UVU, Seattle the favorites to dethrone UNLV
Kyle McDonald | Sports editor | @kylesportsbias
With the regular season winding down for the men’s soccer teams in the Western Athletic Conference, it is time to take a look at the upcoming WAC tournament that will be played in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 12-15.
Seattle University and Utah Valley University have been at the top of the WAC standings all year long and they enter the tournament as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively. They met this past weekend in Orem in what could be a preview of the WAC Championship match. Seattle has been ranked in the top-25 all season long and were ranked 13th in the last NCSAA Coaches Poll.
“I don’t think anything is a lock,” Seattle head coach Pete Fewing said. “I just feel like you have to win one game at a time.”
Sophomore David Olsen, who has 11 goals and one assist, leads the Redhawks. UVU is led by freshman Aaron Meyer, who leads the WAC in assists, and junior Skyler Milne, who has eight goals on the season.
“Honestly, every team that we could face in the conference tournament all make me nervous,” Fewing said. “There’s not one team that I know that will be easy. It’s the playoffs too so that heightens everything.”
Both these teams have received a bye in the first round. UVU will face the winner of the No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed and Seattle will face the winner of the No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed. These semifinal games will be played on Friday, Nov. 13.
“Really to get that first or second seed was massive for us,” UVU head coach Greg Maas said. “Knowing that we’re playing the winner of the 3rd and 6th place team, their having to play the night before on limited rest is really an advantage for us especially on the field surface in Kansas City.”
UVU and Seattle don’t actually know which two teams are playing in those first two games, as there is a logjam in the WAC standings. There are four teams with identical 4-4-1 records in conference play and CSU Bakersfield is at 4-3-2. Defending champion UNLV is in that mix and there is the possibility that they might not even make the tournament as only the top six teams from the conference get to play for the WAC Championship.
Despite that logjam, all eyes are on UVU and Seattle to see if it is possible for the WAC to get two teams into the NCAA Tournament. Coach Maas and Coach Fewing know it is possible but they also don’t want to leave any doubt and win that conference championship.
“Our guys are ready and they’re excited,” Maas said. “We need two big results in Kansas City.”
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