Timbers Notebook: U-23s Hemmi leads CSM's title chase

In the college ranks, its NCAA and conference tournament time, and Timbers U-23s midfielder Masaki Hemmi has No. 11 Colorado School of Mines ready for a run to the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship.
 
With an impressive 11-2-1 record in conference play this season, CSM finished in second place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). On Monday, the Orediggers learned they had earned a trip to the national championship tournament for just the second time in school history.
 
Hemmi, who played in 13 games with the Timbers U-23s last season, started all 20 games for the Orediggers during the regular season and ranked second on the team with six assists.
 
CSM’s journey to a national title begins Friday against conference rival Fort Lewis. The winner will advance to the second round to play either West Texas A&M or ninth-ranked Midwestern State on Sunday.
 
The last trip to the national tourney for CSM was in 2005 – Hemmi’s freshman season.
 
Runnin’ into the conference tournament …
Roughly 400 miles north of where Hemmi and the Orediggers will open tournament play in Colorado, Timbers U-23s midfielder Roberto Farfan and UNLV kickoff the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament Thursday in Denver. It’s the first MPSF tournament since 2003.
 
The Rebels are the sixth seed in the tourney and face third-seeded San Jose State, who they beat 1-0 during the regular season, on Thursday; the winner faces conference champ Sacramento State.  As a freshman, Farfan ranks among conference assist leaders with four
 
Some tournament hopes fall short …
Earlier this week, Timbers assistant coaches Jim Rilatt and Jim Brazeau, who lead the men’s soccer program at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., had their national tournament hopes dashed despite one of the best seasons in program history.
 
Even with 14 wins on the season, the Boxers were passed over for one of 17 at-large invitations to the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship. The field of 59 teams who will compete for the national title was announced by the NCAA Div. III Men’s Soccer Committee Sunday night.
 
The Boxers finished the 2009 season with a 14-3-2 record, their most victories since 1998 when the they advanced to their first and only NCAA Division III tournament, and finished third in the Northwest Conference.
 
Rilatt, who guided the Timbers U-23s in their inaugural season and has been an assistant coach for the Timbers USL-1 side since 2007, is an assistant to Brazeau at Pacific. Brazeau has been the head coach of Pacific’s men’s program for 10 years and the Timbers goalkeeper coach for eight seasons (2001-05; 07-09).
 
Out on the bluff …
Featuring four Timbers U-23s players from this past PDL season, the University of Portland Pilots wrap up their regular season this week as they play host to Seattle University and the University of San Francisco. Sunday’s tilt against USF is Senior Night for the Pilots, and among those receiving recognition are Timbers U-23s forward Collen Warner and defender Logan Emory.
 
Having a standout season for the Pilots in 2009 is Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Austin Guerrero. Voted to the West Coast Conference Preseason All-Conference Team, Guerrero ranks second in the conference with 63 saves and has a 0.94 goals-against average and four shutouts. On the other end of the field, Warner paces UP in scoring with five goals and five assists.
 
Entering the final weekend of the regular-season, the Pilots can lock up third place in the WCC with a good result against USF.
 
Northwest showdown …
Additionally, Timbers U-23s duo Brent Richards and Matt Van Houten at the University of Washington square off against Timbers U-23s defender Chris Harms and the Oregon State Beavers in a Pac-10 Northwest rivalry matchup this weekend as both teams complete their respective regular seasons.