Here is the press release I received about the men's recruiting class. Hopefully they found some young guys that can step up and fill roles right away with key losses this offseason!
BELLINGHAM, Wash. --- Western Washington University men’s soccer coach Travis Connell announced today that six high school seniors and one junior college transfer will play for the Vikings this fall. The seven newcomers are midfielder/forward Austin Curtis from Bonney Lake High School, midfielder Leonard Kusina from Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School in Fairbault, Minn., defender/midfielder Kurtis Pederson from Bellarmine Prep; midfielder Nate Popp from Mount Si High School, midfielder Sawyer Preston from Eastlake High School, goalkeeper Nico Terentjev from Mercer Island High School,and defender Jeremy Wentzel, a transfer from Shoreline CC who graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School.
Curtis, Kusina, Pederson, Popp, and Preston all signed national letters of intent and Terentjev and Wentzel have accepted a formal offers of admission.
“We expect this group of talented young men to make an immediate impact on our program,” said WWU coach Travis Connell. “There is a little of everything in this class with goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and a forward. Next year our team will be bigger, stronger and faster, but we have been most impressed by this group’s eagerness to get started. They are excited to be Vikings.”
Curtis was a first-team Tacoma News Tribune all-Area and South Puget Sound League 3A all-star as a junior at Bonney Lake. He helped the Panthers to a 16-2-1 record, a SPSL title and the first round of the state playoffs where they had a 12-game win streak snapped in a 3-2 loss on penalty kicks to Lakeside. That season Curtis had 15 goals and led the league with 15 assists.
Kusina has played two seasons on a soccer academy squad and was captain of a U.S. Youth League U-16 squad in three years at Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School. He also competed two years at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, helping the Eclipse Phoenix Soccer Club to two state titles during his time there.
Pederson has been a second-team Narrows League all-star in each of his first three years at Bellarmine Prep. As a junior, he helped the Lions to a second straight league title and a third consecutive Class 4A state tournament appearance, having 10 goals and 12 assists.
Pederson has played two years for Seattle Sounders FC Academy and one year for Washington Premier FC Academy. He also competed for the Federal Way Storm club team, helping it to three straight state tournament appearances from 2007 to 2009.
Popp received KingCo League 2A/3A all-star honorable mention as a junior at Mount Si, having four assists in leading the Wildcats to the district playoffs. He has been team captain the last six years for the Crossfire Premier club team.
Preston, who is entering WWU this spring, plays for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. A second-team KingCo League 4A all-star as a senior at Eastlake High School, he had five goals and eight assists in helping the Wolves to the Class 4A state championship.
Terentjev is a team captain this season at Mercer Island High School and has played the last two years on the Crossfire Academy team.,
Wentzel is transferring spring quarter from Shoreline CC where he started for the Dolphins. He was a first-team Western Conference South Division all-star for the second straight year as a senior at Edmonds-Woodway High School. He scored six goals that season in helping the Warriors to a fourth consecutive district playoff appearance.
Wentzel played three years in the U.S. Development Academy system, two with Washington Premier and one with Seattle Sounders FC Academy.
WWU finished its 2011 campaign 5-11-1.
Austin Curtis, Midfielder/Forward
Freshman, 5-11, 170, 18, 8/21/93, Bonney Lake, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: First-team Tacoma News Tribune All-Area and South Puget Sound League 3A all-star as junior at Bonney Lake High School … Helped Panthers to 16-2-1 record, SPSL title and first round of Class 3A state playoffs, losing 3-2 on penalty kicks to Lakeside that snapped 12-game win streak … Had 15 goals and led league with 15 assists … Named school’s Male Athlete of the Year … One letter … Also lettered one year in football … Transfer from Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado … Did not play as sophomore because of torn ACL … Honorable mention all-Continental League all-star as freshman … Played one year with Seattle Sounders FC Academy and another with Washington Premier FC Academy.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in kinesiology with emphasis on pre-physical therapy.
