Previewing the Opponents: Non-conference Part 1


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As part of our coverage leading up to the Wisconsin mens soccer teams season-opening match on Sept. 4, UWBadgers.com is offering a preview of the Badgers' opponents for the 2009 season. Today, we take a look at the six non-conference opponents UW will face in tournaments over the first three weekends of the season:

Virginia Tech Hokies
Sept. 4 | Middleton Sports & Fitness Invitational | Madison, Wis.
Conference: ACC
Head Coach: Mike Brizendine , 1st season
Record at School: 0-0-0 (.000)

2008 Record: 5-13-1
2008 Conference Record (Finish): 0-8-0 (9th)
Postseason: None
Final RPI: 102
Final NSCAA Ranking: NR

Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4

All-Time Series: First meeting
Last Meeting: N/A

Outlook: The Hokies head to Madison on Sept. 4 for their first-ever meeting with the Badgers in the season-opener for both teams. A College Cup qualifier in 2007, Virginia Tech went winless in conference last season and has been picked to finish last in the ACC for the second-consecutive year. The team is now under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Brizendine following the resignation of Oliver Weiss in June.

Key Stat: The Hokies allowed nearly twice as many goals (47) as they scored (24) last season.

Player to Watch: James Gilson | A senior, Gilson tied for the team lead with six goals last season and had team-high totals in assists (4) and shots (34).


DB_OEM_ID=12000&KEY=&SPID=4941&SPSID=49917"> --> Western Illinois Leathernecks
Sept. 6 | Middleton Sports & Fitness Invitational | Madison, Wis.
Conference: Summit League
Head Coach: DB_OEM_ID=12000&KEY=&ATCLID=638587&SPID=4941&SPSID=61235"> --> Eric Johnson , 13th season
Record at School: 104-114-17 (.479)

2008 Record: 12-5-3
2008 Conference Record (Finish): 3-2-1 (2nd)
Postseason: None
Final RPI: 90
Final NSCAA Ranking: NR

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/8
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4

All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads, 6-3-1
Last Meeting: sportid=122&storyid=15170"> --> Western Illinois 1, Wisconsin 0 (Oct. 1, 2008)

Outlook: The Leathernecks have won three of the last five Summit League titles and are picked to finish third in the conference this season. Western provided the Badgers one of their most difficult losses a season ago, winning 1-0 at McClimon on a long volley that sneaked into the UW goal early in the second half.

Key Stat: WIU allowed just 14 goals in 20 games last season (0.70 per game) and posted eight shutouts, including their 1-0 win over the Badgers in Madison.

Player to Watch: SPSID=49920&SPID=4941&DB_OEM_ID=12000&ATCLID=631583&Q_SEASON=2009"> --> Stephen Paterson | The senior posted a school-record 0.76 goals-against average and a .819 save percentage last season on his way to six shutouts in 17 games and second-team All-Summit League honors.


San Diego Toreros
Sept. 11 | San Diego State Tournament | San Diego, Calif.
Conference: West Coast
Head Coach: Seamus McFadden , 30th season
Record at School: 300-216-47 (.575)

2008 Record: 6-10-4
2008 Conference Record (Finish): 6-5-1 (3rd)
Postseason: None
Final RPI: 123
Final NSCAA Ranking: NR

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 19/10
Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2

All-Time Series: Tied, 0-0-1
Last Meeting: Wisconsin 0, San Diego 0 (OT) (Aug. 30, 1986)

Outlook: The Toreros have been picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference but return plenty of experience with nine starters back from last seasons squad. That includes a pair of first-team All-WCC selections in defender Ryan Peterman and goalkeeper Kelin Briones, as well as leading scorer Andrew Feld (7 goals, 3 assists).

Key Stat: A streaky team in 2008, the Toreros went winless in their first eight games before winning six of seven to even their record at 6-6-3 by late October. They then went 0-4-1 over their final five matches to finish the season.

Player to Watch: Ryan Peterman | The only USD player to start all 20 games last season, Peterman is a preseason All-WCC selection as a defensive specialist.


