Simon Fraser Claims GNAC Title And Team Of The Week
Simon Fraser clinched the conference title with a 4-0 win against Northwest Nazarene.
Simon Fraser clinched the conference title with a 4-0 win against Northwest Nazarene.

Monday, October 31, 2016

PORTLAND – With wins over Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings by a combined score of 8-0, Simon Fraser men’s soccer clinched the 2016 GNAC title and earned the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor.

Only two teams could catch Simon Fraser in the conference standings with four matches left entering the week. The Clan disposed of each team, beating them both 4-0 to keep the Clan unbeaten in 2016 at 13-0-2 overall and 9-0-2 in GNAC play.

It is the Clan’s fifth conference title in program history after winning a string of four in a row from 2010 to 2013. The Clan was also unbeaten in 2011, going 18-0-1 overall and 9-0-1 in conference play before SFU was eligible for NCAA Division II postseason. This year the Clan is eligible for the postseason and is currently the region’s top-ranked team.

“We talked the guys about the significance of the two games and challenging they would be,” Simon Fraser head coach Clint Schneider said. “Credit to the players, because they played well and finished their chances.”

On Thursday, Simon Fraser hosted Montana State Billings for just its fifth home match of the season, playing in tough weather conditions. Riley Pang scored the first goal of the game with off a cross from Adam Jones in the 43rd minute.  With the wind at its back in the second half, the Clan’s offense started to pile onto its lead with three goals in a 12-minute span, including Ryan Dhillon’s 24th career goal. He is the sixth player in GNAC history to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists.

Magnus Kristensen and Pascal Schmidt scored the other two goals and Robert Hyams was credited with assists on both. Senior goalkeeper Brandon Watson earned his 29th career shutout, breaking the all-time GNAC record.

Watson went on to record his 30th career shutout on Saturday as the Clan defeated Northwest Nazarene 4-0 in its final home match of the year. Mamadi Camara recorded his conference-best 24th point of the season, assisting on the first goal of the game with a pass to Adam Jones, who scored from 10 yards out to reach 23 points on the season himself.

In the 65th minute, Hyams and Kristensen connected again as Hyams chipped a free kick into the box. The Clan continued to add to its lead late in the second half with goals by Kyle Jones and Brendan Shaw.

“Joel (DeLass) and Alex (Balog) have both done a great job with their teams this year and we knew we were going to need a good performance, and we got that on Thursday and Saturday,” Schneider said. “Winning the title was always one of our goals at the beginning of the year. I think people outside of our conference, others don't understand how difficult it is and how consistent you have to be with performances on the road and at home to do it.”

The Clan’s unbeaten streak is now at 21 matches dating back to the 2015 season, when the Clan finished with six consecutive wins. The GNAC record for longest unbeaten streak is 24, which has been done three times and twice already by Simon Fraser this decade. The Clan will wrap up the regular season at Western Washington on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday. The Division II men’s soccer selection show is on Mon., Nov. 7, which will announce the Clan’s playoff destiny.