No. 1 Ranked Women's Soccer Team Opens Up Pac-10 Play This Week
Oct. 10, 2007
Pac-10 Title Defense Begins This Week Against Oregon Schools
The top-ranked UCLA women's soccer team (7-1-2) opens up Pac-10 Conference play this week, hosting the Oregon schools at Drake Stadium on Friday and Sunday. The Bruins, who have captured the last four Pac-10 titles, begin their quest for a fifth, as Oregon State (7-3-1) visits campus this Friday at 5:00 p.m. The Bruins take a five match winning streak over the Beavers into the match and lead the all-time series 10-2. UCLA rounds out the weekend by hosting Oregon (7-4) on Sunday at Noon. The Bruins, who lead the all-time series 8-2, have some extra incentive to win this one, as the Ducks won last year's meeting 2-1 in double-overtime up in Eugene. Tickets for the matches are $7 for adults and $5 for youth/students. UCLA students with a valid Bruin Card are admitted for free. Fans unable to attend this weekend can listen to the free live audio and/or follow the live stats Oregon State, Oregon
Oregon handed UCLA its only loss in conference play last season, downing the Bruins 2-1 in double-overtime in a rain-soaked affair in Eugene. Because the loss came in the final weekend of the regular season, many believe it cost the Bruins a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon Match Selected for TV
UCLA's match against Oregon on Sunday will be aired on a tape-delayed basis by Fox Sports Net. The match, which will air nationally on several FSN affiliates, will first air in Southern California on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8:00 p.m. (FSN Prime Ticket). It will also air on Friday, Oct. 19 at Noon and Sunday, Oct. 21 at 10:00 a.m., both on FSN Prime Ticket.
Bruins Achieve First-Ever No. 1 Ranking in NSCAA/adidas Poll
For the first time in program history, UCLA has ascended to the top spot in the NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll, as the Bruins move up from No. 2 to No. 1 in this week's rankings released on Tuesday. UCLA has been ranked No. 1 before, but never in the NSCAA Poll. In fact, the Bruins achieved the school's first-ever No. 1 ranking in women's soccer last season, as Soccer America and Soccer Buzz picked UCLA as its top-ranked team to start the season. Both of those publications list UCLA at No. 2 this week.
Bruins Down SDSU, No. 5 Santa Clara Last Week
UCLA turned in a pair of dominating performances last week, downing San Diego State, 5-1 in San Diego on Friday before heading back to Drake Stadium on Sunday to hand No. 5 Santa Clara a 4-1 loss. Six different played scored goals on the weekend led by Lauren Cheney who had three. Also getting in on the scoring were Kristina Larsen (2 goals), Danesha Adams, Christina DiMartino, Kara Lang and Caitlyn Mac Kechnie.
Cheney Named to SA Elite Team
Sophomore Lauren Cheney was named to Soccer America's Elite Team of the Week on Tuesday, as she tallied three goals and an assist in a pair of wins over San Diego State and No. 5 Santa Clara last weekend. Cheney, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring with 26 points (11g, 3a), assisted on the Bruins' first goal and then added a goal of her own, as the Bruins downed SDSU, 5-1 on Friday in San Diego. She came back on Sunday to score two more goals, as UCLA registered a 4-1 decision against fifth-ranked Santa Clara at Drake Stadium. The win improved the Bruins' record to 7-1-2 on the season, vaulting UCLA to its first-ever No. 1 ranking in this week's NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll. Cheney has had either a goal or an assist in eight of UCLA's 10 matches this season. She was also named this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, her second such honor this season.
Mac Kechnie Enjoying Best Season Yet
After playing sparingly in her first two seasons, junior midfielder Caitlyn Mac Kechnie is enjoying her best season yet, and has earned much more playing time as a result. Mac Kechnie, from nearby Camarillo, Calif., entered the season with just four points, all on assists. She scored the first goal of her career in UCLA's 3-1 victory over Cal State Northridge back on Sept. 16, and has added two more since. Her best match of the season came last week against No. 5 Santa Clara, as she had a goal and two assists in the 4-1 Bruin win. Mac Kechnie is tied with Christina DiMartino for the team lead in assists with five.
UCLA has been on fire offensively as of late, outscoring its opponents 17-3 in its last four matches. Even more impressive is the fact that two of those matches were against top 5 teams (#2 Portland and #5 Santa Clara). Overall, the Bruins have outscored the competition 29-9 in 10 matches this season.