Leonard Kusina, Midfielder
Freshman, 5-10, 155, 18, 1/23/94, Fairbault, MN
HIGH SCHOOL: Played two seasons on Soccer Academy squad and was captain of U.S. Youth League U-16 team during three-year stay at Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School … Also competed two years at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska … Started and lettered two years … Helped Eclipse Phoenix Soccer Club to state championships in 2007 and 2008, being team captain one year.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in business … His brother, Leroy, played soccer at Parkland College IL.
Kurtis Pederson, Defender/Midfielder
Freshman, 6-1, 180, 18, 10/6/93, Puyallup, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: Second-team Narrows League all-star for third straight year as junior at Bellarmine Prep … Named team’s Most Improved award winner … Helped Lions to second straight league title and to first round of Class 4A state tournament for third time… Scored 10 goals and had 12 assists … Team MVP as junior and Most Improved as freshman … Started and lettered three years … Played two years for Seattle Sounders FC Academy and one year for Washington Premier FC Academy … Also played on Federal Way Storm club team, helping it to three straight state tournament appearances from 2007 to 2009, reaching quarterfinals in 2009.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in business and engineering … His mother, Katie, ran track at Central Washington University … His sister, Ciarra, plays soccer (goalkeeper) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Nate Popp, Midfielder
Freshman, 5-11, 155, 17, 8/24/95, Redmond, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: Honorable mention KingCo League 2A/3A all-star as junior at Mount Si High School … Had 4 assists in leading Wildcats to district playoffs … Started two years and lettered three … Also earned two letters in tennis … Team captain last six years for Crossfire Premier club team.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in marketing … His brother, Morgan, plays soccer at University of Hawaii-Hilo.
Sawyer Preston, Midfielder
Freshman, 6-1, 175, 18, 9/9/93, Sammamish, WA
COLLEGE: Did not attend college last year … Played for Seattle Sounders FC Academy Team.
HIGH SCHOOL: Second-team KingCo League 4A all-star as senior at Eastlake High School … Team captain … Had five goals and eight assists in helping Wolves win league and Class 4A state championships … Won U.S. Marine Corps Achievement Award for Distinguished Athlete of the Year … Second-team all-league as junior with five goals and five assists on squad that reached first round at state … Three-time school Scholar-Athlete award winner … Started and lettered three years … Team captain of Crossfire Premier U-16 team that won 2009-10 Washington State Cup championship and went to Mexico for regionals … Team captain of Crossfire Academy for five seasons and played on U18 Seattle Sounders Academy team.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in sports medicine or business administration … His father, Wayne, played football for Toronto Argonauts.
Nico Terentjev (pronounced Tur-ren-chev), Goalkeeper
Freshman, 6-6, 210, 18, 3/11/94, Mercer Island, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: Team captain as a senior at Mercer Island High School … Started and lettered three years … Played on Crossfire Academy team two years … Helped Crossfire Premier BU15A team to semifinals at Washington State Championship Cup in 2010 … In 2008, played on team that was semifinalist at US Club Regional.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in exercise science or business … His father, Andy, football at Bowdoin College MA … His mother, Laury, played soccer, volleyball and basketball at Bates College MA.
Jeremy Wentzel, Defender
Sophomore, 5-5, 145, 19, 8/31/92, Edmonds, WA
COLLEGE: Transfer from Shoreline Community College … Started and lettered for Dolphins.
HIGH SCHOOL: First-team Western Conference South Division all-star for second straight year as senior at Edmonds-Woodway High School … Team captain and team MVP … Scored six goals in helping Warriors to fourth consecutive district playoff appearances … Played in WesCo North vs. South All-Star game as junior and senior … All-league honorable mention as freshman … Started and lettered four years … Played three years in US Soccer Development Academy system, two with Washington Premier Academy and one with Sounders Academy.
PERSONAL: Plans to major ineither philosophy and English.
Here is the press release sent to me from WWU sports. Pretty awesome news from a GNAC mens soccer perspective, more competition is only good for the conference.
U-Mary, Sioux Falls To Join GNAC For Soccer
The University of Mary, which is located in Bismarck, N.D., and the University of Sioux Falls of Sioux Falls, S.D., have agreed to become affiliate members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in men's soccer, GNAC Commissioner Dave Haglund announced Thursday.
