Men's Soccer: Clan Earns GNAC Team of the Week Award
SFU's Ryan Dhillon (middle) was selected the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week.
SFU's Ryan Dhillon (middle) was selected the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. - It’s been an impressive three weeks for Simon Fraser’s men’s soccer team.

Since squeaking out a 3-2 overtime win Sept. 22 at the University of Mary in a game which at the time was for first place, the Clan has outscored five different opponents by a combined margin of 24-2.

That included 5-0 and 6-0 home wins last weekend against U-Mary and Sioux Falls extending the Clan’s win streak to seven games. 

The two wins combined with Northwest Nazarene’s scoreless tie Saturday at Seattle Pacific, enabled SFU (12-1-0, 8-1-0)  to open a three-point lead (equivalent of a full game) in the GNAC standings over the second-place Crusaders (7-2-4, 6-0-3) who are unbeaten in their last 10 contests (7-0-3).

That sets up nicely a showdown Thursday in Nampa between the Clan and Crusaders for first place.  NNU handed SFU its only loss of the season (2-1) Sept. 15 at Burnaby.

Simon Fraser comes into Thursday’s key contest averaging better than four goals per game (53 in 13 games) and leads the nation in that category.  Northwest Nazarene, meanwhile, is the stingiest team in the conference, allowing just nine goals in 13 contests.

“We are getting scoring from a lot of different sources,” SFU head coach Alan Koch, who has guided the Clan to a 49-3-1 record in three seasons as a member of the GNAC, said.

SFU, which is eligible for the NCAA playoffs for the first time this fall, is gunning for its third straight conference title.  A win Thursday would give the Clan a six-point lead with just four conference games remaining.

In last week’s two wins, nine different players scored goals for the Clan led by forwards Ryan Dhillon and Colby Liston who had two each.  Dhillon was selected the GNAC Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week.

“Ryan has really got going the last few weeks,” Koch said.

As impressive as the offense has been, the defense has been as nearly as good.  “Quante Abbott Hill Smith has been quality at the back,” Koch said.

With Smith leading the way, the Clan defense made it fairly easy work for Clan goalkeeper Hide Ozawa last weekend. Ozawa had just one save in SFU’s two victories as his team outshot Mary and Sioux Falls by a 47-14 count.

On offense among the goal scorers was forward Carlo Basso who had a goal and an assist, increasing his league-leading point total to 24 points (10 goals, 4 assists).

The top four scorers in the conference based on points per game are all Simon Fraser players.

Midfielder Justin Wallace ranks second with 21 points (7 goals, 7 assists), while midfielder Jovan Blagojevic ranks third with 16 points (6 goals, 4 assists).  Forward John Hodnett, who returned Saturday after missing the four previous games, ranks fourth in per game average.  Overall, he has five goals and one assist.

Dhillon is tied for seventh in points per game and has 13 total points, while midfielder Alex Rowley has 12 points, including a GNAC-leading eight assists.