BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University men’s soccer head coach Greg Brisbon has announced the 2017 schedule, featuring non-conference trips to Colorado and California along with a pair of non-conference games at Harrington Field in addition to the conference slate.
The 2017 campaign begins in Bellingham as the Vikings host two California Collegiate Athletic Association opponents in Sonoma State (Thursday, Aug. 31) and Chico State (Saturday, Sept. 2). WWU faced both teams in California last year to begin the 2016 season.
Prior to the official start of the season, the Vikings will play three exhibition games. WWU travels to Spokane to face Gonzaga (Friday, Aug. 18) and Whitworth (Sunday, Aug. 20) for exhibition matchups. The Vikings host the University of Puget Sound (Saturday, Aug. 26) at Harrington Field for an exhibition as well.
After the non-conference home games against Sonoma State and Chico State, WWU will take a pair of trips to play the remainder of the non-conference schedule. The Vikings travel to Colorado to face Colorado Christian (Thursday, Sept. 7) and MSU Denver (Saturday, Sept. 9), two teams WWU hosted in Bellingham last season.
A week after the trip to Colorado, WWU will be in California for a neutral-site game against Fort Hays State (Thursday, Sept. 14), played at Dominican, followed by a matchup with Dominican (Saturday, Sept. 16.). The Vikings hosted Fort Hays State last season and will be facing Dominican for the second time in program history (first meeting in 2011).
The Vikings open the GNAC home schedule against Saint Martin’s (Thursday, Sept. 21). Additional conference home games will be against Seattle Pacific (Thursday, Oct. 5), Northwest Nazarene (Saturday, Oct. 7), Montana State Billings (Thursday, Oct. 12), Simon Fraser (Saturday, Oct. 14) and Concordia (Saturday, Nov. 4).
The first conference road game of the season for the Vikings will be at Seattle Pacific (Sept. 23). The remainder of the non-conference road schedule will be composed of games at Concordia (Saturday, Sept. 30), at Saint Martin’s (Thursday, Oct. 19), at Northwest Nazarene (Thursday, Oct. 26), at Montana State Billings (Saturday, Oct. 28) and at Simon Fraser (Thursday, Nov. 2).
WWU is coming off a 2016 season that featured the program’s first-ever berth into the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Vikings reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished 10-5-4 overall, including a 6-3-3 record in GNAC play to tie for 2nd in the conference standings.
Brisbon, entering his 5th year as head coach and 17th year overall with WWU soccer, was named the 2016 GNAC Co-Coach of the Year. The Vikings return 19 players with at least one year of varsity experience, including nine players with 10 or more starts during the 2016 season.
Among the returners are NSCAA All-West Region Third Team honorees Tyler Visten (Sr., GK, Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) and Anthony Dean (Sr., F, Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Bellevue College), who were both also All-GNAC Second Team honorees, along with First Team All-GNAC selection Luke Olney (Sr., M, Enumclaw, WA) and All-GNAC honorable mention choice Jeremiah Lee (So., M/D, Marysville, WA/Grace Academy). The Vikings also return key members of a defense that helped WWU to rank 2nd in the conference with eight shutouts and a .94 goals-against average last season.
Q&A with head coach Greg Brisbon
Can you provide a brief overview of the 2017 schedule, relating to both the non-conference and GNAC portions of the schedule?
It is a great schedule. Almost identical to last year but we add a PacWest team to help improve our overall strength of schedule. Every game will be difficult and a challenge, and that is what this program prefers.
Coming off a strong finish to the 2016 season and reaching the second round of the NCAA II Tournament, is there a degree of team momentum and/or morale that has carried into the offseason and preparation for next season?
I think so. I think we feel we have a lot to prove to people still. Also, we want that last game back. The team has been motivated from day 1 in January and we are ready for the fall season.
Can you speak briefly about the 2017 WWU team – what are you looking forward to in terms of both returners and newcomers?
Yes, we lost some important pieces to graduation but our nucleus is still intact. We have made great improvements this winter and spring individually and team wise, and I am looking forward to see how the guys come in in August.
Is there a specific goal or goals the team has/have in preparation for the 2017 season?
We want to build off last year and fix our errors we made last season. If we do that I feel we will have a great year.
The complete 2017 WWU men’s soccer schedule is as follows:
WWU Plays to 2-2 Tie Against Fort Hays State
Anthony Dean scores twice in 50th minute, WWU goes to OT for fourth time in 2017
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The Vikings face Fort Hays State to close out the non-conference schedule
Join WWU for a Saturday Soccer Doubleheader
Admission features a two-for-one ticket special with t-shirt and poster giveaways
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Senior forward Anthony Dean breaks tie with game-winning goal in 75th minute
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The Vikings face Colorado Christian on Thursday before opposing MSU Denver on Saturday
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Wildcats score golden goal with 12 seconds remaining in second overtime to claim victory
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Sonoma State nets golden goal in 96th minute during season opener for both teams
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The Vikings host Sonoma State and Chico State to open the regular season
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Christian Rotter and senior Luke Olney both score late in first half for Vikings
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Senior forward Anthony Dean scores twice for WWU in victory over Whitworth
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WWU is set to begin its exhibition schedule against Gonzaga and Whitworth
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The Vikings begin the exhibition season this weekend with games at Gonzaga and Whitworth