The defending Pacific West Conference champion Dixie State men's soccer team is set to kick off the 2017 season with the opening of fall practice on Monday. DSU is coming off its most successful season in the program's nine-year history in 2016 as the Trailblazers won their first conference title and made their first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Trailblazers (15-4-0) finished the season with a school-record 15 victories, all won consecutively after a 0-3-0 start. DSU also set a PacWest record with 13 league wins (13-0-0 PacWest) and became just the second PacWest school to finish a conference season unbeaten and untied, joining former league member Grand Canyon, which went 6-0-0 in the league's first season in 2006.
Following its first full week of training, DSU will host a Red/White intrasquad scrimmage at Legend Solar Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 11 a.m. The Trailblazers will also host two more scrimmages, the first coming vs. AFC Apex ’99 on Thursday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., followed by their final tune-up vs. College of Southern Nevada on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m.
Dixie State officially opens the 2017 regular season with four-straight games away from home, starting with a pair of matches played in Salt Lake City vs. Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, Aug. 31, followed by a date vs. Montana State Billings on Saturday, Sept. 2. The Trailblazers kick off their seven-match home schedule vs. PacWest foe Chaminade at Legend Solar Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.
New season, new coach
For the third time in as many seasons, Dixie State will have a new head coach manning the Trailblazer sidelines as Jonny Broadhead begins his first season on the DSU bench. Broadhead (Colorado State-Pueblo, 2004) was introduced as the head coach last December after serving as an assistant coach at Utah Valley University for three seasons from 2014-16.
A native of Orem, Utah, Broadhead worked as a volunteer assistant coach at UVU for two years before being elevated to a full-time assistant position before the start of the 2016 season. Prior to his time at UVU, Broadhead served a two-year stint as assistant coach at Colorado Mesa with former DSU head coach Josh Pittman. The Mavericks went a combined 20-12-8 during his two seasons in Grand Junction, including a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament championship in 2013.
Broadhead was a four-year letterwinner as a midfielder with Colorado State-Pueblo from 2001-04, and he finished his collegiate career with three goals and 13 assists. From there, he began his coaching career in 2006 with Inter FC Utah. In 2010, he was named the assistant director of coaching and took over as the director of coaching the following year. He was also an assistant coach with the Utah Olympic Development Program from 2010-12.
2017 Dixie State returnees
Dixie State returns eight starters and 21 letterwinners, along with five redshirts, from last year’s PacWest title-winning side, including conference Freshman of the Year in sophomore Moises Medina and league Defender of the Year in senior Bryan Baugh.
Medina (Mesquite, Nevada/Virgin Valley HS), who also earned first-team all-PacWest and D2CCA second-team all-West region honors, led Dixie State in goals (six) and points (18) and co-led in assists (six). All six of his goals, including a school record five game-winning goals, came in PacWest play, while he scored 16 of his 18 total points in league matches. His six assists tied DSU's single-season record, and he scored at least one point in 10 of DSU's 19 matches overall.
Meanwhile Baugh (Henderson, Nevada/Green Valley HS), who himself was named first-team all-PacWest and D2CCA all-region and earned D2CCA honorable mention All-America honors, started in all 19 matches last season. He anchored a defensive unit that allowed just 17 goals in 1,723-plus minutes played (0.89 GAA - 24th nationally) and helped lead DSU to eight shutout wins overall. On the offensive side, Baugh tallied his second career goal in a win vs. Fresno Pacific and dished out five assists on the year, which moved him atop DSU's career assists list (13).
In addition, the Trailblazers welcome back four more all-PacWest honorees, including first-team picks in junior midfielder Gabby Medina and sophomore defender Angel Estrada, as well as third-team selections in junior midfielder Dominic Damato and sophomore forward Christian Hall.
Gabby Medina (Mesquite, Nevada/Virgin Valley HS) tied his brother Moises for the school’s single season record for assists (six) and was second in points (14) and third in goals scored (four), which included a pair of game-winning scores. Gabby Medina also tallied at least one point in seven of 18 matches played.
Estrada (Pasadena, California/Pasadena HS) started in 18 of 19 matches played where he tallied four goals and one assist, and he was a key contributor in the defensive third. Meanwhile, Damato (Las Vegas, Nevada/Shadow Ridge HS) contributed two goals and dished out five assists in 19 starts last season, all while playing a vital role on the defensive side. Hall (Layton, Utah/Northridge HS) wound up second on the team in goals scored (five) and game-winning goals (four) last season. Three of his four game-winning tallies came in PacWest play, including his fifth goal of the year in DSU’s PacWest championship-clinching win vs. Concordia-Irvine.
As a team last season, DSU netted a school-record 38 goals, and the Trailblazers return 84 percent of that offensive output in 2017, including senior forward Ather Dawood (4G/2A; Tucson, Arizona/Yavapai CC) and senior MF Sean Jenne (3G/1A; Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial HS).
Between the pipes, sophomore netminder Zach Nielson (West Point, Utah/Northridge HS) is ready to fill the void left by departing senior, and now student assistant coach, Bradley Trella, who shattered nearly every DSU keeper record in his two seasons in goal. Nielson was a solid complement in goal as he saw time in six matches with four starts as a freshman in 2016. He posted a 5-0-0 record (all in PacWest play) with one solo shutout win, 16 saves and a 0.26 GAA (one goal allowed in 341-plus minutes).
Steve Johnson is the Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations and Collegiate Licensing at Dixie State University. For more DSU Athletics news, please visit www.dixieathletics.com and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.