including conference foes UCLA and Stanford twice, and is 5-2 in those games. The Huskies could potentially meet Rhode Island in the tournament, a team they knocked off, 2-1, in the Husky Classic Sept. 22. Here is a look at the tournament teams UW has played and the result:
This Week in the Polls
Pac-10 Honors: Junior defender Bryn Ritchie and junior midfielder Ben Somoza both were honored on the 2000 Pac-10 All-Conference Men's Soccer Team as five members of the Pac-10 champion Washington team were recognized. Senior team captain Mike Casale, a midfielder, earned second team recognition, as did fellow senior midfielder Mark Hogenhout and junior defender Billy Sleeth. Stanford senior midfielder Ryan Nelsen was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, Cardinal leader Bobby Clark was Coach of the Year and UCLA midfielder Alex Yi was tabbed freshman of the year.
Carroll Named Player of the Week: Senior midfielder Kai Carroll was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for his efforts against California Nov. 10. Carroll, a senior from Eugene, Ore., recorded a hat trick at California, leading No. 13 Washington to a 4-2 win over the Bears and clinching the Pac-10 Championship in the process. He also helped the Huskies notch their second season sweep over a Pac-10 opponent and finish the season undefeated on the road in conference play.
Carroll leads the team in goals this year with a eight, a career-high for him, with six of those goals being game-winners.
Under the Lights: This year marked the introduction of night time soccer under the lights and on grass. Lights were installed justat Husky Soccer Field prior to the start of the season, allowing Washington to play after dark. Washington, which will play its first round NCAA game at 7 p.m., is undefeated in night games at Husky Soccer Field.
Strength of Schedule: Washinton's strength of schedule was among its toughest ever, with the formation of the Pac-10 and four strong out-of-region opponents in Akron, Creighton, Rhode Island and SW Missouri State. Seven of UW's 14 opponents, including nine of 18 matches, were against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 1999.
A Look at the Huskies: The Huskies are led by senior midfielder Kai Carroll, who had a hat trick at California last week to boost his goal output to eight this season, a career-high for the player ... alongside him are junior midfielder Ben Somoza and junior defender Bryn Ritchie who each have five goals this season ... when Kyle Fukuchi scored his first career goal at Oregon State, it made nine different Huskies have found the back of the net this year ... in its first year of Pac-10 action, UW swept through the first round of play with a perfect 4-0 record ... they were also undefeated on the road in Pac-10 play ... Washington has taken 317 shots in 18 games so far, compared to 174 shots by opponents ... the Huskies have recorded six shutouts and have played to overtime in just two games, both victories.
Dawg Bites: Jake Sagare and Kai Carroll have each taken a team-high 42 shots on goal this year ... senior midfielder Mike Casale is the team captain ... he has missed only three starts in the last three years ... sophomore keeper Chad Olsen has played all but 16 minutes in goal this year ... he has a goals against average of 1.22 ... the Huskies are a strong second half team ... 25 of their 38 goals have come in the second period and they have taken 181 shots after halftime, as opposed 135 shots in the first ... te Huiin addition, Washington has posted five come-from-behind wins this season (Rhode Island, Fullerton, Stanford, UCLA -2x) ... the Huskies set a school record for attendance against Stanford, with 3,280 fans at the game ... the previous best was 2,524 last season, also against Stanford ... former Husky goalkeeper Bill May is in his first year on the UW staff this season ... he started 67 matches over his four year career from 1994-97, and compiled a sterling goals against average of 0.90 during his tenure ... he replaces Nat Gonzales, who accpeted the head coach position at UC-Riverside, where they will field a team for the first time in Fall, 2001.
The Comforts of Home: Washington has posted a mark of 7-2-0 mark in games at Husky Soccer Field this season. The lone setbacks came at the hands of 1999 Final Four participant Santa Clara, a 2-0 loss back on Sept. 16 and to Stanford, 2-0, on Oct. 22.
Dawg Bite: Ben Somoza is chasing the UW school record for assists ... he enters the tournament with eight ... the UW single season mark is 15, set by Wes Hart in 1998 (in 20 games) ... Somoza had a team-high eight assists as a sophomore last season.
Leading the Dawgs: Dean Wurzberger enters his ninth year at UW as the winningest coach in UW soccer history. He owns a 120-40-18 record in his tenure at UW and is 128-48-23 in his 10 year head coaching career. He has now guided the Huskies to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, five consective, and three MPSF titles, including the last two. Wurzberger was coach of the men's U-16 National Team in 1998.
Wander the Web: Senior captain Mike Casale (Redmond, Wash./Eastlake) will be featured in a weekly diary on www.gohuskies.com. The diary also runs on http://espn.go.com/ncaa/diary/index.html and features Husky women's goalkeeper Hope Solo as well. Check www.gohuskies.com for information on all 23 sports at Washington.
The Pac-10 Conference: This season marks the beginning of men's soccer within the Pacific-10 Conference. Washington, along with Pac-10 members UCLA, California, Stanford and Oregon State, broke away from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to compete in a home-and-away series with each school. The new format hopes to provide greater national visibility and strength of schedule for the member schools. Schools must earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the conference will not have an automatic bid, with only five schools in the league.
Washington left the MPSF as two-time defending champions, having claimed the federation title in 1998 and `99. Husky head coach Dean Wurzberger was named MPSF Mountain Division Coach of the Year in `99 and senior Wes Hart was player of the year.
Against Ranked Opponents: Washington has stood up to the test in its games against top 10 opponents. The Huskies knocked off No. 4 Stanford last weekend and two weeks earlier, it was No. 6 Fullerton ... the Huskies opened the 2000 season on the road and suffered losses to then No. 13 Creighton (2-0) and No. 21 SW Missouri State (3-0).
A Glance at the Huskies: An experienced defense, aggressive midfield and explosive front line define the 2000 Huskies, who will be shooting for a goal only nine other programs in the nation can match - a sixth straight berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the loss of three full-time starters- all-American Wes Hart, Rees Bettinger, eighth all-time in UW goals, and first-team all-MPSF defender Morgan McCoy-18 players return from a 1999 season in which Washington won 10 of its final 11 games and bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round to eventual champion Indiana. Four seniors and six juniors, seven of whom started at least half of last year's games, provide ample experience and leadership for the 16 underclassmen.
RECAPPING 1999: The Huskies are coming off an outstanding season in which they defended their second Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title, winning 10 of their final 11 games and earning a fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid. They advanced to the second round before falling to eventual champion Indiana, at Indiana.
Huskies in the Polls
Date Soccer America NSCAA Soccer Times Preseason 20 12 10 Sept. 5 NR NR NR Sept. 11 NR NR NR Sept. 18 NR NR NR Sept. 25 15 NR NR Oct. 2 12 NR NR Oct. 9 7 NR NR Oct. 16 4 13 13 Oct. 23 7 17 14 Oct. 30 16 25 20 Nov. 6 13 21 16 Nov. 13 13 18 13
LOCALLY BORN AND BRED: The state of Washington is turning out stellar soccer players, and UW coach Dean Wurzberger is doing his part to keep them at home. No less than 20 players, two more than last season, on this year's 26-player roster are from the Evergreen State, the highest total in Wurzberger's history with the Dawgs.
Leading the Huskies