The college soccer season is so compact and dense that even though the last update was only a month ago, most teams have played a majority (or all) of their conference schedule since then and many are now looking forward to conference tournaments. In that time we've seen a major Sounder impact on the Pac-12 and in particular the continuation of a breakout campaign for a Freshman forward.
4W-1D-2L since last update
Sr F Darwin Jones (3 Goals), Jr(RS) GK Ryan Herman, Jr M/D Ian Lange (2 Goals, 2 Assists), Jr D Michael Gallagher (6 GS), Jr F Jimmy Oganga (2 GP), So F Dom Dismuke (2 GP), Fr M Henry Wingo (Goal, Assist)
The Huskies reached a #1 overall ranking early in the month — their first top ranking since (I believe) 1998. But they were knocked down a peg by two losses to UCLA, and in both losses the winning Bruin goal came from Sounder Seyi Adekoya (more on him later), which was conflicting for Academy fans.
Jones continued to be the offensive focus of the team and won the Pac 12 Player of the Week award in the first week of October, but he picked up an injury in the second UCLA match. They'll be hoping he can come back quickly for the playoffs, but in the meantime Jones revealed that he'll be signing for the senior Sounders.
Defender/Midfielder Lange had just as much of an offensive impact, especially on set pieces. He scored on headers off of corners in consecutive games against San Diego State and UCLA and added two assists in the run of play. Michael Gallagher continues to be a near-every-minute rock in the middle of the defense. And Freshman Henry Wingo has become a regular contributor in midfield, with 3 starts and at least 30 minutes played in every game this month. And he assisted the game winning goal over Cal and scored the only goal in a 1-1 draw at Oregon State.
Dismuke and Oganga continue to get occasional minutes mixed in as subs. And finally, the brief era of Herman splitting time with Spencer Richey in goal is over and Richey has (predictably) taken over the starting role coming off his year-long injury.
Tonight the Huskies take on Stanford (and Jordan Morris) with a chance to win the Pac 12 for the second year in a row if they can play well in their final three games. They are 4 points behind UCLA but have two games in hand on the Bruins.
Fr F Seyi Adekoya (4 Goals, 2 Assists)
Adekoya has suddenly become a crucial attacking piece for one of the top programs in the country. He scored the game winning goal twice against the Huskies, which has put the Bruins in strong position to win the Pac 12. And he scored both goals in a 2-2 draw with Stanford. Add two assists and he trails only likely Generation Adidas player Leo Stolz in points on the team. His second game winner over UW earned him his second Pac 12 Player of the Week award of the season and it looks like he could be running away with the conference Freshman of the Year award, which would be the Sounders' 2nd in three years (and 3 in 3 if Morris had beat out UW's Roldan last season).
Now UCLA has a long two-week break before their final match of the conference season against basement team San Diego State.
So F Jordan Morris (Goal, Assist)
Morris had a quiet month by his standards, thanks in part to missing two games for a US U23 camp (along with Sean Okoli) in the lead-up to 2016 Olympics qualification. But regardless the young Cardinal lost only one game in the 8 they played and have moved up to be the 4th Pac-12 team in the national top 10 (and the 3rd featuring a Sounder). They're an outside shot to compete for the conference — they're in 4th place but technically still alive. But they'd have to start by beating the Huskies tonight at home to do it.
Fr D Matt Reinikka (7 GS, 1 Assist)
The Wildcats have dipped a bit from the form that had them 3rd in the country in RPI in the last update. But the Freshman Reinikka is still an every game starter for a defense that allowed only 6 goals in 7 games this month, and even picked up an assist. They have one conference game remaining against George Washington this weekend before going into the Atlantic 10 tournament.
So F Michael Steele (Assist), Fr(RS) D Jalen Markey (Assist)
The Beavers' strong early season faltered when they hit the brutal Pac-12 schedule. But it's been a good season for Markey, who red-shirted all season at UNC last year but has been a regular starter in defense for OSU, and even picked up an assist in the run of play against UCLA. Steele has also been picking up a lot of minutes in a rotation at forward, and bagged an assist (along with a lot of other Beavers) in a 6-2 demolition of Cal early in the month.
They finish out their season with a tough stretch of three road games against Cal, Stanford, and Washington.
Sr M Chase Hanson, Jr M Austin Sweeney, So D Kyle Bjornethun (3 Goals, Assist), So D Sam Langston
The Redhawks have also dropped a bit off the form that had them in the Top 25 at the beginning of October, but they've won 3 in a row and are still getting some ranking votes. The big Sounder story is left-back Bjornethun breaking out as an offensive player with 3 goals and an assist in the month, his first points of the season.
Seattle has two regular season games remaining (starting tonight against San Jose State) before going into the WAC tournament as a likely #1 or 2 seed.
Seattle Pacific continues their tremendous season in which they've only lost one game and drew one other, winning the other 14. They're ranked #5 in the country and have clinched the GNAC conference title with one game remaining this weekend, and then they head directly on to the NCAA tournament next week.
The only team we're tracking whose season is over is College of Charleston, home of Sounders Troy Peterson and Ike Crook. It was another rough, rough season for the Cougars, who won only two games this season, and 6 of their 32 games over the last two seasons. That ends the Senior Peterson's college career. He's highly thought of by the organization but hasn't had much of a chance to show it. He might be a candidate for an S2 roster spot.