Dec. 4, 2007
Top-Seeded UCLA to Face Rival USC in NCAA College Cup
The top-seeded UCLA women's soccer team (20-1-2) faces a familiar opponent on a national stage this week, as the Bruins will take on USC (18-3-2) this Friday at 6:00 p.m. (CST) in the NCAA College Cup Semifinals. That match can be seen throughout the country live on ESPNU (replayed on ESPN2 on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. PST). The first match on Friday pits third-seeded Florida State (17-5-3) against fourth-seeded Notre Dame (19-4-2) on ESPN2 at 4:00 p.m. (CST). Friday's winners will meet in the national championship on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (CST). Beth Mowins is doing the play-by-play and former U.S. National Team coach Tony DiCicco is the color analyst.
Bruins Make it Five in a Row
UCLA is only the third school in Division I women's soccer history to be making five straight appearances in the NCAA College Cup. North Carolina (1982-2003) and Massachusetts (1983-87) are the other two schools. The Bruins are the only team to do it in the current 64-team format, which began in 2001.
UCLA has dominated the all-time series with its cross-town rival, taking a 16-2-1 advantage over USC into this Friday's showdown. The Bruins have won nine in a row, and are unbeaten in the last 11 matches (including a tie in 2000). USC's last victory in the series came back in 1998 (a 5-4 win at USC). The two teams met at Drake Stadium earlier this season, with the Bruins taking a 2-0 victory behind goals from Lauren Cheney and Kara Lang. There have been two prior meetings during the NCAA Tournament, both UCLA wins (3-0 1st Rd. in 2000 / 1-0 2nd Rd. in 2002).
Adams Nets Golden Goal in 3-2 Victory Over Portland
UCLA and Portland squared off in one of the most entertaining matches of the 2007 season last Friday, as the Bruins took a 3-2 double-overtime victory over the Pilots in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Drake Stadium. With the potential of penalty kicks looming, midfielder Danesha Adams ended the match on a brilliant header in the 104th minute off a corner kick sent in from freshman Lauren Barnes. Adams also had the Bruins' first goal of the match, as her 51st minute strike tied it up at 1-1. Kara Lang gave the Bruins a 2-1 advantage in the 73rd minute, however Pilot midfielder Angie Woznuk tied things up with just 69 seconds remaining in regulation to make it 2-2. That set the stage for Adams' overtime heroics. UCLA moved its all-time record against Portland to 6-1. The Bruins have now knocked the Pilots out of the last two NCAA Tournaments.
UCLA has surrendered the first goal in three matches this season, and has battled back to win all three contests, including two during the NCAA Tournament. UCLA gave up an early goal against No. 5 Santa Clara on Oct. 7 before scoring three unanswered goals in a 4-1 win. The Bruins were also down 1-0 against No. 7 Virginia in the NCAA Round of 16 on Nov. 23, eventually winning 2-1 in overtime. And most recently UCLA gave up the first goal to No. 3 Portland in the quarterfinals, and came back to win 3-2 in double-overtime.
Another 20-Win Season
At 20-1-2, UCLA has posted its third straight 20-win season, as the Bruins won 22 matches in 2005 and followed that up with a 21-win effort in 2006. All five of UCLA's 20-win seasons have come under current head coach Jillian Ellis (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007). The school record for victories in a season was set by the 2005 squad that went 22-2-2. The Bruins can equal that win total if they capture the NCAA Championship.
Last Time in College Station
UCLA was one of the four schools that competed in the first NCAA College Cup hosted by Texas A&M back in 2005. The Bruins made the final that year, defeating Florida State, 4-0 in their opening match. Portland, which defeated Penn State in its semifinal, ended up defeating UCLA, 4-0 in the championship.
UCLA vs. Notre Dame/Florida St.
UCLA owns a 1-0 record against Florida State and an 0-2 record against Notre Dame, as all three matches against those two schools have come during the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins' win over Florida State came during the 2005 NCAA Semifinals in College Station, Texas (a 4-0 UCLA win). UCLA lost to Notre Dame, 8-0 in the quarterfinals back in 1997. The Bruins and Fighting Irish also played in the only NCAA Final decided on penalty kicks, with Notre Dame winning that contest 1-1 (4-3 Pks).
