MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois men's soccer officially begins its Summit League title defense this weekend, as conference play opens at Omaha on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Leathernecks (1-6) and Mavericks (1-5-1) will meet for just the second time after playing to a 1-1 tie in 2012.
Western will be on the road for the seventh time in the first eight games.
"We have traveled a lot, but I think traveling toughens you up," head coach Dr. Eric Johnson said. "We've done pretty well on the road; our best games have been on the road and we've won on the road."
A LOOK AT THE MAVERICKS: Omaha enters the match with a 1-5-1 overall record, including a 1-3-1 mark at home...Today marks the Summit League opener for both teams...The Mavericks most recently played former conference foe Kansas City to a 1-1 draw (Sept. 24)...Chava Garcia leads the squad in points (5) and assists (3), while Vance Rookwood has two goals, most on the team...Matt Grosey has played every minute in net, earning a 1-5-1 record, one shutout, 1.63 goals against average and .600 save percentage.
SERIES HISTORY: The teams met for the first time in 2012, playing to a 1-1 tie...For Western Illinois, Nathan Bruinsma scored on assists from Charlie Bales and Austin Gochneaur, while Yves Dietrich made five saves...For Omaha, Felipe Da Silva scored on an assist from Giovanni Giattino, and Matt Grosey made one save.
THIS DATE IN HISTORY (Sept. 28): Head coach Dr. Eric Johnson earned his third win at Western Illinois as the Leathernecks defeated Oral Roberts 2-1 in overtime in 1997...Bob Wallace scored a pair of goals to lead the Leathernecks to a 3-1 victory over Centenary in 2002.
LAST TIME OUT: Western Illinois gave up five goals for just the second time since 2001 in a 5-2 loss to Valparaiso in the team’s home-opener...Husref Jupic and Erick Bloom each scored goals, while Diego Gonzalez and Tyler Chavez tallied assists.
TOUGH COMPETITION: Five of the first six Western Illinois opponents were unbeaten heading into the match against the Leathernecks...Western Illinois’ first seven opponents all had one loss or less heading into the game against WIU.
RECORD BOOK MOVEMENT: By recording his fifth career shutout at Jacksonville, Yves Dietrich moved into a three-way tie for ninth in program history...With a total of 124 career saves, he sits 10th in saves per game (4.43), fifth in goals against average (1.37), and tied for seventh in save percentage (.756)...Since individual shot on goal statistics started being recorded in 2002, Husref Jupic ranks tied for fifth in the program with 48.
ATOP THE SUMMIT: Several Leathernecks rank at the top of the conference in statistical categories...Husref Jupic is tied for the lead in goals with three...Yves Dietrich is first in saves (34) and second in save percentage (.708).
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Keeper Yves Dietrich ranks 21st in saves (34) and 30th in saves per game (4.86)...Husref Jupic ranks tied for 93rd nationally with three goals scored.
WHO SCORES FIRST?: Since the start of the 2012 season, the Leathernecks are 8-1-0 when scoring first; however, if an opponent scores first, Western Illinois is just 0-13-3 in that same time frame.
TOUGH LUCK: Since the start of the 2012 season, 10 of the Leathernecks’ 15 losses have come by just one goal, including four of the five defeats this season.
GREAT DEBUT: Freshman Diego Lopez had a stellar debut weekend in Purple & Gold...He scored both Western Illinois goals, including his first collegiate goal at North Florida, and his first career game-winning goal at Jacksonville...His efforts earned him The Summit League’s first ‘Offensive Player of the Week’ award of the season.
PRESEASON ALL-SUMMIT LEAGUE: Charlie Bales, Drew Edmond and Austin Gochneaur were named to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-League Team...Bales earned a First Team nod, while Edmond and Gochneaur received Second Team honors.
WINNING LEGACY: Dr. Eric Johnson is the Summit League’s all-time winningest coach, totaling 137 wins through his time at the helm at Western Illinois...He has earned the conference’s ‘Coach of the Year’ award four times.