Henderson Eyes Shutout Record
Goalkeeper Valerie Henderson is just one shutout shy of breaking the UCLA career record, as she is currently tied with Lindsay Culp, who also had 31 from 1996-99. Henderson entered the season with 30 shutouts, and tied the record when the Bruins played to a 0-0 draw with San Diego back on Sept. 14. She would have already broken the record, however head coach Jillian Ellis has elected to insert backup goalkeeper Ashley Thompson in games where the Bruins are winning easily. There are no shared shutouts in NCAA soccer.
Home Unbeaten Streak Extended
UCLA's victory over Santa Clara last week extended its home unbeaten streak to 32 matches, the longest in the country. The Bruins, who are 5-0 at home this season, have not lost at Drake Stadium since Sept. 9, 2005 (a 1-0 2OT loss to Penn State). UCLA has one tie during the streak, a scoreless draw against Washington State on Oct. 23, 2005. UCLA, which was a perfect 16-0 at home last season, also own a 27-match home winning streak.
Hardy Expected to Return Soon
Junior defender Erin Hardy has not played since suffering an LCL sprain to her right knee against Cal State Northridge back on Sept. 16. Hardy, who started the first five matches of the season until her injury, is currently listed as day-to-day. Both Dea Cook and Catherine Calvert have filled in nicely in Hardy's absence.
U-20 Head Coach Ellis to Miss Weekend Action While in China
UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis, who is also the head coach of the Under-20 U.S. National Team, will not be on the sidelines this weekend when the Bruins host the Oregon schools. Instead, she will be in China scouting opponents during Asian qualifying for next year's FIFA U-20 World Championships. Assistant coach B.J. Snow will be the acting head coach in her place. Ellis recently guided the U-20s to a second-place finish at the Pan American Games in Brazil this past summer.
DiMartino Sisters Featured in ESPN Article
Graham Hays from ESPN.com profiled Bruin midfielder Christina DiMartino and her sister Gina, who is a sophomore standout on the Boston College women's soccer team. Gina leads the seventh-ranked and undefeated Eagles in scoring with eight points (2g, 4a). The article can be found by clicking HERE. For another interesting story on DiMartino, go HERE
Lang's Return Propels Bruins to Victory Over No. 2 Portland
Playing in her first college match since 2005, forward Kara Lang made her return to UCLA a special one, scoring both Bruin goals in a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 2 Portland on Sept. 28. Lang, who sat out all of last year with a knee injury, and missed the first seven matches of the season while playing for Canada at the FIFA Women's World Cup in China, got UCLA on the board in just the ninth minute on play on a 30-yard blast that sailed over Portland goalkeeper Kelsey Davis. After Portland tied things up in the 85th minute, Lang took control in overtime, giving UCLA the victory on a golden goal at the 96:57 mark. For her efforts she was named to both the Soccer America and Soccer Buzz National Teams of the Week.
Defense Getting it Done Too
With 17 goals in the last four matches, UCLA's offense has been getting much of the credit for the Bruins' recent success. UCLA's defense, however, has been putting up some quality numbers of its own. The Bruins' back line has surrendered less than a goal a game, giving up just nine goals in 10 matches this season. In addition, UCLA has surrendered more than one goal on just two occasions, posting three shutouts in the process. Even more impressive is the fact that UCLA has had to make adjustments on the back line due to the absence of starter Erin Hardy, who has missed the last five matches due to injury. Lauren Barnes, Lauren Wilmoth, Dea Cook, Catherine Calvert and Jenna Belcher have all started in the back at some point this season.
UCLA - Stanford Clash Could Be No. 1 vs. No. 2
College soccer fans in the Bay Area could be in for a treat on Oct. 19, as UCLA's annual clash with Stanford is shaping up to be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown. The Bruins, who received 19 first-place votes, are the top-ranked team in then country in this week's NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll. Not far behind at No. 2 is Stanford, which received 14 first-place votes this week. The Cardinal have just one match between the potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown, as they face No. 18 Cal on Friday.
