Nov. 29, 2006
Bruins, Tar Heels, Seminoles and Fighting Irish make up NCAA College Cup Field
The second-seeded UCLA women's soccer team (21-3) will face top-seeded North Carolina (25-1) this Friday at 3:30 p.m. (EST) in the first semifinal of the NCAA College Cup in Cary, NC. That match can be seen live on ESPN2. The second semifinal that day pits top-seeded Notre Dame (24-0-1) vs. second-seeded Florida State (18-3-4) at 6:30 p.m. Friday's winners will meet in the final on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (EST) live on ESPN2.
UCLA vs. UNC Series History
Friday will mark the sixth meeting between UCLA and North Carolina, with the Tar Heels owning a 5-0 advantage in the all-time series. It will be the third NCAA Tournament meeting between the two teams, as UNC defeated UCLA, 2-1 in the finals in 2000 and 3-0 in the semifinals in 2003. That 2003 meeting (the last between the two teams) was at the SAS Soccer Park in Cary.
Four in a Row
UCLA is the only school in the country to have appeared in the previous three College Cups. The Bruins lost to North Carolina in the semifinals in 2003, lost to Notre Dame on penalty kicks in the final in 2004, and lost to Portland in last year's final. The last time the Bruins failed to advance this far was back in 2002 after losing to Texas A&M on penalty kicks in the third round.
UCLA has come from behind three times this season, doing it twice during the NCAA Tournament. After going down a goal early against Florida in the third round, the Bruins battled back for an eventual 3-2 victory. UCLA also gave up an early goal against Portland in the quarterfinals before eventually coming back to win 2-1. The other time UCLA did it was against Cal in the regular season, eventually winning 4-1.
One More Win
With its next victory, UCLA will tie the school record for wins in a season with 22. That record was set just a year ago, as the 2005 squad finished with a 22-2-2 overall record. It marks the fourth time in program history that UCLA has posted 20 wins in a season (2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006)
The Last Time in Cary
The last time UCLA played in Cary it marked one of the most exciting finals in NCAA history, as Notre Dame edged UCLA on penalty kicks back in 2004. The Bruins went up 1-0 in the 60th minute on an own goal. The Fighting Irish, however, tied things up in the 74th minute on a penalty kick by Katie Thorlakson. After two scoreless overtime periods, the game eventually went into penalty kicks, where Notre Dame won 4-3.
Closing in on NCAA Title #100
With 99 NCAA team titles, the UCLA Athletic Program is on the verge of making history as the first school to reach No. 100. The women's soccer team is also in a unique position this year, as it will be the first UCLA team with a shot at achieving this feat. If both the UCLA men and women are in the College Cup finals on Sunday, the women will play at 9:30 a.m. (PST), while the men don't start until 11:00 a.m. (PST). UCLA has never won an NCAA title in women's soccer, while the men's volleyball team has the most NCAA championships at the school with 19.
UCLA's NCAA Seeding History
Yr. Seed Result 2000 #6 Finals (L, 2-1 to UNC) 2001 #3 Quarterfinals (L, 1-0 to Florida) 2002 #7 Rd. of 16 (L, 0-0 PKs to Texas A&M) 2003 #4 Semifinals (L, 3-0 to UNC) 2004 #14 Finals (L, 1-1 PKs to Notre Dame) 2005 #1* Finals (L, 4-0 to Portland) 2006 #2 Semifinals . . . . . . .
* 2005 marked the first year of regional seeding
Did You Know?
With the UCLA men's soccer team also participating in the NCAA College Cup this week in St. Louis, Mo., UCLA is the first school to send both teams to the final four since North Carolina did it in 2001.
Thunder and Lightning
Freshman Lauren Cheney and junior Danesha Adams provide one of the best scoring combinations in the country. Cheney, who often times powers her way through tight spaces before unleashing a hefty shot, leads the team in scoring with 39 points on 19 goals and one assist. Adams, arguably the fastest player in the country, ranks second on the team in scoring with 28 points (12g, 4a). Both players have recorded either a goal or an assist in every NCAA Tournament match thus far, with Cheney knocking in four goals and one assist, and Adams with five goals and one assist.
