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This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Oct. 15

This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Oct. 15

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KC'S KHEDOO, UVU'S JENSEN NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Kansas City's Ryan Khedoo and Utah Valley's Mitch Jensen have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for October 6 - 13.
 
Kheedo, a junior midfielder from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, carried the Roos to a 2-0 in league play this week. He finished the two matches with a pair of goals and an assist in wins over Incarnate Word and UT Rio Grande Valley. Against UIW, he scored the winning goal in the second overtime to secure the win for KC. He followed that up with he first goal against UTRGV and then assisted on the game-winner to upset the nationally ranked Vaqueros. 
 
Jensen, a senior goalkeeper from Kaysville, Utah, earned his third and fourth shutouts of the season in wins over CSU Bakersfield and California Baptist. On Thursday against CSUB, he made two saves to help the Wolverines earn the 2-0 win. He followed that up with another two saves in a 1-0 win over California Baptist on Saturday. On the season, he leads the WAC with a 0.86 goals against average in just over 730 minutes played. In WAC-only play, he holds a 0.25 goals against average and .917 save percentage, both league bests.
 
Other offensive nominees: Air Force's JT D'Emidio converted on three of his four shots to earn the hat trick in a 6-0 win over CSU Bakersfield on Saturday … Grand Canyon's Hugo Logan scored his first collegiate goal late in the second half against San José State on Friday … UNLV's Timo Mehlich scored three goals on the weekend to help the Rebels earn a 2-2 draw with Seattle U and a 2-1 win over San José State … San José State's Rodolfo Castro tallied two goals, scoring once each in a tie at Grand Canyon and a loss at UNLV … UT Rio Grande Valley's William Akio scored his first career hat trick in Friday night's 4-0 win at Houston Baptist … Utah Valley's Alec Felix scored the game-winner in a 1-0 win over California Baptist on Saturday.
 
Other defensive nominees: Air Force's Kainoa Likewise had a career-high six saves on Wednesday against California Baptist and made four saves in a shutout win over CSU Bakersfield on Saturday … Grand Canyon's Ariel Aguas played all 110 minutes in a 2-2 draw with San José State and then the full 90 in a 1-0 loss to Seattle U … Kansas City's Filippo Errico tallied 13 saves, on the week, including a career-high 10 saves against UTRGV, to help the Roos go 2-0 on the week … San José State's Jeff Dukes was crucial in the Spartans' 2-2 draw at Grand Canyon on Friday night … UT Rio Grande Valley's Andy Rios earned the shutout on Friday night in a 4-0 win at Houston Baptist.
 
UP NEXT
Representing the mid-point of the conference season, this week will provide all 12 teams with a little extra rest as each squad will play just once. On Saturday, Utah Valley will take its undefeated record to Kansas City, San José State heads to SoCal to take on California Baptist, Air Force visits Houston Baptist, Grand Canyon makes the trip to UT Rio Grande Valley and Seattle U plays at CSU Bakersfield. In Sunday's lone match, UNLV takes on UIW in San Antonio.
 
BY THE NUMBERS
Seattle U continues to lead the WAC in shots (235), points (72), goals (25), goals against average (0.88), shutouts (7) and corner kicks (96).  Utah Valley is the assists leader (23) while UT Rio Grande Valley has the least goals allowed (10). California Baptist boasts the most saves (69). 
 
Individually, UVU's Blake Frischknecht leads the league in shots (47), goals (8), game-winning goals (5) and is among four leading the way in points (16). UTRGV's Angel Lopez is the leader in assists (6). In goal, UVU's Mitch Jensen is the leader in goals against average (0.86) while CBU's Albert Escuin holds the top spot in both saves (69) and save percentage (.821). SU's Akili Kasim has the most shutouts with six.
 
In WAC-only play, Seattle U holds the top spot in shots (104) and corner kicks (38) and is tied with Air Force for the lead in points (41) and assists (13) and with Air Force and San José State for the lead in goals (14). Utah Valley has the least goals allowed (1) and subsequently leads the league in goals against average (0.20) and shutouts (4). California Baptist holds the top spot in saves (33).
 
Individually, SU's Declan McGlynn is the leader in shots (25) and is tied with SJSU's Rudy Castro for the lead in goals (5). Castro also holds the top position in points (12) while Air Force's Tristan Trager holds the lead in assists (4). UVU's Frischknecht is the leader in game-winning goals with three. In net, UVU's Jensen holds a 0.25 goals against average and a .917 save percentage against WAC foes, both league bests. CBU's Escuin is the leader in saves (33) while UVU's Jensen and UTRGV's Andy Rios share the lead for shutouts (3).
 
REPPING THE RPI
The WAC has three teams in the top 100 of the first RPI rankings released by the NCAA. UT Rio Grande Valley leads the way at 43rd, followed by Utah Valley at 55th and Seattle U at 62nd.
 
ON THE MAP
Utah Valley's undefeated start in WAC play has not gone unnoticed as the Wolverines are among those teams receiving votes in both the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 and the College Soccer News Top 30.
 
BEST IN THE (FAR) WEST
This week's United Soccer Coaches' Far West Regional Rankings feature three teams from the WAC. Utah Valled moved up three spots to fifth, Seattle U dropped one spot to sixth and UT Rio Grande Valley moved down three spots but remain in the rankings at ninth.
 
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.
 
EIGHT SQUADS EARN TEAM ACADEMIC AWARD
Eight men's soccer teams from the Western Athletic Conference have earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2018-19 academic year. Houston Baptist had the highest team GPA among the WAC teams honored as the Huskies posted an impressive 3.44 grade-point average. Kansas City was next with a 3.40 GPA, followed by California Baptist at 3.34, Grand Canyon at 3.32, Utah Valley at 3.30, UT Rio Grande Valley at 3.21, Seattle U at 3.11 and CSU Bakersfield at 3.01. 345 men's teams across all three divisions were honored, with 255 schools receiving honors for both their men and women's team. Seven of the eight men's teams honored were joined by their women's teams on the list.
 
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 missed some time with the Rebels  in September as he spent time in Fiji competing for his native New Zealand in Olympic Qualifiers. Jones and the Kiwis went undefeated in poll play, defeated host Fiji in the semifinals and won the tournament with a 5-0 win over Solomon Islands in the final. Jones scored New Zealand's final goal in the championship match.
 
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.