San Diego State Aztecs
Sept. 13 | San Diego State Tournament | San Diego, Calif.
Conference: Pac-10
Head Coach: Lev Kirshner , 10th season
Record at School: 62-81-29 (.445)

2008 Record: 6-9-3
2008 Conference Record (Finish): 3-4-3 (3rd)
Postseason: None
Final RPI: 99
Final NSCAA Ranking: NR

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3

All-Time Series: First meeting
Last Meeting: N/A

Outlook: Coming off a third-place finish in the Pac-10 last season, the Aztecs have been tabbed to finish fifth in the six-team league this year despite returning six all-conference selections from 2008 and eight starters in all.

Key Stat: The Aztecs finished three games under .500 last season thanks in large part to three overtime losses. In all, seven of their nine defeats came by one-goal margins.

Player to Watch: Raymundo Reza | Having started 31 games in his first two seasons, Reza is an experienced forward who led the Aztecs with eight goals last season. Named honorable mention All-Pac-10, the junior also showed his accuracy by putting 62 percent of his shots on goal last season.


Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Sept. 18 | UW-Milwaukee Panther Invitational | Milwaukee, Wis.
Conference: Summit League
Head Coach: Eric Pogue , 1st season
Record at School: 0-0-0 (.000)

2008 Record: 14-4-2
2008 Conference Record (Finish): 5-0-1 (1st)
Postseason: NCAA First Round (lost to Ohio State on PKs)
Final RPI: 36
Final NSCAA Ranking: NR

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 11/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/8

All-Time Series: Tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: sportid=122&storyid=11975"> --> Oakland 3, Wisconsin 2 (Oct. 24, 2007)

Outlook: The class of The Summit League a year ago on their way to a second-consecutive NCAA tournament berth, the Golden Grizzlies have been picked to finish second in the league this year after losing eight starters from their 2008 squad. The list of players Oakland must replace starts with keeper Steve Clark, who posted a 0.54 goals-against average and had 11 shutouts last season, and also includes six players who accounted for 21 of the teams 34 goals (62 percent). Also departed is former head coach Gary Parsons, who spent 28 seasons leading the Golden Grizzlies before retiring over the off-season and handing the program over to former assistant Eric Pogue.

Key Stat: Oakland gave up a staggeringly-low total of 11 goals in 20 games last season, outscoring their opponents by an average of 1.15 goals per contest.

Player to Watch: Stefan St. Louis | The Golden Grizzlies leading scorer a year ago, St. Louis returns after being named first-team All-Summit League and first-team all-region last season. The forward had a team-high eight goals and added a pair of assists in 2008.


UC Santa Barbara
Sept. 20 | UW-Milwaukee Panther Invitational | Milwaukee, Wis.
Conference: Big West
Head Coach: Tim Vom Steeg , 11th season
Record at School: 140-56-20 (.694)

2008 Record: 10-7-5
2008 Conference Record (Finish): 5-2-3 (2nd)
Postseason: NCAA Second Round (lost to Cal, 3-2)
Final RPI: 19
Final NSCAA Ranking: 22

Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4

All-Time Series: First meeting
Last Meeting: N/A

Outlook: In what was a down year for the traditional powerhouse from the West Coast, UCSB recorded its fewest wins (10) since 2000 and was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament by No. 9 Cal. After starting a number of freshmen last season, the Gauchos have high expectations heading into 2009. They enter the year as the preseason favorite to win the Big West Conference and are ranked No. 16 in the NSCAA preseason poll. The Gauchos return seven starters but must replace four who accounted for 54 percent of their scoring last season including the 14 goals scored by D.C. United draft pick Chris Pontius.

Key Stat: The Gauchos scored 41 goals last season, which tied for the eighth-highest scoring output in NCAA Division I.

Player to Watch: David Walker | The senior forward is the Gauchos top returning threat on attack after posting a career-high three goals last season to earn honorable mention All-Big West honors.

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