The two NCAA Division II universities will begin play in the GNAC and the NCAA West Region beginning this fall.
They'll join Montana State University Billings, Northwest NazareneUniversity (Idaho), Saint Martin's University (Wash.), Seattle PacificUniversity (Wash.), Simon Fraser University (B.C.) and WesternWashington University bringing membership in the GNAC men's soccer conference to eight.
The eight schools will each play a 14-game home-and-home schedule
. U-Mary and Sioux Falls will be immediately eligible for the conference championship and all conference awards.
“We are extremely excited to welcome the University of Mary and theUniversity of Sioux Falls as affiliate members beginning this fall,” Haglund said. “They will greatly enhance our conference offering in men's soccer while providing important additional in-region NCAA Division II contests for all eight members.”
U-Mary and Sioux Falls are currently members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, which does not sponsor men's soccer. All its other teams will continue to compete in the Northern Sun.
“The University of Mary is thrilled to join the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and be a part of such a nationally-respected organization,” U-Mary athletic director Roger Thomas said.
“When looking for a home for our men's soccer team, we hoped to find a conference that shared our athletic and academic philosophies and played soccer at a very high level. We feel the GNAC is a perfect fit for the Marauders and will help us improve the visibility and provide stability for our program.”
“We are extremely excited to be a member of the GNAC,” said USF Athletic Director William Sanchez. “The GNAC is one of the premier NCAA DII conferences in the nation and has built a strong reputation in collegiate soccer. This is a big day for our university and our men's soccer program, as we complete our transition into the NCAA DII.”
U-Mary and Sioux Falls will join a conference that has accounted for nine men's soccer national championships from current or former members.
Simon Fraser was a perennial NAIA national powerhouse winning NAIA national titles in 1976, 1982 and 1983 before joining the GNAC in 2010 and becoming the first Canadian member of the NCAA.
This past year the Clan posted an 18-0-1 record and was the No. 1 ranked NCAA Division II team in the nation in the final regular-season poll though it was ineligible for the playoffs as a provisional NCAA member.
Seattle Pacific, which hosted the NCAA West Regional playoffs last season as the No. 1 seed, has won five NCAA Division II national titles, including 1978, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1993.
Former GNAC member Seattle University, which now competes at the Division I level, was the 2004 NCAA Division II national champion.
Both U-Mary under fifth-year head coach Dave Cook and Sioux Fallsunder second-year head coach Paul Bennett have previously competed against the GNAC.
Last year U-Mary played games against three of the GNAC institutions including Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene and Seattle Pacific, while Sioux Falls played four GNAC schools - Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene, Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser.
When Oscar Jimenez pointed to the crowd at Interbay Stadium in Seattle, it wasn’t to draw attention to himself, it was to give recognition to his dad. Jimenez’s family is important to him, so much so that he decided to go to Western Washington University because it was close to the Mount Vernon natives home. Being only 25 minutes away allowed him to travel home often and enjoy his moms cooking. Who knows, maybe that cooking is the reason the WWU Senior tied the school record for assists with 2 games left in the season.
Jimenez has been a central figure to the WWU Men’s soccer program since coming in 2008. He was a team leader as a sophomore, even having Head Coach Travis Connell give a halftime speech to him saying, “We are going to need some magic out of you because people on the team look up to you because you try hard.” They were losing 1-0; he got a goal and an assist to lead the team to a 2-1 away win. It was that same work ethic that got him to WWU in the first place.
“Oscar isn’t the type of the player that has one special skill, like being the fastest guy on the field, instead he is a well rounded, and technically gifted player that works hard.” Said Todd Stauber, one of Jimenez’s coaches as a young player, “He literally came from nothing, and to see where he is now is a testament of his work ethic.” From the time Jimenez was 14 on, Stauber has either coached or trained with him. He is also Jimenez’s current coach with the Tacoma Stars indoor team and was the person that talked with Connell about recruiting him to WWU.
As Jimenez reflects on his playing career at WWU, there wont be much that he will wish he could change. He will want to have beaten the record for assists, of course, but the team was more important to him than personal feats. He took on a more defensive role this year because the team needed help on the field there, causing the midfielder to not be as involved offensively. He was named captain of the team for this year and was disappointed with the how it went.