Cheney Sets Two Freshman Records
Lauren Cheney recently set two UCLA freshman records and is knocking on the door of a third. Cheney punched in a record 18th goal of the season in the Bruins' 3-2 victory over Florida in the round of 16. The old record was set by injured sophomore Kara Lang, who had 17 as a freshman last season. Cheney also set the freshman record for game-winning goals with her eighth of the season in UCLA's 2-1 victory over Portland in the quarterfinals. That surpassed the previous record set by former Bruin Traci Arkenberg, who had seven back in 1994. In addition, Cheney, who currently has 39 points, is just one off the freshman record of 40 set by Lang last year.
Too Bad it's Not at Home
With its home unbeaten streak at 27 matches, UCLA would much rather play North Carolina in the friendly confines of Drake Stadium. The Bruins have not lost at home since a 1-0 loss to Penn State back on Sept. 9, 2005. Additionally, the Bruins, who finished 16-0 at Drake Stadium this season, own a 15-match winning streak in home NCAA Tournament matches. UCLA's last home loss during the NCAA Tournament was to Texas A&M back in 2002.
Henderson New Career Win Leader
With the Bruins' 6-1 victory over UNLV in the first round, goalkeeper Valerie Henderson set a new school record for career wins with 53. She entered that match tied with Lindsay Culp, who had 52 victories from 1996-99. Henderson, who recently picked up her 56th career win in the Bruins' victory over Portland, now has 18 wins on the season.
Adams, Henderson in M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Mix
Although neither was named a finalist for this year's M.A.C. Herman Trophy, both Danesha Adams and Valerie Henderson were in consideration for the top award in collegiate soccer. Both were named to the "Watch List" at the beginning of the season, and Adams moved on to be named one of 15 semifinalists. The three finalists announced this week were Yael Averbuch (UNC), Heather O'Reilly (UNC) and Kerri Hanks (Notre Dame).
DiMartino Dishing It Out
Although much of the attention is focused on scoring leaders Lauren Cheney and Danesha Adams, the Bruins' x-factor in 2006 just might be the play of speedy sophomore Christina DiMartino. With a team-high seven assists, DiMartino has been the Bruins' top playmaker this season. Standing at just 5-2, her ability to sneak past opposing defenders before laying the ball off has been a big reason for UCLA's success. Even if she doesn't get an assist, much of the scoring is a result of her penetrating runs through opposing defenses. DiMartino can find the back of the net too, as she ranks third on the team in goals with five.
All in the Family
If UCLA is able to pick up two more victories and actually win the national championship, it will mark the second NCAA soccer titles for two Bruin families, as both goalkeeper Ashley Thompson and defender Bristyn Davis had brothers on UCLA's 2002 NCAA-title-winning men's soccer team. Ashley's brother, Scot, and Bristyn's brother, Chadd, both started in that final, a 1-0 victory over Stanford in Dallas, TX.
The U-20 Experience
With five players on the team, UCLA had more players on the U.S. U-20 World Championship team than any other school in the country. Erin Hardy, Lauren Cheney, Danesha Adams, Christina DiMartino and Valerie Henderson all took part in the event, which took place in Russia. The U.S. advanced to the semifinals, eventually falling to China on penalty kicks. The U.S. finished fourth after losing to Brazil in the third-place match. Adams earned the Bronze Ball in Russia, an award given to the tournament's third best player. Ten players from the U.S. team will be participating in the College Cup this weekend.
Bruins End Regular Season at No. 3
UCLA is ranked No. 3 in the final regular-season polls issued by NSCAA/adidas, Soccer America, Soccer Buzz and Soccer Times. The Bruins, who began the season ranked No. 1 in Soccer America and Soccer Buzz, have been ranked in the top-10 all season.
Adams Named to U.S. Gold Cup Roster
Danesha Adams was recently selected as one of three college players who were named to the U.S. roster for the Gold Cup, an event that helped the U.S. qualify for the 2007 Women's World Cup. At 20 years old, Adams was the youngest and least-capped player on the roster. She did not appear in any matches during the Gold Cup. The U.S. won the Gold Cup with a 2-1 overtime victory over Canada. Adams recently made her lone appearance for the U.S. senior side on Oct. 1 vs. Chinese Taipei.
