Los Angeles Soccer: Ally Courtnall
All-American Sydney Leroux scored a hat trick in 11 minutes Friday night, and seventh-ranked UCLA romped to a 6-1 victory over visiting Arizona in a Pacific 12 Conference women's soccer game.
Leroux, a burgeoning U.S. national-teamer, tallied in the 10th, 12th and 21st minutes for the Bruins (11-1-2), who scored four first-half goals as they halted a three-game winless streak and improved to 4-1-2 in conference play.
The goals were Leroux's eighth, ninth and 10th of the season and give her 51 career goals. The hat trick was the third of her college career.
Zakiya Bywaters, Ally Courtnall (Westlake Village/Oaks Christian HS) and Kylie McCarthy also tallied for UCLA, which outshot the Wildcats, 24-2. Sam Mewis contributed three assists.
In other women´s action:
- Claire Schloemer (Newport Beach/Mater Dei HS) struck four minutes into overtime, and USC (5-11-0) claimed its first home victory of the season -- following seven defeats -- with a wild 2-1 triumph over Arizona State. Ashli Sandoval (Jamul/Granite Hills HS) broke a scoreless draw in the 83rd and set up Schloemer's winner after Devin Marshall's header with 38 seconds to go in regulation tied the score. It
- Ally Holtz took advantage of poor back pass to Gonzaga's goalkeeper, nodding the ball into the lower-left corner in the 77th minute to lift No. 4 Pepperdine (12-0-4) to a 1-0 West Coast Conference victory.
- Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS and UCLA) scored on a 75th-minute header, and Long Beach State (11-5-1) ended a two-game skid with a 1-0 Big West victory over UC Riverside (7-8-0).
UC Irvine had final-four aims a year ago, when head coach George Kuntz's talented, senior-heavy team climbed into the top 10 before an upset loss to Cal State Fullerton in the conference tournament and a poor RPI kept it out of the NCAA tournament, one of the most stunning omissions we've seen in the men's soccer brackets.
Expectations this fall aren't so towering. The Anteaters were picked fourth in the Big West Conference's preseason coaches poll, behind UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and Fullerton.
Might want to rethink that.
Irvine is off to a 6-0-0 start for the first time in school history after rallying twice from first-half deficits, then pulling away to a 4-2 non-conference victory Sunday at Midwest power Illinois-Chicago.
Enrique Cardenas (Coachella/Coachella Valley HS) scored in the 58th minute and Christopher Santana in the 77th to lift the Anteaters, who are No. 9 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America men's Division I rankings.
UIC (2-1-2) went ahead twice, on goals off corner kicks by Zach Kaleta in the fourth minute and Craig Krzyskowski in the 22nd, but UCI answered immediately both times, through Christian Hernandez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) in the 13th and Jonathan Rivas (Norwalk/Santa Fe HS and Cerritos College) in the 24th.
In other men's action:
- Ryan Lee and Chandler Hoffman scored first-half goals to lead UCLA (2-2-1) past 10-man Loyola Marymount (2-3-0). The Bruins dominated the game, outfiring LMU, 13-4; the Lions were handicapped when Logan McDaniel (Palmdale/Quartz Hills HS) was red-carded in the 14th minute, just 23 seconds after Lee tallied.
- Jesse Escalante (Placentia/Valencia HS) and Nick Posthuma (Pasadena/St. Francis HS) scored to lead Cal State Fullerton (4-0-1) past San Francisco, 2-0, to win UNLV's event, the Titans' second tournament championship in as many weekends.
- Cal State Northridge (2-3-0), just seven minutes from victory, surrendered three goals in 97 seconds and lost, 3-1, to New Mexico in the decisive encounter of the Lobos' tournament. Gustavo Villalobos (Van Nuys/Birmingham HS) tallied for the Matadors in the 35th minute.
UCLA faces great expectations this season -- NCAA championship kind of expectations -- but the Bruins need to find their game before they can aim so high.
Two games in, and UCLA is still looking for its first win. It followed last week's loss at top-ranked Louisville with a disappointing 2-2 draw Friday night at Santa Clara.