First to 100
UCLA is the first school in history to win 100 NCAA team championships, as the Bruins reached that amazing total on Sunday, May 13, 2007 when the women's water polo team defeated Stanford, 5-4 for its fifth overall NCAA Championship. UCLA has won 70 NCAA championships in men's sports and 30 in women's sports. Sixteen different programs - nine men and seven women - have won at least one NCAA team championship. In the 26 years that the NCAA has awarded both men's and women's championships, UCLA has won 60 NCAA team titles (30 men's and 30 women's), including at least one in 24 of those 26 years.
Bruins Complete Second Straight Undefeated Home Season
For the second year in a row UCLA was perfect in home matches, going 14-0 at Drake Stadium. This follows the Bruins' 16-0 home record in 2006. UCLA also won its final six home matches of the 2005 season, pushing the nation's longest home winning streak to 36 in a row. The Bruins are also unbeaten in their last 41 home matches (includes a 0-0 draw with Washington State on Oct. 23, 2005). UCLA has not dropped a home contest since Sept. 9, 2005 (1-0 2OT defeat against Penn State).
Did You Know?
UCLA's three seniors - Danesha Adams, Valerie Henderson and Alma Playle - have been to the NCAA College Cup every year of their careers. The Bruins' 2006 senior class also played in the College Cup every year, appearing in two semifinals and two finals. If the Bruins defeat USC in the semifinals, this year's class will be the most successful in UCLA history, appearing in three finals (2004, 2005 and 2007) and one semifinal (2006).
Double the Chances
UCLA is the only team in this year's College Cup to double the shot output of its opponents in each of the first four rounds of the tournament. (vs. Cal State Fullerton - 17-8 / vs. Oklahoma State - 20-5 / vs. Virginia - 15-7 / vs. Portland - 23-11). In fact, the Bruins have doubled their opponent's shots in 13 of 23 matches this season, outshooting the competition in all 23 contests.
UCLA Ends Regular Season No. 1
UCLA was ranked No. 1 for the fifth straight week in the final NSCAA/adidas Coaches' Poll of the regular season released on Nov. 6. A new poll will not be released until following the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins are actually the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, finishing atop polls issued by Soccer Buzz, Soccer America and Soccer Times. UCLA has been ranked in the top 10 of every weekly poll this season.
Forward Lauren Cheney's golden goal in the eighth minute of overtime sent the Bruins to a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind victory over No. 7 Virginia in the NCAA Round of 16 on Nov. 23. It marked Cheney's team-leading ninth game-winning goal of the season, tying her with Danesha Adams for the single-season school record (Adams also had nine in 2005). Cheney recorded game-winning goals in more than half of the Bruins' Pac-10 wins this year (five of nine).
M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Semifinalists Announced
UCLA's Lauren Cheney, Danesha Adams and Christina DiMartino are three of just 15 semifinalists for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, given annually to the player of the year in college soccer. A total of 46 players were named to the Watch List at the beginning of the year and that number was cut to 15 on Monday. Three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA 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.
Four Bruins in the Running for Soccer Buzz Postseason Honors
UCLA's Lauren Cheney and Danesha Adams are two of 14 finalists for Soccer Buzz National Player of the Year honors. In addition, Bruin newcomers Kylie Wright and Lauren Barnes are also two of 14 finalists for the Soccer Buzz Freshman of the Year award. UCLA leads the nation with four total finalists between the two awards. The winners of these two top annual awards will be announced in mid-December after voting among Division 1 coaches and Soccer Buzz staff.
This year marks the first time in Pac-10 history that the conference is sending two teams to the NCAA College Cup. Since the Pac-10 began sponsoring soccer in 1993, only Stanford and UCLA had ever been to the College Cup and never in the same year.
Gauntlet Points on the Line
The UCLA and USC athletic programs compete in a season-long competition for the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy, given annually to the school that has the best head-to-head results in the 18 sports that the two schools compete against each other in. The Trojans and the Bruins have traded the trophy each of the past six years, as the all-time series is tied 3-3 heading into the 2007-08 academic year. USC currently leads the race 22.5 - 12.5, however UCLA earned the five total points in women's soccer with a 2-0 win earlier this year. The Women of Troy can earn 2.5 of those points back with a win on Friday. UCLA is unable to earn any additional points in women's soccer.
NCAA Scoring Leaders
With 41 points on 19 goals and three assists, senior Danesha Adams is UCLA's all-time leading scorer in NCAA Tournament play. She also leads the Bruins this season with eight points on four goals through the first four rounds. In addition, sophomore Kara Lang is just three points away from surpassing Iris Mora for second place on the all-time list.