“I really wish I could have led my team to the NCAA tournament because it’s something we all really wanted. It sucked being captain and having such a bad season as a whole with not a very impressive record,” said the midfielder about the year. WWU went 5-11-1 for the season, but finished the year strong by giving league rival Simon Fraser their only blemish on the year, a 2-2 draw.
Jimenez notched 22 assists over his 4 year playing career, tying the WWU record held by Dennis Lapchis. Lapchis set the record between 1986 to 1990, taking a break for the 88/89 season. He was also just 2 shy of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference record of 24. “It feels awesome, and it means a lot to me because now any athlete or soccer player that comes to WWU will know who I am because I am on the sheet. I love the feeling of knowing I accomplished something and will be recognized. I wish I could have broken the record though,” said the midfielder. After a short pause, he later added, “It was awesome to get the tie against SPU (Seattle Pacific University).” Getting the record-tying assist against conference rival made it all the more sweet for Jimenez, but not as important as getting a result for the team.
Jimenez has big plans for the future. As a college athlete, he was never allowed to play for any monetary gain, but since his eligibility is now over, he jumped at the opportunity to get paid for what he loves. He signed with the Stars indoor team almost immediately following the season. In December he will also travel to Mexico to trial with some big name clubs. One of the most popular teams in Mexico has agreed to let him tryout, Chivas de Guadalajara. He said that his dream has always been to play professionally and this is the first step for him. But what if things don’t work out in Mexico? “Then the real job hunt begins.”
It's been a season of ups and downs for the WWU Men’s soccer team. They only won 5 games on the year and only 3 GNAC wins, but lost 6 of their last 8. The season started out promising with the team scoring 10 goals in their first 6 games, but only had 8 in their last 9 games, and saw the season take a turn for the worse. They finished 5th (out of 6) in the standings on the year and have plenty of room to improve.
The highlight of the year for me was watching Oscar Jimenez edge closer and closer to school and conference records for career assists. He tied for the school record at 22 and was only 2 out from tying the GNAC record of 24. (I would love to see him terrorize defenses on the side of the field, sending in cross after cross in a black and white striped kit…hint hint)
There are signs of future success as they are only graduating 6 but will lose team leaders Kellan Brown and Jimenez, along with Tyler Bjork who has had a pretty good year too. They will only lose one Senior in the back which is good news for the Vikings (a very young defense and GK this year is probably to blame for lack of defensive success) as next year will be more promising as players mature. But replacing those lost seniors will be tough: "You can never replace players of this caliber. It is important that everyone on our roster get better over the course of the year to make up for the loss of our quality senior class, but with each new year we will have a new team, with a different chemistry and different leaders. Last year we started the season with some proven star players," said coach Travis Connell. "Now we have a roster with players that could be star players. I am excited to see which players emerge and prove themselves as star players throughout the off-season.
One bright spot on the year though was the final home game against undefeated Simon Fraser. "Earning a draw in our final game of the season against the #1 ranked team in the NCAA was an exciting moment, but the best thing about every season is the time we get to spend with the players," said Connell. "Being able to get to know these fantastic young men is the best part of my job."
Connell looking to the future said, "As a coach, you learn things about your players and your team every year. The coaching staff is much more prepared to lead and motivate this group moving forward. We have a ton of talent on our roster and a hunger that will fuel us." Hopefully they can build on that. Having to "work through the fact that we fell short of our expectations" was a low spot on the year, but the team and coaching staff is the better for it.
Looking forward to next year and can't wait to see what coach Connell can do with the squad.
The WWU men rallied twice to tie SFU 2-2 and end their perfect season. They became the only team to not lose to nationally ranked #1 SFU this season. Simon Fraser University scored first and took the lead again in the 65th. It was senior night and senior Keith Ferris tied it up in the 85th to push the game to overtime.
“I’m really proud of all our guys,” said Western coach Travis Connell. “We’ve had some frustrations this season, but in the final week, we’ve taken the No.1 team in the region (Seattle Pacific) to overtime, and tied the No.1 team in the country. Our seniors have been great leaders in those games, and they deserve the success they’ve had.”
