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This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Nov. 5

This Week in WAC Men's Soccer - Nov. 5
 
AF'S TRAGER, SU'S BURGESS NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Air Force's Tristan Trager and Seattle U's Nkosi Burgess have been named Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for October 28 – November 3.
 
Trager, a sophomore forward from San Clemente, Calif, recorded back-to-back hat tricks to clinch the Falcons' ticket for the upcoming WAC tournament. Against Grand Canyon, he scored his first three goals in regulation, including the equalizer in the 87th minute that allowed the Falcons to send the game to overtime and eventually score the game-winner in extra time. He followed the hat trick up with another three goals on Saturday against UNLV, putting the ball in net for all three Falcon scores in a 3-2 win. He now leads the WAC with 12 goals and 28 points in 16 matches played.
 
Burgess, a senior defender from Manhattan, New York, helped lead the Redhawk back line to a pair of shutouts on the road at UIW and UT Rio Grande Valley to clinch the regular season title. Against UIW, the Redhawks held the Cardinals to just five shots, including none in the second half, en route to a 1-0 win. On Sunday, UTRGV managed seven shots but Burgess anchored the line in a second-straight 1-0 win for the Redhawks.
 
Other offensive nominees: CSU Bakersfield's Ryan Goldsmith had an assist in Friday's 2-1 win over Kansas City and both goals in a 2-0 win at Houston Baptist on Sunday … Grand Canyon's Justin Rasmussen scored in each of the Lopes' matches on the week … Kansas City's Nate Temm totaled three points on the week, assisting on the lone goal in a 2-1 loss on Friday to CSU Bakersfield and scored the game-winner in a 1-0 win over California Baptist on Sunday … San José State's Rudy Castro for the Spartans in a 2-1 win over Incarnate Word … Utah Valley's Zach Maas scored in each of the Wolverines' wins over UNLV and Grand Canyon and has now scored in three straight matches.
 
Other defensive nominees: Air Force's Kainoa Likewise made 13 total saves in a pair of home wins against Grand Canyon and UNLV to clinch a spot in the WAC Tournament … CSU Bakersfield's Detre Bell made 11 saves to help the 'Runners earn a pair of road wins at Kansas City and Houston Baptist … Grand Canyon's Julien Armaroli scored the first goal of his collegiate career and played an important role on defense in two overtime losses … Kansas City's Filippo Errico tallied 13 total saves in a home split against CSU Bakersfield and California Baptist … San José State's David Sweeney tallied his third straight shutout in a scoreless draw at UTRGV and followed that up with six saves in a 2-1 win at UIW … UT Rio Grande Valley's Andy Rios recorded his eighth shutout of the season in a scoreless draw with San José State on Friday … Utah Valley's Ahmed Longmire helped a short-handed defense earn a pair of wins at home over UNLV and Grand Canyon to clinch a spot in the upcoming WAC Tournament.
 
UP NEXT
It all comes down to this. The final two spots and plenty of seeding will be decided on Saturday on Decision Day around the WAC. Kansas City and Houston Baptist will be playing for a trip to Colorado when they face off on Saturday evening in Houston. UT Rio Grande Valley will also be playing for a trip to the tournament when they make the trip to UIW. Air Force and Utah Valley meet up in the afternoon with the second seed up for grabs. San José State and CSU Bakersfield will also be playing for seeding when they travel to Seattle U and California Baptist respectively. UNLV heads to Grand Canyon as both teams will conclude their season in Phoenix in the final game of the regular season.
 
TICKET PUNCHED
One week after clinching a spot in the upcoming WAC Tournament, Seattle U used a win at UIW to clinch the regular season title and top seed. Utah Valley, Air Force, CSU Bakersfield and San José State also clinched a spot with the remaining two spots up for grabs this weekend.
 
BY THE NUMBERS
Seattle U continues to lead the WAC in shots (309), points (99), goals (34), shutouts (9) and corner kicks (122). Utah Valley holds the lead in assists (32) while UT Rio Grande Valley has the least goals allowed (12) and the top goals against average (0.77). California Baptist holds the top mark in saves (97).
 
Individually, UVU's Blake Frischknecht is the leader in shots (75), and game-winning goals (5). Straight off back-to-back hat tricks, AF's Tristan Trager holds the top spot in points (28) and goals (12). SU's Declan McGlynn and AF's Lathan Spadafora are tied for the assists lead (7). In goal, UTRGV's Andy Rios holds the top goals against average (0.77) and CBU's Albert Escuin is the leader in save percentage (.829) and saves (97). SU's Akili Kasim is the shutouts leader with nine.
 
In WAC-only play, Seattle U holds the top spot in shots (178), assists (22) and corner kicks (64) and is tied with Air Force for the lead in points (68). Air Force also leads the league in goals scored (25) while UTRGV is tops in least goals allowed (6) and goals against average (0.57). California Baptist is the leader in saves (61).
 
Individually, UVU's Frischknecht holds the lead in shots (48) and is tied with CSUB's Ryan Goldsmith for the top spot in game-winning goals (3). AF's Trager is the leader in points (22) and goals (9). SU's McGylnn and AF's Spadafora are tied for the assists lead (6). In goal, UTRGV's Rios hold a WAC-best 0.57 goals against average and six shutouts while CBU's Escuin holds the top mark in save percentage (.871) and saves (61).
 
REPPING THE RPI
The WAC has three teams in the top 100 of the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA. Seattle U moved up two spots to 44, UT Rio Grande Valley fell three spots to 75 and Utah Valley jumped five spots to 88.
 
BEST IN THE (FAR) WEST
This week's United Soccer Coaches' Far West Regional Rankings feature three teams from the WAC. Seattle U stayed idle at fifth, Utah Valley moved up two spots to seventh and UT Rio Grande Valley reentered the poll at ninth. 
 
HEADING TO THE HALL OF FAME
Grand Canyon's Schellas Hyndman's historic year at the helm of the GCU men's soccer program is being followed with his induction into the United Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame.
 
Hyndman, now in his 42nd year as a collegiate or professional head coach, will be inducted in January alongside New York prep coaching legend George Herrick and Ohio Wesleyan coaching great Dr. Jay Martin. The United Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame, established in 1991, selects up to three members per year for induction. Honorees are chosen with an emphasis on success in the game, work with the association and lifetime contributions to soccer.
 
Hyndman has coached at Eastern Illinois, SMU and GCU, as well as spending six seasons as an MLS head coach for FC Dallas. He holds the fifth most wins by a Division I men's soccer coach after reaching the historic 500-win mark for his collegiate career in this season's Aug. 30 opener against Northern Kentucky. Only South Carolina's Mark Berson has more wins among active Division I coaches.
 
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.