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This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Sept. 11

This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Sept. 11

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Air Force's Tucker Bone and James Sims have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for Sept. 3 - 9.

Bone, a senior forward from Granite Bay, Calif. (Jesuit HS), was crucial in the Falcons' home-opening wins over North Florida and 13th-ranked Colgate. Against UNF, he scored the game-winning goal and assisted on another in a 3-1 win. He followed that up with another goal and assist in a 3-0 win over nationally-ranked Colgate. He leads Air Force with nine points this season, which also ties him for third in the WAC this season.

Sims, a senior defender from Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Academy HS), has been the linchpin for the Falcons defense this season, including a pair of home wins last week. He anchored the defense in its fourth and fifth wins while allowed just four shots on goal on Friday in a 3-1 win over North Florida and just three in a 3-0 shutout of 13th-ranked Colgate. As a team, the Falcons lead the WAC with a 0.48 goals against average with shutouts in four of their six matches this season.

Other offensive nominees: Grand Canyon's Josh Drack had seven total shots as the 24th-ranked Lopes dropped a pair on the road at Evansville and SIUE … Seattle U's Sergio Rivas scored the equalizer in Friday's 2-1 win over then 14th-ranked Akron and then forced overtime on Sunday in a 2-1 loss to CSUN … UT Rio Grande Valley's Kyle Edwards had a hand in both UTRGV goals, scoring the first and assisting on the second in a 2-1 win over UNC Greensboro.

Other defensive nominees: Grand Canyon's George Tasouris made 11 total saves and allowed just two goals over 188 minutes as the 24th-ranked Lopes fell twice on the road … UNLV's Adam Musovski played all 180 minutes on the backline for the Rebels, allowing just two goals on the weekend in a 3-1 win over Wofford and a 1-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton … UT Rio Grande Valley's Andy Rios made three saves to help the Vaqueros earn a 2-1 win over UNC Greensboro.

The conference season gets underway this week, albeit with just one match. Seattle U visits California Baptist on Thursday for the Lancers' first WAC contest in any sport. Among the intriguing non-conference matchups is 23rd-ranked Air Force hosting 22nd-ranked San Francisco and Harvard, UNLV visiting San Diego and Grand Canyon wlecoming Loyola Marymount.

Heading into the second full week of September, California Baptist is atop the WAC statistical standings in points (40), goals (15) and assists (16) and co-habitating the top spot in assists (14) with UNLV. Seattle U is the leader in shots (103). Grand Canyon and Air Force are tied for the lead in least goals allowed (3) while Air Force holds the top goals against average (0.48) and shutouts (4). San José State is the leader in saves (34)

Indvidually, Houston Baptist's Gianluca Natera and UTRGV's Kyle Edwards are tied for the lead in shots (23). CBU's Preston Judd is the leader in both points (17) and goals (8). UNLV's Nico Clasen is the assist leader (5). Air Force keeper Andrea Seazzu has the top goals against average (0.48) and leads the WAC in shutouts (4) while Grand Canyon's George Tasouris has the best save percentage (.895). SJSU's Alex Clewis is the leader in saves (33).

The 2017 WAC regular season champions are back in the polls as Air Force earned selection in all three polls that were released by Tuesday morning. The Falcons are 23rd in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25, 19th in the Top Drawer Soccer Top 25 and 16th in the College Soccer News Top 30. Seattle U and Grand Canyon are among those receiving votes in the CSN Top 30.

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 is the top WAC school ranked at fourth. Seattle U is eighth while UNLV is ninth.

The WAC has played seven Top 25 opponents from the coaches poll and has gone 6-0-1 in those games. Grand Canyon has two of those wins, San José State has a win and a tie and Air Force, UNLV and Seattle U have one Top 25 win each.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.