Aug. 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES - After cruising to a 4-1 victory over CSU Bakersfield in the team's only exhibition of the 2011 season last Saturday, the UCLA women's soccer team kicks off the regular season this Friday, taking on local rival Cal State Northridge at 7:00 p.m. at the Matador Soccer Field. The Bruins take a 6-1 all-time record against the Matadors into the match, including a 4-1 win at Drake Stadium last season.
Friday's contest marks the debut of new UCLA head coach B.J. Snow, who replaced Jillian Ellis in January following her departure to U.S. Soccer. Snow is no stranger to the program, however, as he worked under Ellis for five seasons, rising from a volunteer assistant in 2006 to assistant head coach in 2009. In addition to Snow's promotion, the UCLA coaching staff has added Manny Martins, who was hired as a full-time assistant to fill the vacancy left when Snow was promoted, and Jordi King, who will be the team's new volunteer assistant coach.
The Bruin coaching staff isn't the only area where the program will see changes in 2011, as Snow started six newcomers in the team's exhibition in Bakersfield. Freshmen Caprice Dydasco, Abby Dahlkemper, Rosie White, Sarah Killion and Samantha Mewis all started that match, as did Vanderbilt transfer Chelsea Stewart. Freshmen Kylie McCarthy and Courtney Proctor, who came in as reserves, each scored goals in that contest. With 13 newcomers to this year's squad, the Bruins' starting lineup could see several changes through the early part of the non-conference season, as Snow faces the challenge of replacing departed seniors Lauren Barnes and Kylie Wright, who have gone on to play in the WPS. Another starter who missed the team's exhibition was sophomore Jenna Richmond, who was injured in last year's NCAA Tournament. Her exact date of return has not yet been determined.
One player who has already received a great deal of attention during the preseason is senior Sydney Leroux, who hopes to make her final season in Westwood a memorable one. The team's leading scorer the last two seasons, Leroux is on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy and has been named one of Soccer America's Preseason All-Americans. If the team's exhibition match is any indication, Leroux is primed for another successful year in 2011, as she scored a pair of goals less than a minute apart in UCLA's 4-1 victory.
UCLA begins the season by playing its first four matches on the road. Following this Friday's clash with the Matadors, the Bruins head to Knoxville, Tenn. for the Lady Vol Classic, Aug. 26-28. UCLA will take on SEC powers Tennessee and Florida before playing another road match at Pepperdine on Sept. 2. The team's first home match will be a Sunday evening contest against Rutgers on Sept. 4.