Sept. 5, 2006
2006 UCLA Women's Cup This Weekend
One of the finest regular-season events of the 2006 NCAA women's soccer season takes place this weekend at Drake Stadium, as the UCLA Women's Cup brings four of the top-11 teams in the country to Southern California. Action begins this Friday with No. 3/4 Santa Clara (3-1) facing No. 12/11 UConn (2-1-1) at 4:30 p.m. The other match that night pits No. 5/6 UCLA (3-1) vs. No. 4/3 Texas A&M (3-0-1) at 7:00 p.m. That match will be shown on a delayed basis by Fox Sports Net. All four teams will be in action again on Sunday, as Texas A&M takes on Santa Clara at 11:30 a.m., followed by UCLA vs. UConn at 2:00 p.m. Both matches that day will be televised live by ESPNU. Ticket prices are $4 for youth/student and $6 for adults.
(Note: National rankings preceding teams are listed with Soccer America first followed by the NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll).
The Last Time vs. Texas A&M / UConn
UCLA downed Texas A&M, 1-0 in the last meeting between the two teams back in 2004 in College Station, Texas. Iris Mora's goal in the 65th minute proved to be the difference in that match. UCLA leads the all-time series 2-1. UCLA and UConn have faced off only once before, with the Huskies taking a 1-0 victory over the Bruins in a tournament at Rutgers back in 1997.
UCLA Downs San Diego State, Long Beach State in Opening Home Weekend
A pair of game-winning goals by freshman forward Kristina Larsen helped the Bruins to a pair of 1-0 victories over San Diego State and Long Beach State over the weekend. Larsen, who leads the team in scoring with six points, tallied her goal against SDSU in just the ninth minute of play on an assist from fellow freshman Lydia Cook. Larsen's goal on Sunday came with less than eight minutes remaining in a scoreless tie with Long Beach. She scored on a through ball from Caitlyn Mac Kechnie at the 82:18 mark.
Bruins Move Back into Top-5
Preseason No. 1 UCLA moved back into the top-5 of Soccer America's weekly poll, checking in at No. 5 after being ranked No. 7 the previous week. The Bruins are ranked No. 6 in this week's NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll. In addition, Soccer Buzz Magazine has UCLA at No. 3.
Friday's showdown with Texas A&M will mark the first time this year that the Bruins will field a full team, as UCLA gets back five players who have been competing with the U-20 Women's National Team at the FIFA World Championships in Russia. Danesha Adams, Lauren Cheney, Christina DiMartino, Erin Hardy and Valerie Henderson all missed the Bruins' first four matches of the season. After advancing through group play, the U.S. reached the semifinals before falling to China on penalty kicks. They also fell to Brazil on penalty kicks two days later in the third place match.
Adams, Henderson Named to FIFA All-Star Team
UCLA's Danesha Adams and Valerie Henderson were both named to the FIFA All-Star Team at the U-20 World Championships. Henderson, who didn't play in the first two matches during group play, started in wins over France and Germany (quarterfinals). In addition, she started both the semifinal match vs. China and the third place showdown with Brazil. Adams, who earned the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third best player, finished the tournament with three goals and one assist.
Cheney to Make College Debut This Friday
After missing the first four matches of the season while competing with the U-20s, freshman forward Lauren Cheney will make her much anticipated college debut this Friday when the Bruins take on Texas A&M. The No. 1 recruit in the country in 2006, Cheney was named national player of the year by both Parade Magazine and Gatorade. She has been called into three camps with the Full U.S. National Team, and helped the U-21s place second at the Nordic Cup in August. Cheney prepped at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Ind., and was a member of the nationally renowned Carmel United club program.
Larsen, Switzer, Wilmoth, Cook Emerge as Freshmen to Watch
Lauren Wilmoth, Lauren Switzer, Lydia Cook and Kristina Larsen are four Bruin freshmen who have started all four matches this season. Wilmoth, who is a natural defender but was playing in the midfield, had a goal in the Bruins', 3-0 victory over Maryland. Defenders Switzer and Cook have been instrumental in helping UCLA post three-consecutive shutouts, while Larsen, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring with six points, has scored in three of four matches. Her goal against No. 3 Penn State in the Bruins' season opener, came just 27 seconds into the match.
Thompson Makes First Career Starts
Junior goalkeeper Ashley Thompson made the first starts of her college career recently, helping the Bruins post a 3-1 record in early-season action. Thompson, who had appeared in just three matches heading into this season, picked up shutout victories over Maryland, San Diego St. and Long Beach St. She owns an 0.75 goals against average.
UCLA Picked as Pac-10 Favorite Again
For the third year in a row an early poll of conference coaches gave the nod to UCLA as the favorite to claim the 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).
Don't Forget the U-21s
Much of the attention recently has been focused on UCLA's five players who were members of the U-20 U.S. Women's National Team which traveled to the FIFA World Championships in Russia. The Bruins, however, also had four players on the U-21 U.S. squad that placed second at the 2006 Nordic Cup in Norway this past July. Danesha Adams, Valerie Henderson, Bristyn Davis and Lauren Wilmoth all played in Team USA's 2-0 loss to Germany in the final. Adams, who had a hat trick in the team's 4-0 victory over Norway in the semifinals, led the U-21s in scoring during the tournament. In addition to UCLA's four players, Jillian Ellis is the head coach of the U-21s.
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). She scored eight goals in six NCAA Tournament matches last season, helping the Bruins advance to the finals. She was also named an Honorable Mention All-American by Soccer Buzz Magazine.
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.
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). 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.
Following UCLA Via the Internet
Fans and media unable to attend Bruin home matches in 2006 can follow the action live at home by either listening to the free audio broadcasts over the internet or by following the Gametracker LiveStats. Both are accessible by clicking links located at UCLA's official athletic website: www.uclabruins.com. In addition, UCLA's play-by-play announcer Danny Lee will be doing periodic player/coach interviews throughout the year.
Following this weekend's action, UCLA is scheduled to play eight more home matches this season. In fact, not counting a local trek to cross-town rival USC, the Bruins are making just three more road trips this season (Santa Clara, Arizona and Oregon). The eight home matches still remaining on the schedule are against: Cal State Northridge (Sept. 15), Pepperdine (Sept. 24), San Diego (Sept. 29), Gonzaga (Oct. 1), Cal (Oct. 6), Stanford (Oct. 8), Washington (Oct. 27) and Washington State (Oct. 29).
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 135-28-7 (.815). 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 154-46-7 (.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 (9/4)
1. Florida State
2. Notre Dame
3. Santa Clara
4. Texas A&M
7. North Carolina
8. Penn State
9. West Virginia
21. Boston University
22. Fresno State
23. Boston College
1. Notre Dame
2. Florida State
3. Texas A&M
4. Santa Clara
5. North Carolina
7. Penn State
17. West Virginia
19. Cal State Fullerton
20. Wake Forest
24. Boston University
25. William & Mary