Henderson Nominated for Lowe's Senior Class Award
Goalkeeper Valerie Henderson is one of 20 players who were nominated for the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for women's soccer. The award is presented annually in eight NCAA Division I sports to a senior student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. While the on-the-field performance during their collegiate soccer careers is a factor in determining candidates and the eventual winner, their personal character and off-the-field achievements in the classroom and community are major areas of focus. In addition to being a team leader on the field, Henderson has excelled in the classroom as well, earning a spot on the UCLA Director's Honor Roll (3.0 and above) every quarter of her career.
Adams Nears Two UCLA Career Records
Already UCLA's career leader in NCAA Tournament scoring (33 pts.), forward Danesha Adams has the chance of breaking two more school records this season. The senior from Ohio is just three game-winning goals shy of tying school record holder Traci Arkenberg, who had 26 from 1994-97. Adams, who entered the season with 21, upped her total to 23 after netting game winners against Illinois and San Francisco. Additionally, assuming she starts UCLA's 10 remaining regular-season matches, Adams will have started 87 career matches, putting her just one behind school record holder Whitney Jones, who started 88 from 2000-03. She would need just two more starts during the NCAA Tournament to break the record.
Cheney, Adams, DiMartino Earn Pre-Season Honors
UCLA's Lauren Cheney, Danesha Adams and Christina DiMartino have received much pre-season attention, as all three were named to the 2007 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy Watch List - an early indicator for potential player of the year candidates. The list was compiled by a committee of Division I coaches. In November, the list will be narrowed to 15 semifinalists. Three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA Division I College Cup and will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on Friday, January 11, 2008. The winner of the 2007 award will be announced during a nationally-televised news conference that evening. All three were also named pre-season All-Americans by Soccer Buzz and Soccer America.
Adams Moves Up UCLA Career Scoring List
Adams moved into second place on the UCLA career scoring charts earlier this season, as the Bruin junior currently has 112 points. She entered the season with 102 points, just two behind Iris Mora, who had 104 from 2002-05. Adams now ranks second only to Traci Arkenberg, who had 169 from 1994-97.
UCLA Freshmen Part of Nation's No. 1 Recruiting Class
After signing a pair of No. 2 rated recruiting classes in each of the last two years, head women's soccer coach Jillian Ellis brought UCLA to the top of the recruiting charts this year, as the Bruins' 2007 class was ranked No. 1 in the nation according to Soccer Buzz Magazine. In addition, three of UCLA's freshmen were named to the prestigious Parade Magazine All-America Team. It marks the second No. 1 class for Ellis, who also brought in the nation's top class in her first recruiting season at UCLA back in 2000. In fact, seven of the eight classes she has signed since becoming head coach in 1999 have been ranked in the top 10 nationally. UCLA edged No. 2 Florida State and No. 3 North Carolina in this year's recruiting class rankings. UCLA's three Parade All-Americans are Lauren Barnes (D, Upland, Calif.), Kylie Wright (MF, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and Sarah Salazar (MF, Broken Arrow, Okla.).
UCLA's Recruiting Class Rankings (2000-2007)
2007 - 1
2006 - 2
2005 - 2
2004 - 16
2003 - 3
2002 - 2
2001 - 7
2000 - 1
Pac-10 Coaches Pick UCLA Again
For the fourth year in a row, UCLA was picked as the favorite to take home the Pac-10 Conference title. UCLA received five first-place votes, followed by Stanford with three and Cal with two. USC and Oregon round out the top 5.
1. UCLA (5)
2. Stanford (3)
3. California (2)
6. Washington State
7. Arizona State
10. Oregon State
MacMillan, Snow Named Assistant Coaches in 2007
Former assistants Joe Mallia (LMU) and Mark Carr (San Francisco) both landed head coaching jobs over the summer making way for head coach Jillian Ellis to hire Shannon MacMillan and B.J. Snow. MacMillan, U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year in 2002, recently wrapped up a very successful professional career. She represented the U.S. in two World Cups and two Olympic Games. Snow, UCLA's volunteer assistant coach in 2006, was elevated to full-time status this season. He was a four-year letterwinner at Indiana from 1996-99, helping the Hoosiers to a pair of national championships in 1998 and `99.
Head Coach Jillian Ellis
Jillian Ellis is in her ninth season as head coach at UCLA. The 2000 NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year, Ellis owns a record of 160-32-9 (.818) at UCLA. Her overall coaching record, which includes two seasons at the University of Illinois, stands at 179-50-9 (.771). She has led the Bruins to five Pac-10 titles (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) and five appearances in the NCAA College Cup (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006).