UCLA Wins Fourth-Straight Conference Title
UCLA recently became the first Pac-10 school to win four-straight conference titles, as the Bruins downed Oregon State, 4-0 in the final match of the regular season on Nov. 5 in Corvallis, Ore. With the victory, the Bruins earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, finishing the season with an 8-1 mark in Pac-10 play. It marks the seventh overall title for UCLA, more than any other school in the Pac-10. Final Pac-10 standings listed on page 3.
Soccer Buzz Names Player/Freshman of the Year Finalists
In addition to being named a semifinalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, midfielder Danesha Adams was also recently named one of 14 players selected to Soccer Buzz Magazine's Player of the Year list. UCLA's Lauren Cheney and Lauren Wilmoth are also two of 14 players who are in contention for Soccer Buzz Freshman of the Year.
Adams Earns First Cap, Assist With U.S. Women's National Team
Coming off an outstanding performance at the Under-20 FIFA World Championships in Russia, UCLA's Danesha Adams got her first taste of international competition at the senior level back in early October, as the Bruin junior was brought into camp with the U.S. Women's National Team in Carson, Calif. Adams did so well in the camp that she made the 18-player roster for an international friendly against Chinese Taipei. After coming in as a substitute in the 75th minute, Adams had an assist on a Megan Rapinoe goal in the 82nd minute. The U.S. eventually won the match 10-0. It marked the first time that Adams has ever been invited into camp with the full team.
Young Defense Holding Its Own
Senior Bristyn Davis is the lone veteran on a back line that features two freshmen and a sophomore. Erin Hardy (So.), Lydia Cook (Fr.), and Lauren Wilmoth (Fr.) round out a defense that has surrendered just 17 goals in 24 matches. In addition, the Bruins' 13 shutouts this season ranks in the top-five all-time.
Youth National Team Bruins
A total of 16 UCLA players have been involved with the U.S. Youth National Team program at some point and time during their careers. In fact, several have been featured on U.S. rosters for major international competitions in recent months. Danesha Adams, Lauren Wilmoth, Bristyn Davis and Valerie Henderson were all part of the Jillian Ellis coached Under-21 U.S. squad that placed second at the Nordic Cup this past July in Norway. Adams and Henderson then teamed up with Lauren Cheney, Erin Hardy and Christina DiMartino on the Under-20 U.S. team that placed fourth at the FIFA World Championships in Russia in September.
Castelanelli, Lang Out for the Season
Already without forward Kara Lang due to injury, the Bruins suffered another huge blow to their season on Sept. 24, as senior defender Mary Castelanelli suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Bruins' 3-0 victory over Pepperdine. Castelanelli, who had started all nine matches for the Bruins prior to getting hurt, was the lone upperclassman on the back line. She is not eligible for a medical redshirt. Lang, who suffered an ACL injury during the offseason, is redshirting the season. 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 year, helping the Bruins advance to the finals.
All-Pac-10 Honors Announced
First-team selections Lauren Cheney, Christina DiMartino and Danesha Adams headlined a group of eight UCLA women's soccer players who received All-Pac-10 honors on Nov. 9. In addition to her selection to the first team, Cheney was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Goalkeeper Valerie Henderson was named to the second team. The Bruins' honorable mention selections were Erin Hardy, Stacy Lindstrom and Bristyn Davis.
Did You Know?
Senior midfielder Stacy Lindstrom and freshman defender Lauren Wilmoth are the only two players on this year's team who have started all 24 matches. In addition, sophomore midfielder Catherine Calvert is one of only three players to have appeared in every match.
In the Classroom
Injured defender Mary Castelanelli was recently named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District-VIII team. The senior from Lodi, Calif. carries a 3.53 GPA and is majoring in civil engineering. She had started the first nine matches for the Bruins this season before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Pac-10 All-Academic honors were released last week, with Castelanelli and sophomore midfielder Catherine Calvert earning second-team acclaim. Calvert is undecided with a 3.76 GPA. Goalkeeper Valerie Henderson and midfielder Christina DiMartino were named honorable mention selections.
Head Coach Jillian Ellis
Jillian Ellis is in her eighth season as the head coach of the UCLA women's soccer team. The 2000 NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year, Ellis owns a school record of 153-30-7 (.824). 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 172-48-7 (.773), 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.