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:
Garrett Strawn Named to Academic All-District Team
Strawn voted as one of four GNAC honorees, advances to Academic All-America ballot
Five Vikings Earn Men's Soccer All-GNAC Honors
Anthony Dean and Tyler Visten named unanimous First Team All-GNAC selections for WWU
WWU Ties No. 15 Simon Fraser 0-0 After Double OT
WWU ties GNAC champion Simon Fraser in Burnaby for second straight year
Men's Soccer Edged 2-1 by Visiting Concordia
Cavaliers score twice early, Vikings net goal on penalty kick by Anthony Dean
WWU Game at Simon Fraser Postponed Due to Snow
Snow at Terry Fox Field in Burnaby forces reschedule of Thursday's game to Sunday
WWU Heads to No. 15 Simon Fraser, Hosts Concordia
Vikings enter final week of GNAC schedule battling for conference title
Men's Soccer Falls 2-0 at MSU Billings
Yellowjackets score in 66th minute to take lead, add late goal in final minute of game
Record Eleven Vikings Earn GNAC All-Academic Honors
WWU sets program record for GNAC All-Academic honorees, Olney earns third honor
WWU Battles to Scoreless Tie at Northwest Nazarene
Tyler Visten ties career high with 10 saves, including a penalty kick save during first half
WWU Travels to Northwest Nazarene, MSU Billings
The Vikings are tied for 2nd in the GNAC with four conference games remaining
Men's Soccer Falls 3-2 at Saint Martin's
WWU edged by one-goal margin for second straight game, Dean and Olney score for Vikings
Vikings Travel to Face Saint Martin's on Thursday
WWU (6-3-3, 5-1-1 GNAC) begins a stretch of four consecutive road contests this week
WWU Edged 1-0 on Golden Goal in Double OT by SFU
Simon Fraser scores in 109th minute as Vikings suffer first defeat since Sept. 2
WWU Shuts Out MSU Billings 2-0, Extends Unbeaten Streak
Vikings score in 81st and 90th minutes, extend unbeaten streak to nine games
WWU to Host MSU Billings, No. 16 Simon Fraser
Vikings (4-0-1 GNAC) look to continue strong start to conference schedule at home