October NCAA roundup: Shelton leads the Beavers, Vizcaino's SLU Billikens climbing national rankings
Welcome to the October 2014 edition of Lane United FC's monthly NCAA roundup. When last we met, the Oregon State Beavers – the best-represented college team in Lane United's roster – had crept into the top 25 in all major national rankings as conference play in the elite PAC-12 began. Without further ado, here's how they, and all the other university squads featuring Lane United talent, have fared in the past month.
The Beavers began October with a last-gasp 1-0 loss to then-No. 18 Stanford on the second of the month, but rebounded with a massive 6-2 win over Cal four days later. In that match, Khiry Shelton picked up a hat trick and an assist, and was himself assisted on his second goal by fellow Red Mikhail Doholis. A rough road trip in the ensuing week saw away losses to UCLA and San Diego State, but when the Aztecs visited Corvallis on October 23 (with Casey Phillips and Julio Alarcon in the squad), the Beavers picked up a 2-0 victory, with Shelton scoring and assisting on both goals within the space of five minutes in the second half.
Shelton currently stands second in the nation in assists with 11, and sixth on points with 27 – and that is without Oregon State having played a match since October 26. The Beavers are in the Bay Area this weekend for a two-game stint, at Cal on Friday and Stanford on Sunday, respectively. Brenden Anderson, Matt Bersano, Mikhail Doholis and Matt Arbogast have all featured in most OSU matches, while Rolando Velazquez remains redshirt-eligible at this time. The Beavers will close out PAC-12 play at Washington on November 16.
The San Diego State Aztecs, with Messrs. Phillips and Alarcon, have been on a skid since that October 16 victory over Oregon State, losing their last five contests. Their best match in that stretch came last Sunday, when they took national top-ten mainstays Stanford to overtime before falling 1-0. Casey Phillips, scorer of the Reds' Goal of the Season in 2014, has played every match for the Aztecs this fall.
Pancho Vizcaino's St. Louis Billikens have continued to make noise on the national scene, where they are ranked 16th in the RPI and 12th in the NSCAA coaches' poll. Their only losses since preseason have come to fellow top-25ers George Mason and Indiana. Vizcaino has played in all 16 matches and the Billikens will likely head into next weekend's Atlantic 10 tournament ranked first in the conference.
Gonzaga, with attacker Conner Bevans and goalkeeper Chris Lowrimore, have cooled off after their hot start to the season, winning only once since the start of October. Bevans is tied for the team lead in goals and holds a commanding lead in shots taken.
Lane United's midfield meister Christian Dietrich scored in Fairleigh-Dickinson's most recent match, a 2-1 loss to Bryant University. The FDU Knights have struggled as of late, dropping their last four matches, but Dietrich is tied for the team lead in goals and his compatriot Martin Lukaschik has also been a regular starter.
Cal Poly's season ended Wednesday with a double-overtime loss to UC Davis, in a match notable for Lane United goalkeeper Wade Hamilton's seven-save performance. Hamilton finished the season first in the Big West conference in saves. The Mustangs finished 2014 with a winning record, but the loss to UC Davis precluded entry into the conference tournament. LUFC Reds Jack O'Connor, Joseph Bolous and John Chronopoulos all notched points for the Mustangs this season; Bolous and Chronopoulos ended up featuring in all but one match for the team.
Amer Sasivarevic has started in defense in all but three of Grand Canyon University's matches this season; the Antelopes' season will conclude on November 16 against Omaha.
At the University of Portland, Dirk van der Velde may have found his way into a SportsCenter Top 10 clip back in September, albeit for a goal scored by his teammate (and Timbers U23 PDL opponent) Hugo Rhoads. He is almost certainly one of the small purple blurs on the screen. Dirk and the Pilots performed well in October, their biggest scalp being a 1-0 victory over Conner Bevans' Gonzaga on the 12th.
Finally, the Post University (CT) season ended earlier this week. Armando Filho and Chico Sastre, Lane United's irrepressible Brazilian duo, were both sidelined due to injury, although they still demonstrated their joie de vivre with some fine Halloween costumes.