Aug. 18, 2009
Third-Ranked UCLA Opens up Season at No. 1 North Carolina
In a rematch of one of last year's NCAA Semifinals, the third-ranked UCLA women's soccer team (0-0) opens up the 2009 season against top-ranked and defending national champion North Carolina (0-0) this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (EST). It marks the Bruins' first trip to Carolina's Fetzer Field since the inaugural meeting of the two teams back in 1996. Live stats for the match can be accessed by clicking HERE.
The UCLA/North Carolina Series
UCLA has never beaten North Carolina in women's soccer, as the Tar Heels take a 7-0 series record into this Saturday's showdown. Four of the seven meetings have been in the NCAA Tournament, with all four coming at the College Cup. Saturday will mark the fourth regular-season meeting in the series.
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.
Bruins Ranked Highly to Start the Year
UCLA debuted at No. 3 in the Soccer America Preseason Rankings released on Tuesday. In the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Coaches' Poll released on Aug. 12, the Bruins checked in at No. 5. The Bruins are also ranked No. 4 by Top Drawer Soccer.
UCLA graduated seven seniors from a team that posted a 22-1-2 overall record in 2008. Gone are Christina DiMartino, Ashley Thompson, Catherine Calvert, Caitlyn Mac Kechnie, Coco Kleinert, McCall Zerboni and Erin Hardy. DiMartino (first team) and Hardy (second team) were named NSCAA/adidas All-Americans last year, while Thompson led the nation in goals against average (0.25).
Although UCLA graduated six seniors from last year's team, the good news for Bruins in 2009 is that they return eight starters, led by three-time first-team All-American Lauren Cheney. UCLA also landed a stellar recruiting class that features Parade All-Americans Zakiya Bywaters, Chelsea Cline and Ahsha Smith. Chante' Sandiford, who sat out all of 2008 after transferring from Villanova, also figures to play a major role in goal following the graduation of Ashley Thompson.
Leroux Returns From U-20 Duty
In addition to landing an excellent recruiting class, the Bruins also get an added boost this year with the return of sophomore Sydney Leroux, who was unavailable to play in last year's NCAA Tournament while representing the U.S. at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Chile. Leroux was the star of the event, earning the tournament's Golden Shoe (top scorer) and Golden Ball (top player) awards. She played in 19 matches for the Bruins as a freshman in 2008, ending the season with 16 points on five goals and six assists.
WPS Bruins Vying for Championship This Saturday
With the Bruins away in North Carolina this Saturday, women's soccer fans in the LA Area can still follow two former UCLA players in their quest for a championship this weekend at the Home Depot Center. Goalkeeper Valerie Henderson and midfielder McCall Zerboni are members of Los Angeles Sol, which will be playing in the WPS Championship this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The Sol's opponent will be the winner of Wednesday's super semifinal between Saint Louis Athletica and New Jersey's Sky Blue FC. Tickets for the championship can be obtained by calling 1-877-4-SOL-TIX (765-849) or by visiting www.losangelessol.com.
If the preseason rankings prove to be even somewhat accurate, the UCLA women's soccer team has an extremely competitive schedule ahead in 2009. The Bruins are scheduled to face eight teams that begin the season ranked in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25, including four that are ranked in the top 10 (No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Stanford, No. 8 USC and No. 10 Florida). The other ranked opponents are: No. 13 San Diego, No. 17 Illinois, No. 21 Washington State and No. 25 Missouri.
Head Coach Jillian Ellis Jillian Ellis is in her 11th season as head coach at UCLA. The 2000 NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year, Ellis owns a record of 195-34-11 at UCLA. Her overall coaching record, which includes two seasons at the University of Illinois, stands at 214-52-11. She has led the Bruins to seven Pac-10 titles (2001, 2003-08) and seven appearances in the NCAA College Cup (2000, 2003-08).