It was the final game for five Viking seniors. Aside from Ferris, it was also the last collegiate contest for forward Tyler Bjork (Kirkland/Juanita), forward Kellan Brown (Tacoma/Bellarmine Prep), midfielder Sean Connor (Mount Vernon), and midfielder Oscar Jimenez (Mount Vernon).
Western Washington vs. Simon Fraser
Date: 11/03/11 Attendance: 217
Goals by Period 1 2 OT Total
Simon Fraser 1 1 0--- 2
Western Washington 0 2 0 --- 2
SFU - Bennett (penalty kick), 25:00
WWU - Hastings (unassisted), 58:39
SFU - Basso (Sanchez), 63:22
WWU - Ferris (Hastings), 84:26
Shots: Western Washington 16, Simon Fraser 24
Corner kicks: Western Washington 7, Simon Fraser 10
Fouls: Western Washington 25, Simon Fraser 15
Saves: Western Washington 3 (Rogers 3), Simon Fraser 6 (Steenhuis 6)
The crowd was small (halloween, monday and at 2pm, its expected), it was cold and it was a non-conference game against a smaller school. It was a chance for WWU to try and get some momentum for the big game Thursday against Simon Fraser. But it wasn't meant to be. Local boy Alex Couweleers ruined those chances in the final 11 minutes, scoring two goals and putting the game out of reach for the Vikings.
The Eagles had the advantage in shots, 16-5, and that was definitely seen in the stands. They dominated possession and kept Western out of the game almost the entire time. Even when they equalized in the 36th minute, the feeling was that Trinity Lutheran would win.
Western is now 5-11 and has lost 5 straight.
Western Washington vs. Trinity Lutheran
Date: 10/31/11 Attendance: 75
Goals by Period 1 2 Total
Trinity Lutheran 1 2 --- 3
Western Washington 1 0 --- 1
TLC - Torres (unassisted), 20:48
WWU - Bjork (Dangvan), 35:21
TLC - Couweleers (Torres), 79:20
TLC - Couweleers (Torres), 85:56
Shots: Western Washington 5, Trinity Lutheran 16
Corner kicks: Western Washington 6, Trinity Lutheran 7
Fouls: Western Washington 11, Trinity Lutheran 11
Saves: Western Washington 2 (Rogers 1, Cohen 1), Trinity Lutheran 1 (Vazquez 1)
Even though the game featured a career highlight, it wasn't enough as the WWU men fell to SPU in overtime 2-1. SPU scored in the 10th minute of overtime to get the win.
Oscar Jimenez though tied the school record for assists with two games left on the year, but it wasn't enough as WWU is now 3-6-0 in GNAC play.
WWU was outshot 22-5 in regular time, and even though they held the advantage in OT, the Falcons capitalized on their only chance to win.
“I was really proud of our guys,” said Western coach Travis Connell. “We haven’t played well the last three games and this would have been an easy game for us to roll over. The guys came out with so much heart, determination and character, and fought tooth and nail for every inch of turf. It was inspiring to watch. We ended up losing to a really good team, but we ended up winning in the way we played.”
The Vikings equalized in the 66th minute off a Kellan Brown header. The assist was the 22nd in Jimenezs career and came off a free kick. "We’ve worked on it so many times,” Connell said of the set piece. “I asked the guys for something special today and they provided it. It was a fantastic goal.”
The Vikings end out their season with two home games, hosting Trinity Lutheran in a non-conference game Monday and Simon Fraser in GNAC play on Thursday.
Western Washington vs. Seattle Pacific
Date: 10/29/11 Attendance: 357
Goals by Period 1 2 OT Total
Western Washington 0 1 0 --- 1
Seattle Pacific 1 0 1 --- 2
SPU - Brand (Morris), 36:24
WWU - Brown (Jimenez), 65:11
SPU - Schultz (Brill, Nyone), 99:14
Shots: Western Washington 8, Seattle Pacific 23
Corner kicks: Western Washington 3, Seattle Pacific 5
Fouls: Western Washington 26, Seattle Pacific 13
Saves: Western Washington 10 (Rogers 10), Seattle Pacific 2 (Johnson 2)
WWU Men were blanked left scoreless again, and lost for the third straight. They fell to Saint Martins 2-0 and are now 3-5 in GNAC play.
