No. 8 Bruins Head to Illini Challenge Cup

Sept. 2, 2009

Illini Challenge Cup on Tap This Week
The eighth-ranked UCLA women's soccer team (1-1-1) heads to Champaign, Illinois this week for the Illini Challenge Cup hosted by the University of Illinois. The Bruins open up play this Friday against 11th-ranked Illinois (2-0-1) at 5:00 p.m. (PST). UCLA then concludes the event on Sunday, facing sixth-ranked Florida (3-0) at 9:00 a.m. (PST). Live stats for both matches can be accessed here: Illinois / Florida

Against Illinois and Florida
Friday will mark just the second meeting between Illinois and UCLA in women's soccer, as the Bruins won the inaugural matchup, 4-2, at Drake Stadium back in 2007. UCLA has played Florida four times, with each team winning two matches. The last meeting between the two teams was at UCLA in 2006, a 3-2 Bruin win.

A Homecoming for Ellis
This week will be a homecoming of sorts for head coach Jillian Ellis, who gets the opportunity to return to the place where her head coaching career began over a decade ago. Prior to accepting the UCLA job back in 1999, Ellis coached two seasons at the University of Illinois from 1997-98. Jeff Huth, a writer for the News-Gazette in Illinois, profiled Ellis in this week's paper. The story can be accessed by clicking HERE.

Sandiford Makes First Start in Goal
Redshirt sophomore Chante' Sandiford made her first two career appearances for the Bruins against San Diego and Long Beach State last week. Against the 15th-ranked Toreros on Friday, Sandiford had five saves, including two in overtime, to preserve a 1-1 tie. USD's lone goal was due to a penalty kick in the 27th minute. She then made three more saves in a 4-0 victory over Long Beach State on Sunday, picking up the first win and shutout of her career. Monday's Daily Bruin did a feature on Sandiford that can be located by clicking HERE.

Leroux Scores Two More
If the first several matches are any indication, Sydney Leroux is in for a big season, as the sophomore from Vancouver has accounted for four of the Bruins' seven goals so far this year. After scoring twice in the season opener against North Carolina, Leroux tacked on two more in the Bruins' 4-0 win over Long Beach State on Sunday. The M.A.C. Hermann Trophy candidate is coming off a tremendous showing with the Under-20 U.S. National Team, helping the squad to the 2008 FIFA World Championship in Chile last December.

First Home Match
UCLA will play its first home match of the season next week, as Gonzaga visits Drake Stadium on Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. showdown. It will mark the first of eight home matches for the Bruins this year.

Bruins Check in at No. 8/9 in National Rankings
UCLA is in the top 10 of both major soccer polls this week, as the Bruins check in at No. 8 in Soccer America's rankings and No. 9 in the NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll. In addition, UCLA is No. 8 by Soccer Times and No. 12 by Top Drawer Soccer.

Cheney, Leroux Named Soccer America Preseason All-Americans
Forwards Lauren Cheney and Sydney Leroux were recently two of 22 players in the country named Soccer America's Preseason All-America first and second teams. Cheney, a senior from Indianapolis, Ind., was the Bruins' first-team selection. She has led the Bruins in scoring in each of her three seasons in Westwood. Leroux, a sophomore from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is one of the most promising young players in the country, having led the Under-20 U.S. National Team to a world championship in 2008.

Three Bruins Named to M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List
Lauren Cheney, Lauren Barnes and Sydney Leroux have all been named to the 2009 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List. The list designates 45 players across the country who have a legitimate shot a being named national player of the year by the end of the season. Considered the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer, the recipients of the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy are selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The list will be cut down to 15 semifinalists in November. Three finalists are announced in early December and are invited to the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., for a news conference on Jan. 8, 2010, where the winner will be announced. Cheney and Christina DiMartino were finalists for the award in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

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