Notebook: U-23s players rising to the occasion
As the NCAA soccer season reaches conference play around the country and the level of intensity heats up, Timbers U-23s players are raising to the occasion for their respective teams.
The Oregon State Beavers are off to a solid start, with 6-4-1 overall record. Leading the way is a pair of Timbers U-23s players, including senior forward Emery Welshman. With seven goals in 10 matches this season, Welshman leads the Pac-12 in goals and was recently named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Sept. 25. He recorded a hat trick in a 6-1 win over UW-Green Bay on Sept. 21 and has scored two game-winning goals in the Beavers’ last four games, including the most recent in a 1-0 win at San Diego State on Oct. 7.
In his senior season, Timbers U-23s and Beavers midfielder Roberto Farfan leads the Pac-12 with six assists; he was recently featured in the OSU Men’s Soccer Senior Spotlight. On the defensive end of the field, Timbers U-23s defenders Chris Harms and Will Seymore have helped OSU post a team goals-against average of 0.79 to open the 2012 campaign.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey has helped the University of Washington to a 7-3-2 overall record. Through the first 12 games of his junior season, Richey has logged five shutouts and a 0.95 goals-against average. The Huskies currently sit in third place in the conference behind UCLA and Stanford.
In the West Coast Conference, schools have kicked off their conference schedules and two teams featuring Timbers U-23s players currently sit at the top.
Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans is having a standout junior season at the University of Portland, helping the Pilots to a 3-1-0 record to start conference play. Evans has already notched a career-high nine goals in 11 games, including a hat trick in a recent 4-3 loss to Seattle University. He leads the WCC in goals scored. Second on the scoring charts for UP this season is Timbers U-23s forward Ricardo Carrillo, who recorded a brace in a recent 4-1 victory over Gonzaga, with three goals and four assists. Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Justin Baarts has started each of the first 11 games of the season and leads the conference with 49 saves.
Also atop the WCC is Santa Clara, led by Timbers U-23s forward Erik Hurtado. He was recently named the WCC Player of the Week on Oct. 1, scoring in back-to-back games to help the Broncos to a 2-0-0 start to conference play. One of those goals was the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount, featuring Timbers U-23s teammate John McFarlin, on Sept. 30. Earlier this week, Hurtado was named the conference’s player of the month for September, scoring six goals last month.
Once again leading his team in scoring, Hurtado recently notched his 25th career goal at Santa Clara, surpassing former Timbers midfielder Peter Lowry in the Broncos’ record books for goals.
Each with nine goals, both Evans and Hurtado currently share the lead for goals scored in the WCC.
Having another solid season at No. 24-ranked Creighton, Timbers U-23s defender Eric Miller was recently called up by the U.S. U-20 National Team by head coach Tab Ramos for the Marabella Cup in Spain from Oct. 6-17. During the tournament, the United States will play Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan.
Staying in the Midwest, Timbers U-23s forward Mark Sherrod has continued his scoring form from the 2012 Premier Development League season, scoring a team-best five goals for the Memphis Tigers through the first 10 games of the season.
University of Alabama at Birmingham and Timbers U-23s defender Reed Matte was named the school’s Student-Athlete of the Week on Sept. 19, excelling both on the pitch and in the class room. In September, Matte led the Blazers to the UAB “Soccer For A Cure” Classic championship and scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over Clemson on Sept. 10. In the classroom, Matte maintains a 3.43 cumulative grade point average as an anthropology major.
Timbers U-23s defender Anthony Hobbs, playing his senior season at Florida International University, was recently named one of 30 NCAA men’s soccer players nominated for the prestigious 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. A national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award in early October. Those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote, including a fan vote.