It’s been a busy two weeks since our last Caps In College feature.
The new season has proved a mixed bag for Vancouver Whitecaps Residency alumni in NCAA so far, but still a lot to play for as we get into the Conference championship matches and the playoffs.
There’s been a few goals scored by former Caps and some accolades handed out to.
Closer to home, UBC kick off their CIS postseason threepeat quest on Friday, whilst SFU are making a late play for the postseason in NCAA II and the PacWest Championships take place in Squamish this weekend.
The latest Top Drawer Soccer Top 100 National Players rankings saw two Whitecaps Alumni making it in. University of New Mexico Lobos midfielder Ben McKendry was ranked 7th and University of Kentucky goalkeeper Callum Irving came in 93rd. Both Juniors continue to make everyone proud.
The pair met on Saturday in Kentucky, with Irving’s Wildcats running out 1-0 winners. Both played the full 90 minutes and the clean sheet was Irving’s 9th in 14 games this season.
That was the Lobos third game since our last Caps In College piece. New Mexico won both 2-0, against Florida Athletic and Missouri State. McKendry started both games and grabbed an assist in the second goal against Missouri but the three results have seen New Mexico fall to 30th in the NCAA rankings.
Kentucky on the other hand have risen to 28th on the back of four straight wins, and three clean sheets for Irving. A 1-0 win over UAB was followed by a 2-0 victory over Marshall and a 5-1 away demolition of Evansville, before the New Mexico win.
Talking of goalkeepers, Sean Melvin kept his fourth clean sheet of the season in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s 2-0 win over Charleston on October 8th. Sophomore Melvin has not started any of the Seahawks last three games, however, with Junior keeper Sam Williams now back in goal, as UNCW recorded a draw, a loss and a win on their way to a ranking of 33.
One place above them in the rankings are the Tulsa Hurricanes, after winning three of their last four matches. Freshman Aymar Sigue grabbed a goal and an assist in the Hurricane’s 4-3 win over USF on October 8th. Sigue got his first regular season NCAA goal from the spot in the win. Defender Quinton Duncan continues to be in and out of the starting eleven.
Despite showing well, Freshman goalkeeper Nolan Wirth seems to have stopped alternating starts for Oregon State and hasn’t featured in any of the Beavers last four games. Their 8-5-1 record currently sees them ranked 36th.
Rookie central defender Nick Prasad and his Seattle Redhawks have won their last two games on their way to a 7-4-1 record and a 48 ranking. Prasad has started the last three matches for Seattle, including back to back clean sheets, and grabbed an assist on October 12th in the 3-0 win at Grand Canyon.
Brody Huitema’s Duke Blue Devils have lost five straight now and dropped to 61st in the rankings. Huitema has found his goalscoring form, and grabbed Duke’s lone goal in their last two matches – a 4-1 loss to defending champs Notre Dame and a 2-1 loss to Elon. That takes Huitema to three goals and three assists for the season so far from his 13 games.
Wesley Cain’s Wright State Raiders have an 9-5-1 record but a lowly ranking of 128. The Raiders are on a weird streak of won two, lost two, won two, lost two, won two! Cain has started three of the last four games and grabbed his second goal of the season in the 5-2 loss at Valparaiso on October 10th. He also grabbed an assist in last game, a 3-1 win over IPFW.
Fellow Horizon League side Milwaukee are having a tough season and have sunk to a 5-8-2 record and a ranking of 151, winning and losing two of their last four matches. Junior Declan Rodriguez grabbed his first two goals of the season in the Panthers come from behind 2-1 win over UIC on October 18th.
Simon Fraser University Clan have turned their season around a little and moved up the GNAC and West Region standings but they still have a lot of work to do and need several results to go in their favour if they’re to make it back to the postseason for the third straight year.
A Dakota double two weeks ago saw a 3-0 win over South Dakota School of Mines followed up with a 3-1 win at Mary in North Dakota. The Clan headed back home last to face unbeaten, top placed side Seattle Pacific, going down 2-1 after taking an early lead. SFU bounced back on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Saint Martin’s.
The Clan had an early game tonight, and a vital one at that. Despite playing the final 37 minutes with ten men, SFU held on for a 1-0 away win over Northwest Nazarene and a 7-4-2 overall record.
SFU were joint 8th in this week’s West Region rankings and have a big game on Saturday with Montana State Billings, which could go a long way to deciding their postseason fate, but with Northwest Nazarene ranked 5th, Thursday’s result was equally important and second place in the GNAC is still within their sights.
Whitecaps Residency alumni Alex Rowley started all but the Saint Martin’s game, contributing an assist to Magnus Christensen’s goal against Seattle.
The regular season is finished for the UBC Thunderbirds and the postseason now begins in earnest. After beating off allcomers for most of the year, the defending CIS champions stuttered to one win, one draw and two losses in their final four games.
The Fraser Valley Cascades inflicted the Thunderbirds first CIS defeat of the season on October 10th, with an 89th minute goal sealing a 2-1 away win. Although UBC bounced back with a 3-0 win over Trinity Western the following night, one week later UVIC Vikes scored two goals in the last seven minutes to secure a 2-1 victory in Victoria. The winning goal this time came in the 90th minute.
The Thunderbirds then rounded off their regular season with a fringe side playing to a 1-1 draw with Trinity Western to finish top of the Canada West Pacific Conference by a solitary point over Victoria, with a 9-2-1 record and a ranking of 3 in the CIS Top Ten.
Whitecaps Residency alumni Navid Mashinchi led the team in both goals (8) and assists (9). That assist total was led the Canada West stats. ‘Caps PDL player Sean Einarsson was just behind him with seven goals and contributed one assist, whilst fellow PDLer Niall Cousens finished the season with six goals and four assists, and Harry Lakhan had one of each.
The Canada West playoffs now get underway on Friday with the Thunderbirds hosting UBC Okanagan in a quarter final match up at Thunderbird Stadium. Kick-off is 7.00pm and admission is $15.
The winner will head to next weekend’s Canada West Final Four, which will be held at the highest seed in the Prairie Division. If things go to form that will be Saskatchewan.
The Huskies had also been looking to go for an undefeated season, but fell to a 2-1 defeat to bottom placed Mount Royal in their penultimate game and had to settle for a 9-1-2 record and a CIS ranking of 5. Saskatchewan’s 44 goals was highest in Canada West and 11 more than UBC’s final total.
Whitecaps PDL player Brett Levis, who has trained with the MLS side and is expected to get a look in USL Pro, led the Huskies and Canada West in scoring with 9 goals and was one behind UBC’s Mashinchi with 8 assists. His Huskies teammate and fellow Caps PDL player, Jordian Farahani, finished the season with four goals.
Keeping in the Prairie Division, and another ‘Caps PDL player, Cody Cook only managed five games for Mount Royal but grabbed four goals and two assists.
If UBC can get through that once again then they will head to Charlottetown, PEI for the CIS Championship tournament from November 6th to 9th. We had planned to head there to see the Thunderbirds claim a historic threepeat, but then we saw the price of flights!
The Pacific Western Athletic Association host their 2014 Championship this weekend at Quest University in Squamish.
The semi finals take place on Saturday, with number one seeds Vancouver Island facing the hosts, and number four seeds, Quest at 1pm. The action kicks off at 10am when second seeded Douglas Royals take on the KPU Eagles.
Of interest to Caps fans, Douglas features two Whitecaps Residency alumni – Mark Baldisimo and Spencer DeBoice – both of whom made the PacWest Conference All-Star team.
The PacWest championship game will take place on Sunday with a 1pm kick-off.