Posted: Sep 24, 2019
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UVU'S FRISCHKNECHT, UTRGV'S RIOS NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Utah Valley's Blake Frischknecht and UT Rio Grande Valley's Andy Rios have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for September 16 - 22.
Frischknecht, a senior forward from Las Vegas, scored each of the Wolverines' three goals on the week, including the game-winner against Santa Clara at the Johann Memorial Classic in Las Vegas. After entering the week with just one goal on the season, he is now tied for the conference lead in goals with four and is tied for third in points with eight.
Rios, a senior goalkeeper from Highlands, Texas, earned a pair of wins for the Vaqueros in a 3-2 road win at Marshall and a 1-0 shutout at home against Central Arkansas. Against the Thundering Hurd, Rios made five saves to help secure the win for UTRGV. He followed that up with a single save for his second shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday. The senior netminder holds a 1.16 goals against average this season paired with a .778 save percentage.
Other offensive nominees: Grand Canyon's Tosh Yasuda scored his second career goal in a 1-1 tie with UC Riverside on Sunday … San José State's Suliman Khorami scored the Spartans' lone goal in a loss to UC Davis on Saturday … UT Rio Grande Valley's William Akio scored twice in the Vaqueros' road win at Marshall on Tuesday.
Other defensive nominees: Grand Canyon's Ariel Aguas played all 110 minutes of a double-overtime draw at UC Riverside on Sunday … San José State's Angel Farias put a shot on goal in the Spartans' 3-1 loss to UC Davis … Utah Valley's Joseph Wheelwright made five saves in a shutout win over Santa Clara on Thursday.
After a handful of midweek games to wrap up non-conference play, it is time for conference action as WAC games start this week. Kansas City and Air Force will be the first to kickoff with an afternoon game in Colorado Springs. UIW heads to Grand Canyon, UTRGV visits UNLV, California Baptist travels to Seattle, CSU Bakersfield heads north to San José State and Houston Baptist treks to Utah Valley.
BY THE NUMBERS
Heading into WAC play, Seattle U leads the league in shots (131), shutouts (4) and corner kicks (58). UNLV has the lead in points (35), goals (12) and saves (43). Utah Valley is the leader in assists (13) while Kansas City, UT Rio Grande Valley and Grand Canyon are all tied for least goals allowed (6). GCU also holds the top goals against average (0.96).
Individually, CBU's Rafael Vacas Barba is the leader in shots (29). CSUB's Niklas Korber and UNLV's Bryan Martinez-Serrano hold the lead in points (9) with Korber tied with SU's Noe Meza and UVU's Blake Frischknecht for the lead in goals (4). Four players are tied for the lead in assists with three each while Meza and Frischknecth each have two game-winning goals to lead the league. UIW's Carlos Mercado has the low goals-against average (0.84) and also leads the league in save percentage (.840). UNLV's Lukas Betz is the saves leader with 30 while SU's Akili Kasim has four shutouts to lead the category.
ON THE MAP
Posting one of the top non-conference records in the country, UT Rio Grande Valley is among those teams receiving votes in both the Top Drawer Soccer Top 25 and College Soccer News Top 30. The Vaqueros have an unofficial RPI of seven heading into WAC play according to Daniel Curry of RPI Update.
BEST IN THE (FAR) WEST
Two WAC squads are among those listed in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Far West Regional Ranking. UT Rio Grande Valley is ranked sixth while Grand Canyon rounds out the poll at 10th.
TOP OF THE CLASS
Utah Valley senior midfielder Alec Felix was announced as one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award®, given annually to a student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. Felix is a three-time Academic All-WAC selection and will graduate next April. Entering his final year of school, Felix has a 3.72 cumulative GPA.A two-time honorable mention All-WAC selection, he has started all but two games in his entire career. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2019 Men's College Cup® in December.
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.
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.