Spark Off the Bench
Sophomore forward Kristina Larsen is usually the Bruins' first sub off the bench, providing a spark to the offense whenever she comes in. She has upped her play in the postseason, scoring a goal in three of the Bruins' four tournament matches. Her six points in the tournament (3g, 0a) tie her for third on the team with Lauren Cheney (2g, 2a).
Cheney Named Pac-10 Player of the Year, Ellis Coach of the Year
Bruin forward Lauren Cheney became the first UCLA player since Nandi Pryce in 2003 to earn Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, as she earned the conference's top on Nov. 15. In addition, UCLA's Jillian Ellis was named coach of the year, as a total of eight Bruin players took home all-conference honors. In addition to Cheney, the Bruins' first-team selections were midfielders Danesha Adams and Christina DiMartino, along with goalkeeper Valerie Henderson. Defender Erin Hardy and forward Kara Lang were named to the second team. Midfielder Kylie Wright was UCLA's lone honorable mention selection, while she and defender Lauren Barnes were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. It marked the second coach of the year honor for Ellis, who also won the award in 2003.
UCLA Clinches Fifth Straight Pac-10 Title
UCLA became the first school in Pac-10 history to win five straight conference titles, as the Bruins finished the year with a perfect 9-0 record in league play. UCLA entered the final weekend of the regular season needing only a tie in one of its final two games to earn at least a share of the title. The Bruins ended up clinching the title outright with a 2-0 victory over Washington State on Nov. 9. The Bruins have won four out of the five championships outright, sharing the 2004 title with co-champion Arizona.
Another Pac-10 Fact
Since the conference began naming champions in 1993, only two Pac-10 schools have finished the season with perfect records in league play (Stanford in 1995 & 2002, and UCLA in 1997 and 2007). UCLA has now won eight of the 14 conference championships awarded. The Bruins' Pac-10 record during their five-year stint as champions is an impressive 38-4-3.
UCLA outscored conference opponents 21-1 in nine Pac-10 matches this season. The only team to score a goal against the Bruins was Arizona State.
Henderson, Calvert Excel in the Classroom Too
Bruin goalkeeper Valerie Henderson recently earned first-team ESPN The Magazine All-District-VIII honors, making her eligible for the 2007 Academic All-American Team. In addition, defender Catherine Calvert was named to the third team. Henderson, who is an English major with a minor in Spanish, owns a 3.49 cumulative grade point average. Calvert, a psychology major, carries a 3.36 GPA.
Cheney, DiMartino Nominated by U.S. Soccer
UCLA's Lauren Cheney and Christina DiMartino make up two of the five candidates in the running for this year's U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year Award. This award is designed to highlight a young, up-and-coming player, who has excelled at the Youth National Team level for U.S. Soccer within the last calendar year. Cheney, who has played with the Full U.S. team in the last year, was recently a member of the U-20 squad that finished second at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil. DiMartino was a member of the U-21 team that captured the 2007 Nordic Cup title in Finland. The three other candidates are: Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Kelly O'Hara (Stanford) and Tobin Heath (North Carolina). If either Cheney or DiMartino win the award, it will mark the second year in a row that a UCLA player has taken it, as Danesha Adams earned the honor in 2006. A link to the voting can be found at www.ussoccer.com.
Cheney Named Top Drawer Soccer's Player of the Year
Lauren Cheney was named Top Drawer Soccer's National Player of the Year on Nov. 9, as she was one of five Bruin players honored by the publication. Cheney was joined by third-team honorees Valerie Henderson and Lauren Barnes. Danesha Adams and Kara Lang were honorable mention selections.
Henderson on Pace for Another School Record
Senior goalkeeper Valerie Henderson, already the school record holder in career wins (76) and shutouts (38), is on pace to break yet another school record. Henderson currently owns a career goals against average of 0.61, better than school record holder Sarah Lombardo's 0.64 average from 2001-03. Henderson's final average will not be determined until the end of the season.
In the Pac-10 Statistics
As a team, UCLA ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10 in every major offensive statistical category, including: goals (62), points (188), and assists (64). Individually, forward Lauren Cheney is tops in points (55), goals (22) and game-winning goals (9). Midfielder Christina DiMartino ranks first in the Pac-10 in assists (12).