“It was senior day for Saint Martin’s and they played very inspired and were the better team on the day,” said Western coach Travis Connell. “So, now we will regroup for our big rivalry game on Saturday with Seattle Pacific. I’m looking forward to the team bouncing back and performing at a much higher level than today.”
Saint Martin’s had a 15-9 advantage in shots and always looked the more dangerous team. The Vikings now head to SPU, ranked 15th nationally for a GNAC game on Saturday.
Western Washington vs. Saint Martin’s
Date: 10/27/11 Attendance: 126
Goals by Period 1 2 Total
Western Washington 0 0 --- 0
Saint Martin’s 1 1 --- 2
SMU - Kelley (unassisted), 32:23
SMU - Gaydosh (unassisted), 82:29
Shots: Western Washington 9, Saint Martin’s 15
Corner kicks: Western Washington 4, Saint Martin’s 4
Fouls: Western Washington 8, Saint Martin’s 5
Saves: Western Washington 7 (Rogers 4, Team 3), Saint Martin’s 5 (Olson 3, Team 2)
The Viking Men lost in overtime 2-1 and now fall to 5-8-0 overall and 3-4-0 in GNAC. This was Northwest Nazarenes first win in GNAC play. Sophomore Tye Hastings scored the lone goal for the Vikings, who led at halftime. "We haven’t played well in the second half of the last three games,” said Western coach Travis Connell. “I thought we were digging ourselves out of it toward the end of regulation, but the guy scored a great goal in overtime.” Western, which had a 19-6 advantage in shots, is now just 1-5-0 at home this season. It was also just the second loss ever to NNU in 12 meetings.
The Vikings are at Saint Martin’s on Thursday (1 p.m.) for a GNAC counter.
Western Washington vs. Northwest Nazarene
Date: 10/22/11 Attendance: 314
Goals by Period 1 2 OT Total
Western Washington 1 0 0 --- 1
Northwest Nazarene 0 1 1 --- 2
WWU - Hastings (Dangvan), 12:54
NNU - Voth (Starbuck), 46:43
NNU - Voth (Hamm, 93:42
Shots: Western Washington 19, Northwest Nazarene 6
Corner kicks: Western Washington 5, Northwest Nazarene 2
Fouls: Western Washington 9, Northwest Nazarene 10
Saves: Western Washington 0 (Rogers 0), Northwest Nazarene 8 (Engeman 8)
Kellen Brown had a brace on the day to help the Vikings to a 2-1 win over Dixie State. The road trip started with 2 losses, making their current record 5-6. The two goals improved Brown to 4th on the all time score sheet in WWU history. “It was a great win and a good way to end the road trip,” said Western coach Travis Connell. “Sujinda was very dangerous on the restarts, and Kellan was outstanding in converting them.”
Dixie State did not score until the 89th minute, Nyle Ortiz heading in a shot that caromed off the crossbar.
WWU goalkeeper Keegan Rogers (Portland, OR/Portland Christian) made five saves, two of which were termed “fantastic” by Connell. Dixie State had advantages of 18-10 in shots and 7-1 in corner kicks.
The Vikings next entertain Montana State Billings on Thursday, Oct. 20 (7 p.m.) in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest at Orca Field on the campus of Whatcom CC.
Western Washington vs. Dixie State
Date: 10/11/11 Attendance: 105
Goals by Period 1 2 Total
Western Washington 1 1 --- 2
Dixie State 0 1 --- 1
WWU - Brown (unassisted), 13:14
WWU - Brown (unassisted), 55:02
DSC - Ortiz (unassisted), 88:09
Shots: Western Washington 10, Dixie State 18
Corner kicks: Western Washington 1, Dixie State 7
Fouls: Western Washington 10, Dixie State 14
Saves: Western Washington 5 (Rogers 5), Dixie State 3 (Sagel 1, Walters 1, Team 1)