Top-Ranked Bruins Head to Penn State Invite

Aug. 21, 2006

Bruins Kickoff 2006 Season at Penn State Invite
The top-ranked UCLA women's soccer team kicks off the 2006 season on the East Coast this week, traveling to University Park, Pa. for the Penn State Invitational. The Bruins are scheduled to face No. 8 Penn State on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (EST). The first match that day features No. 11 Tennessee vs. Maryland. UCLA returns to action on Sunday, facing Maryland at Noon. The Bruins are 10-2-1 all-time in season openers and have not lost an opener since a 1-0 setback against Clemson back in 2000.

UCLA Ascends to No. 1 Ranking for the First Time in School History
UCLA earned its first No. 1 ranking in school history recently when the Bruins earned the top spot in preseason rankings issued by both Soccer America and Soccer Buzz. UCLA has been ranked as high as No. 2 on a number of occasions, however the Bruins have never been No. 1 in any poll until this season. UCLA begins the season ranked No. 2 in the NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll.

Adams, Henderson Named to M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List
UCLA juniors Danesha Adams and Valerie Henderson are two of 25 players who have been named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List, an early indicator for national player of the year recognition. The list, announced by the Missouri Athletic Club, was compiled by a panel of coaches from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The winner of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be determined in voting by NSCAA Division I member coaches. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in early November, with three finalists announced in late November. They will be invited to St. Louis on Saturday, Dec. 2, for the announcement of the winner at a press conference to be held in conjunction with the Men's College Cup.

Five Bruins Currently in Russia at FIFA U-20 Women's World Championships
UCLA will be without five key players for the first few matches of the season, as Christina DiMartino, Valerie Henderson, Erin Hardy, Lauren Cheney and Danesha Adams are all part of the Under-20 U.S. National Team that is currently competing at the FIFA U-20 World Championships in Russia. With Group D wins over DR Congo and Argentina, the U.S. has assured itself a place in the quarterfinals with one more group match left (vs. France Aug. 24). Adams, who had a goal and an assist in the 4-1 victory over Argentina, was named the Sierra Mist Woman of the Match. Erin Hardy also had an assist in that match.

UCLA Picked as Pac-10 Favorite Again
For the third year in a row an early poll of conference coaches revealed that UCLA has been chosen the favorite to claim the 2006 Pac-10 title. The Bruins, who have earned at least a share of the title the last three years, have been tabbed the favorite in seven of the eight years since the Pac-10 began releasing a preseason coaches' poll back in 1999. The Bruins actually claimed the title in the year they were not picked to win it (2003).

Bruins to Play First-Class Schedule in 2006
UCLA is scheduled to face seven teams that are ranked in Soccer America's Preseason Top-25. The Bruins begin the year at No. 8 Penn State before facing No. 5 Santa Clara, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 12 UConn, No. 18 Cal, No. 20 Stanford and No. 22 USC. In addition, Arizona (#17) and Pepperdine (#20) are ranked in the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Poll.

Lang Sidelined With Injury
Sophomore forward Kara Lang is facing a possible redshirt season after suffering an ACL injury while training with the Canadian National Team. As a freshman in 2005, Lang ranked second on the team in scoring with 40 points (17g, 6a). In addition, she scored eight goals in six NCAA Tournament matches, helping the Bruins advance all the way to the final.

Freshmen Likely to See Early Playing Time
UCLA's 2006 freshman class, which was ranked as high as No. 2 according to several publications, will likely make an immediate impact this season. Led by national player of the year Lauren Cheney, the Bruins feature several players with extensive international experience. U.S. Youth National Team defenders Lauren Wilmoth and Lauren Switzer will likely start in the back. Indiana transfer Molly Kruger could also see a lot of playing time in the midfield. Lydia Cook (D), Kristina Larsen (MF) and Britney Scannell (D) are also looking to make their presence felt early on.

Experience is the Key
UCLA's senior class is the first senior class in school history to have played in the NCAA College Cup every year of its career. With the exception of Stacy Lindstrom, who redshirted in 2003 while playing at the U-19 World Championships, five Bruins have played in three College Cups each. Those players are: Bristyn Davis, Mary Castelanelli, Michelle Gleason, Jessica Harris and Caitlin Ursini.

Ellis Entering Eighth Season in Westwood
Head coach Jillian Ellis is entering her eighth season at the helm of the UCLA women's soccer team. The 2000 NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year, Ellis enters the season with a school record of 132-27-7 (.816). She has guided the Bruins to four NCAA College Cups (2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005), including three trips to the finals (2000, 2004 and 2005). She owns an overall coaching record of 151-45-7 (.761), which includes two seasons at the University of Illinois. In addition to her work with UCLA, Ellis is also the head coach of the Under-21 U.S. Women's National Team, recently guiding the U-21s to a second-place showing at the 2006 Nordic Cup.

Soccer America Preseason Top-25
2. Portland
3. North Carolina
4. Florida State
5. Santa Clara
6. Notre Dame
7. Virginia
8. Penn State
9. Texas A&M
10. Boston College
11. Tennessee
12. UConn
13. Duke
14. Nebraska
15. Texas
16. Marquette
17. West Virginia
18. Cal
19. Vanderbilt
20. Stanford
21. Illinois
22. USC
23. Yale
24. Florida
25. Georgia

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