Top Seed New Mexico Hosts MPSF Championship Tournament

Zach Bolden, Denver

Nov. 5, 2012

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NO. 9 NEW MEXICO (15-3-0 Overall, 8-2-0 MPSF) is this year's host of the MPSF Championship Tournament, Nov. 8-11. While the Lobos earned their sixth consecutive shutout victory last Saturday against Houston Baptist (6-0), they had already clinched the No. 1 seed the week prior. Their semifinal opponent at 7:30 pm Friday (Nov. 9) is against the lowest remaining seed to come out of the quarterfinals. Devon Sandoval owns 14 goals (MPSF tied for 1st) and 34 points (2nd). On the heels of an MPSF record 0.49 GAA last year, Victor Rodriguez owns a 0.53 GAA in 2012.

CSU BAKERSFIELD (9-4-5 Overall, 6-3-1 MPSF) closed the regular season last Friday (Nov. 2) with a 1-0 double-overtime victory at UNLV, as Lucas Dall'Orso free kicked the game-winner at 106:54. CSUB defends its Pacific Division Title, and takes the two seed to the MPSF Semifinals (Nov. 9). National Player of the Year Candidate Gyasi Zardes leads the MPSF in goals (14) and Points (37), and is tied for second with Dall'Orso in assists (9).

AIR FORCE (8-8-3 Overall, 5-3-2 MPSF) finished as the runner-up in the mountain division with 17 points, and as the three seed, meets six seed UNLV in a 5 pm quarterfinal game. If the Falcons avenge their regular season loss to the Rebels, they would take on No. 2 seed and Pacific Division Champion CSU Bakersfield in Friday's semifinals. Goalkeeper Matt Underwood has totaled a conference-high 83 saves in 2012, while Kevin Durr owns 11 points.

DENVER (10-5-3 Overall, 5-4-1 MPSF) is the four seed, taking on No. 5 seed San Jose State in the quarterfinals. With both teams finishing with 16 points in the standings, the Pioneers won the first tiebreaker over the Spartans, a head-to-head victory at home on Oct. 19 (4-0). Denver finished the regular season with a 3-2 home win over Air Force. Zach Bolden is tied for fourth in the MPSF in points (19) and tied for second in assists (9).

SAN JOSE STATE (8-8-1 Overall, 5-4-1 MPSF) is seeded fifth this week, first meeting No. 4 seed Denver in the quarterfinals. The Spartans concluded the regular season with a 3-0 blanking of Seattle U at home (Nov. 3), as Jonathan Salceda scored and assisted in the win. Steve Sanchez leads San Jose State and ranks third in the conference this year in points (20) and goals (9).

UNLV (6-13-1 Overall, 4-6-0 MPSF) is seeded sixth this week, taking on No. 3 seed Air Force in Thursday's quarterfinals. The Rebels took the Oct. 26 contest in overtime, 3-2. Another win would mean a semifinal matchup with the host and No. 1 seed New Mexico at 7:30 pm Friday. UNLV fell 1-0 in double-overtime in the regular season finale to CSU Bakersfield at home. Sal Bernal leads the squad with 19 points on seven goals and five assists.

HOUSTON BAPTIST (4-10-2 Overall, 2-6-2 MPSF) completed its first season in the MPSF last Saturday at ninth-ranked New Mexico. The Huskies were led in 2012 by Christian Cruz's five goals (0.31 GPG) and Mark Gendi's six assists (0.40 APG).

SEATTLE U (3-13-1 Overall, 1-8-1 MPSF) traveled to San Jose State this past Saturday to wrap up the 2012 season. Goalkeeper Jake Feener led the conference in saves per game (5.73) in 2012, while Miguel Gonzalez recorded team-highs of four goals and nine points.

ZACH BOLDEN MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Denver junior forward Zach Bolden (Denver, CO/Denver East HS) scored a goal and dished an assist in the MPSF regular season finale against Air Force on Saturday (Nov. 3), a 3-2 Pioneer win. His goal from the top of the box gave Denver a two-goal cushion in the 19th minute. His assist on Jordan Schweitzer's eventual game-winner in the 53rd minute put Denver up 3-1. Bolden's 19 points this season more than doubles his combined total from his first two seasons with the Pioneers. He was also named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week. ...Also Nominated: James Rogers (UNM); Lucas Dall'Orso (CSUB); Jonathan Salceda (SJSU)...