Notebook: Timbers U-23s rack up collegiate honors
As fall settles in over the Rose City, the NCAA’s 2010 soccer season is nearing its end as tournament play kicks into gear. Led by midfielder Steven Evans’ WCC Freshman of the Year honors, the Portland Timbers U-23s peppered the lists of collegiate end-of-season accolades.
In the club’s backyard at the University of Portland, Evans produced an impressive freshman season with the Pilots, leading the team in assists and ranking second in goals scored with four. For his accomplishments, he was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and became the Pilots’ first player since 2004 to win such honors.
Despite missing the NCAA tournament as an at-large invitee, UP finished in third place in the WCC (9-4-6, 6-3-3) and wrapped up the campaign with a 1-0 road win over tournament-bound Santa Clara on Nov. 12; scoring the game winner was senior and Timbers U-23s midfielder Jarad vanSchaik.
With yet another winning season on the books, the Pilots had six players earn all-conference honors and leading the way were Timbers U-23s players Evans, vanSchaik and defender Ryan Kawulok. In addition to being selected to the WCC All-Freshman Team, Evans also received an All-WCC second-team nod. Following up his PDL All-Western Conference honors with the Timbers U-23s over the summer, Kawulok landed on the All-WCC First Team along with vanSchaik.
Just up I-5, Timbers U-23s forward Brent Richards completed the NCAA season as the Washington Huskies’ leading scorer for a third straight season and once again received All-PAC-10 honors. One of the Huskies’ captains this season, Richards tallied eight goals and five assists, including three game-winning goals. After honorable mention and second-team honors in previous seasons, Richards received his first All-PAC-10 First Team selection in 2010. In PAC-10 games he ranked first in the conference in shots and shots per game, third in goals, fourth in points and points per game, fifth in goals per game and ninth in assists.
From Camas, Wash., Richards junior season with the Huskies also included PAC-10 All-Academic first-team honors, marking the third time he’s made a conference all-academic team; he has a 3.74 grade-point average. He was also a CoSIDA District VIII First-Team All-Academic honoree this year.
Along with Richards’, two other Timbers U-23s were noted for their academic achievements during the NCAA season. Defenders Chris Harms and Taylor Thompson at Oregon State University garnered PAC-10 All-Academic honorable mention. To be eligible for selection to a conference academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant contributor.
With the regular season under wraps, it is tournament time as 48 teams start the quest for the 2010 College Cup. Timbers U-23s defenders Brock Granger and Matt Drake have their respective schools prepped for a run at a national championship.
With a nail-biting win over Providence in the conference championship match at Red Bull Arena, Granger helped No. 1 ranked Louisville to the BIG EAST tournament championship on Nov. 14. With a sparkling 16-0-3 record, the BIG EAST regular-season title and now the conference’s tournament championship in hand, the Cardinals were awarded the top overall seed entering the national tournament. As the No. 1 seed, they receive a bye to the second round and will face the winner of the East Tennessee St. and College of Charleston game Sunday, Nov. 21. Just a sophomore, Granger is tied for second on the team with four assists and has appeared in every game (18 starts) for the Cardinals this season.
Including his PDL season with the Timbers U-23s, Granger has played 39 matches in 2010 without a loss (20-0-0 with Portland and 16-0-3 with Louisville).
Also out of the BIG EAST, Drake and the West Virginia Mountaineers will make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. A native of Happy Valley, Ore., Drake helped West Virginia to a 10-7-2 record during the regular season and reach the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST tournament before falling to Louisville; the Mountaineers received an at-large bid to the tournament.
Drake played in all 19 games for West Virginia, recording two goals and an assist. He aided in the team’s stellar 9-1-0 home record during the season and has Morgantown, West Virginia, talking title run as they play host their first-round opponent Xavier.
A little closer to home, former USL Timbers player Andrew Gregor, who served as an assistant coach for the Timbers U-23s in 2010, helped lead the Pacific University Boxers to the Northwest Conference title and an automatic entry into the NCAA Division III tournament. Gregor served as an assistant coach for the Boxers on the staff of head coach Jim Brazeau, who was the USL Timbers goalkeeper coach for eight seasons (2001-05; 2007-09).
Based in Forest Grove, Ore., Pacific returned to the tournament for the first time since 1998 and finished the conference season with a 10-2-2 record. The Boxers faced Trinity – the overall No. 1 team in the tournament – in the first round and lost 3-1.