The Omaha men’s soccer team begins a five-game home stretch on Tuesday when SIUE visits the UNO Soccer Field for a 5 p.m. match. The Mavericks also host Cal State Fullerton this week on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the UNO Soccer Field. Live stats for both matches will be available at OMavs.com.
The Teams Omaha (1-3) is coming off a 4-3 loss at Drake on Friday. Chava Garcia had one goal and two assists for a career-high four points, and he earned Summit League Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. It’s the second week in a row that the Mavs have won the offensive award, as Vance Rookwood earned the honor on Sept. 9. Craig Buettner and Rookwood also scored for UNO at Drake. Garcia leads the Mavs with five points on one goal and three assists this season. Rookwood has a team-best two goals for four points. SIUE (3-2) dropped its home opener against Cincinnati on Friday, 2-1. The Cougars were 13-7 last season and 4-2 in the MVC, finishing second in the league behind Creighton. With Creighton now in the BIG EAST, the Cougars were picked to win the MVC title this season. Junior forward Christian Volesky is the Cougars’ top threat. Volesky has four of the team’s six goals this season. In 2012, Volesky had nine goals and was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection and a first-team NSCAA All-Region pick. Cal State Fullerton is 1-5 overall after a 3-1 loss at Colgate on Sunday. The Titans are led by Ian Ramos’s two goals and four points. Ritchie Gonzalez has one goal and one assist for three points. Bryan Escalante has started all six games in goal and has a 1.91 goals against average and .714 save percentage. CSUF has lost four straight after defeating Albany, 2-1, on Sept. 1.
Series History UNO is 0-1-1 all-time against the Cougars. SIUE beat UNO 3-2 last year on Oct. 2 in Edwardsville, Ill. The teams tied 1-1 in the Mavs’ inaugural season. The Mavericks have never met Cal State Fullerton before.
Last Time Out Drake was awarded a penalty kick with 16 seconds left and converted it for a 4-3 win over the Mavericks Friday night. The Mavericks had a one-goal lead on two separate occasions, but the Bulldogs battled back both times and snuck away with a win in the final seconds on their home field. Chava Garcia had a hand in all three Maverick goals with one goal and two assists on the night. Craig Buettner and Vance Rookwood also scored goals. Drake had a slight 19-18 edge in shots, while shots on goal were even at 10-10.
Up Next After Saturday’s match against Cal State Fullerton, UNO hosts new WAC member Kansas City next Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the UNO Soccer Field.
Caniglia Field Status The Mavericks continue to play their home matches at the UNO Soccer Field while the renovation of Caniglia Field continues. The Mavs’ new home will seat 3,466 fans and will feature a state-of-the-art soccer pitch. The exact date of the first game on the new surface is not yet known, but both the men’s and women’s soccer programs are anticipating playing on their new field this season.
Garcia Named Summit League Offensive Player of the Week Sophomore forward Chava Garcia was named Summit League Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16 for his performance at Drake. The award was the first weekly honor for Garcia, though he was named to the Summit League All-Newcomer Team last season. Garcia had one goal and two assists for a career-high four-points in the 4-3 loss at Drake. Garcia picked up his first assist of the game on a corner kick service to Craig Buettner in the 14th minute to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead. With the Mavs trailing 2-1 in the second half, Garcia brought them back with a cross to Rookwood for a header goal in the 58th minute to tie the game. The Omaha South product then scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute, rebounding his own shot and finishing it for his first goal of the season. Garcia had three shots on goal in the match.
Rookwood, Grosey Sweep Summit League Weekly Awards The Summit League recognized junior midfielder Vance Rookwood and senior goalkeeper Matt Grosey as the Summit League Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, on Sept. 9 following the second week of the season. Rookwood’s award was the first of his career, while Grosey picked up his second-career Summit League weekly award. In the Mavs’ only game of the week, Rookwood scored the game-winning goal with 7:55 remaining to give Omaha a 1-0 win over Columbia. Grosey, the Mavericks’ captain, posted his first shutout of the season in the victory, making him the only Summit League goalie to pitch a shutout in week two. Grosey made four saves - two of them on point-blank chances by Columbia in the final 15 minutes of the match to pick up his fourth career shutout.
Mavs Picked Fourth in Summit League Preseason Poll The Mavericks were picked to finish fourth in the Summit League Preseason Poll voted on by the league’s seven head coaches. The Mavericks received 23 points to finish just one point behind IUPUI. League newcomer Denver was selected as the favorite after finishing 11-6-3 last season and bringing six starters and 18 letterwinners back. The Pioneers received 35 points and five first-place votes. Defending Summit League Tournament champion Western Illinois finished second and collected the other two first-place votes for a total of 31 points. The Leathernecks have won three of the last four Summit League postseason titles. Following IUPUI and Omaha in the preseason poll were Fort Wayne (15), Eastern Illinois (12) and Oral Roberts (7). The Mavs finished 5-10-1 overall last season and 3-3-1 in The Summit League to finish in a tie for fourth with Fort Wayne in the standings. Omaha has 10 players back who started at least 50 percent of the games last season. However, the Mavs have a talented group of newcomers that will bolster the lineup in 2013.
Halfway Through Division I Transition The Mavericks have now completed two full years of their four-year transition to Division I and are therefore ineligible to compete in the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament until the 2015 season. The 2013-14 season will see UNO’s teams going through a full Summit League schedule for the second time.
Progress Made in Second Season The Mavs’ first year of existence went about as one would expect, a final record of 1-11-1 and a lot of freshmen and sophomores gaining experience. But in year two, the Mavericks made huge strides, finishing with a final record of 5-10-1 and a Summit League record of 3-3-1. With no seniors on the roster and 16 of 21 players being freshmen and sophomores in 2012, the Mavs were a surprise in The Summit League, finishing in a tie for fourth place in the league standings after being picked last in the preseason poll. Against the top three teams in the league, the Mavs claimed a draw and two overtime losses. In its first year in The Summit League, UNO’s high-powered offense finished second in the league with 26 goals on the season. In conference play, the Mavs were third with 11 goals scored and gave up just seven goals, the second fewest in the league. The Mavs carried that momentum into the spring season, defeating two-time defending College Cup participant Creighton in an exhibition match in April.
Mavs Excel in Classroom in 2012 The Mavericks earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award after posting a cumulative GPA of 3.02. It was the first time the Mavericks were eligible for the award after completing one full academic year as a program. Omaha was one of just four Summit League institutions to have both the men’s and women’s soccer teams recognized.