Beavers Kick Off Pac-12 Play Against No. 22 Washington
Sept. 28, 2011
CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State men's soccer team (2-5-1) opens Pac-12 Conference play when it hosts No. 22 Washington (5-1-2) on Friday night at Paul Lorenz Field at 7 p.m.
"Going into the Pac-12, whether you are winning, losing or somewhere in the middle, it is a new season because it takes on a whole new shape," Oregon State head coach Steve Simmons said. "The Pac this year ... is going to be difficult. We need to make sure our guys are ready for their opportunity. It's a chance for us to continue to grow and see if we can take those moments and tighten them up and see if we can get something we deserve out of it."
The game will be the 36th meeting between the two schools, the most all-time for the Beavers against any one opponent. Oregon State is 10-23-2 in those meetings and has played the Huskies at least once every year since 1989. The Beavers are 3-2 in the last five matchups with their rivals from the North and are 5-3-1 in the last nine games with Washington in Corvallis.
The Beavers dropped a pair of tough decisions against UMKC and Cal State Bakersfield as part of the Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic in Corvallis last weekend. Roberto Farfan scored Oregon State's lone goal off of a free kick in a 2-1 loss to the Kangaroos on Friday. On Sunday, freshman Mike Reckmeyer scored his first collegiate goal and OSU held the Roadrunners' Gyasi Zardes, the nation's leading scorer, without a tally, but couldn't get the win in another close 2-1 contest.
"I think there is going to be more positives than negatives coming out of the tournament as far as performance," Simmons said. "There are certain things that we've got to tighten up on and I think that these are things that are very much in our control."
While this game is OSU's first conference tilt as a member of the newly minted Pac-12, the contest will actually begin the Beavers' 12th season in the league with their peer institutions in California and Washington. Oregon State owns a 33-68-7 all-time record as a member of the Pac-12, including a 21-28-5 mark in conference games played at Paul Lorenz Field. The team is 1-1 all-time in Pac-12 openers against the Huskies and is 2-9-0 in its previous 11 games to kick off the conference schedule.
So far this season, three of Oregon State's nine goals have been put home by freshmen. Will Seymore scored the team's first goal of the year against Portland; Khiry Shelton notched his first career goal against then-No. 3 North Carolina and last Sunday versus Bakersfield, Mike Reckmeyer scored for the Beavers less than 30 seconds after entering the game as a substitute in the 28th minute. Those three goals represent more than half of the total scored by freshmen on Pac-12 rosters this season. Tyler Smith of San Diego State and Connor Hallisey of California are the only other players fresh out of high school that have been able to put the ball in the back of the net for their teams this year.
Sophomore midfielder Alex Eckerson is tied for third in the Pac-12 in goals (3) and game-winning goals (2), while his six points tie him for seventh. Emery Welshman and Farfan are tied for eighth in the conference in assists (2) and keeper Steve Spangler is tied for the top spot in saves (33).
Washington enters the game tied for the best record in the Pac-12 in non-conference play (5-1-2). After losing their only game of the year against Portland on Sept. 21 (1-0), the Huskies shutout Houston Baptist (4-0) and defeated UAB (2-1) to take both games of the Husky Soccer Classic this past weekend.
Brent Richards is second in the conference in goals (6) and points (13) and Jacob Hustedt is tied for second in assists (4), but the greatest strength of the team could be in the back, as Washington has only surrendered three goals in eight games. Sophomore Spencer Richey has posted five shutouts and made 25 saves in almost 800 minutes of action. His 0.35 GAA leads the Pac-12 and is fifth in the country. Washington was picked to finish third in the conference in a preseason polling of the league's coaches and Richards was named a College Soccer News Preseason All-American.
"Washington is very organized, very opportunistic, they're all on the same page and they're a physical team," Simmons said. "We have to match up on those challenges and that's our goal this week in training- to make sure we are ready to compete against that kind of team."
The Beavers opened up last season's conference schedule with a 2-1 victory on the road against No. 23 San Diego State on Oct. 1, 2010. That victory is the team's last over a ranked opponent and was OSU's second in a row over an Aztec squad that was in the top-25. Oregon State defeated No. 25 SDSU, 2-1, on Nov. 8, 2009 in its penultimate game of that year.
The game on Friday will be OSU's second this season against a team currently ranked in the NSCAA Top-25 Poll, joining then-No. 3 North Carolina, whom the Beavers played on Sept. 2. Oregon State's last win over a ranked opponent at home also came against San Diego State when it downed the No. 18 Aztecs, 2-0, on Oct. 21, 2007.
Live stats will be available online via Gametracker at osubeavers.com. Fans can also follow the Oregon State men's soccer team throughout the season by following @OSUBeavers_MSOC on Twitter. Links to stories, photos and much more will be tweeted through the official Twitter page of Oregon State men's soccer.
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