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2. FOCUS: Standouts lead streaking teams
September 22nd, 2006 3:28AM



Several streaking teams are poised to move into the Soccer America Men's Top 25 for the first time this season with the right results over the weekend. Here's a look at the standouts who have contributed to their recent surges:

GORDON KLJESTAN (Seton Hall). Younger brother Sacha turned pro and starts for MLS's Chivas USA. Gordon Kljestan stayed behind and has been solid on the Pirates' senior-laden defense. Seton Hall (6-2-0) posted a pair of Big East shutout wins on the road last weekend and is 4-0-0 in the Big East going into Saturday's match at No. 12 West Virginia. The Pirates have won six straight games after opening with a two losses.

BRAD KNIGHTON (UNC Wilmington). The Seahawks (5-1-1) knocked No. 4 Duke from the unbeaten ranks with a 1-0 win in Durham on Tuesday night. Knighton made five saves to lower his goals-against average to 0.57 and become the Seahawks' all-time shutout leader with 21. He will have his work cut out for him this weekend as UNCW, unbeaten since losing its opener to Campbell, plays at VCU on Friday and at James Madison on Sunday in CAA play.

KURT MORSINK (James Madison). The Dukes take a 5-1-0 record into their CAA clashes with Georgia State and UNC Wilmington. Last week, Morsink, who holds dual U.S. and Costa Rican citizenship, dished out four assists, one short of the school record, to lead James Madison past Howard, 5-0. Two of the assists were on goals scored by younger brother Kyle, who finished the game with a hat trick. Kurt Morsink is closing in the 30-30 club: He has scored 28 goals and 29 assists in his four seasons at JMU.

MATT MURPHY (UC Irvine). The Anteaters improved to 5-1-1 last weekend by winning the UNLV Rebel Classic. Murphy had the lone goal in the 1-0 win over UMBC and scored the first goal on a free kick from 25 yards in the 2-1 victory over St. Mary's. The sophomore from the Irvine Strikers leads UIC with six goals. The Anteaters open Big West play at home against UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon.

RILEY O'NEILL (Kentucky). Last year, nagging injuries limited the Canadian from Campbell River, B.C., to 15 games. This year, a healthy O'Neill has scored 11 goals in nine games. On Wednesday, he scored one goal and set up the other in a 2-0 win over Alabama A&M that improved UK's record to 7-1-1.

MIKE SAMBURSKY (South Carolina). Since losing to Clemson, 4-3, in their opener, the Gamecocks (7-1-0) have run off seven wins in a row, most recently a 3-2 midweek win over N.C. State. Sambursky, a senior forward from Katy, Texas, will look to improve on his team-high four goals and seven assists when South Carolina hosts Memphis on Sunday.

KEVIN WALSH (Memphis). The Tigers are also 7-1-0 with their only loss also coming to Clemson, 2-1, in their third game. Walsh, a transfer from nearby Christian Brothers University, had an immediate impact when he recorded a goal and two assists in his first game with Memphis, a 4-3 comeback win at Louisville in overtime. The Irishman leads the Tigers with five goals and seven assists.

  • Spaniard Nick Perera scored the first goal of his collegiate career to give No. 14 UC Santa Barbara a 2-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton in overtime in a Big West match.

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