Nov. 1, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
The Western Washington University men's soccer team closes out its 2011 campaign Thursday (7 p.m.), entertaining nationally top-ranked Simon Fraser University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.
The game is the last for five Viking seniors. They are forward Tyler Bjork (Kirkland/Juanita), forward Kellan Brown (Tacoma/Bellarmine Prep), midfielder Sean Connor (Mount Vernon), midfielder Keith Ferris (Richland) and midfielder Oscar Jimenez (Mount Vernon).
WWU, which is 5-11-0 overall and fifth in the GNAC standings at 3-6-0, has lost five straight and seven of its last eight games after a 4-4 start.
Simon Fraser, rated No.1 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25, is 16-0-0 overall and 9-0-0 in GNAC play. The Clan, which has outscored opponents 58-10, already has clinched a second straight league title, becoming the first back-to-back champions in conference history.
The Vikings had a tremendous effort last Saturday at No.15 Seattle Pacific, falling 2-1 in the last minute of overtime.
WWU tied the game in the 66th minute when Brown scored on a header from seven yards off a Jimenez free kick. The assist was the 22nd of Jimenez's career, tying the school record held by Dennis Lapchis (1986-87, 1989-90).
Brown, who earned honorable mention All-America honors last year, leads WWU with seven goals and 16 points this season. His four-year career total of 27 goals is fourth among school leaders, and he ranks fourth in assists (15) and fifth in points (69).
Jimenez paces WWU with five assists and his career total of 22 is two short of the GNAC standard of 24 held jointly by Seattle University's Pat Doran (2002-05) and Montana State Billings' Chris Andre (2007-10).
WWU goalkeeper Keegan Rogers (Portland, OR/Portland Christian) has a 1.50 goals against average and .731 save percentage. Both figures rank third in the conference.
Head coach Travis Connell's (13th year, 117-115-14) Vikings lost 4-0 at Simon Fraser on Sept. 18.
The Clan is led in scoring by Carlo Basso with 13 goals. Three SFU players have eight assists - Justin Wallace, Juan Sanchez and Drew Williams, and Clan goalie Sheldon Steenhuis is allowing just 0.58 goals per game and has a .841 save percentage.