The Bruins, ranked as high as sixth in Division I men's soccer, overcame a quick deficit but couldn't hold onto a late lead in a rough clash marked by 35 fouls and eight yellow cards,
Chandler Hoffman answered Erik Hurtado's strike to pull UCLA even in the 17th minute, and Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Chin Hills HS) struck with a volley to provide a 70th-minute lead. Mykell Bates, Arreola's former teammate with the U.S. under-17 national team, pulled the Broncos (1-0-1) even in the 84th.
In other men's action:
- Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) scored the first goal and set up a stunning overtime winner by Victor Calderon (San Jacinto/San Jacinto HS) as No. 14 UC Irvine (3-0-0) overcame visiting Gonzaga, 2-1. The Anteaters held a 44-4 shot advantage, but Ryan Caballero made 17 saves to keep the Bulldogs in the game.
- No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (2-0-0) started its trek to North Carolina with a 3-2 victory over Duke, with Dom Sarle's overtime goal decisive.
- All-American Luis Gonzalez (Long Beach/Millikan HS) and Daniel Gomez (Ontario/Chino HS) scored late goals six minutes apart as Cal Poly Pomona won its opener, rallying for a 3-2 victory over Dixie State in Phoenix.
UCLA WOMEN RALLY AT PEPPERDINE: Freshman Ally Courtnall (Westlake Village/Oaks Christian HS), the daughter of former NHL winger Russ Courtnall, scored with a little less than three minutes left in regulation, giving No. 6 UCLA a 1-1 draw with No. 24 Pepperdine in Malibu.
Lynn Williams' first-half goal gave the Waves (4-0-1) a first-half lead, and Roxanne Barker (Irvine/Woodbridge HS) made 10 saves as UCLA applied heavy pressure in the second half and during overtime.
Pacific (1-2-0) halved the deficit with two minutes to go on Angelica Figueroa's penalty kick following a hand ball.
“We knew that we needed to get our confidence up -- we knew we needed to come out and get it done,” Kerridge, who leads USC with two goals and two assists, said on a video posted on her school's athletics website. “It wasn't the prettiest soccer, like we have been playing, but we got the job done, and that's all that matters.”
In other women's action:
- All-American Sydney Leroux's scoring streak hit three games as No. 15 UCLA (4-0-0) won Tennessee's tournament with a 2-0 triumph over eighth-ranked Florida. Leroux was the event's MVP, and freshmen Ally Courtnall (who also scored), Samantha Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper made the all-tournament team.
- Surprising UC Riverside (2-1-1) won its second in a row, surpassing last year's victory total with a 2-1 overtime triumph over visiting San Jose State. Kayde Hensley's 102nd-minute goal lifted the Highlanders to the title in their tournament.
- No. 13 UC Irvine (4-0-0) also won both of its games at UCR's event, finishing with a 2-0 triumph over Mississippi State as UCLA transfer Natalia Ledezma (La Mirada/La Mirada HS) netted her third goal.
- Karissa Garcia's goal in the sixth minute led Pepperdine (4-0-0) past visiting Long Island, 1-0.
- The Waves' West Coast Conference rival Loyola Marymount also is unbeaten, 3-0-1 after a 0-0 draw with Fresno State.
- Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) scored her second goal of the weekend, but Long Beach State (2-2-0) lost, 2-1, at No. 12 Marquette.
So much attention was going to Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's girls soccer team, and with good reason.
The Tologs, from a tiny little Catholic school in La Cañada Flintridge, upset mighty San Clemente to win the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title, were No. 1 in ESPN Rise's Fab 50 national rankings and seemed a shoo-in for a second successive Division III regional crown.
Someone forgot to tell Oaks Christian.
UCLA-bound Ally Courtnall scored twice and set up a third goal in the first 18 minutes, and the Lions (26-2-1) romped to their first Southern California Regional Championship title Saturday morning, a 3-1 decision at Warren High School in Downey.
Courtnall, a Canadian under-17 national-teamer, destroyed Flintridge Sacred Heart's defense with speed as the Westlake Village school scored all three goals on counterattacks.
“I thought our girls played really hard today,” said Lions coach Sebastian Alvarado. “And I don't think they knew how fast Ally was at the end of the day, and I don't think they knew we have some girls who can knock the ball around.”
It capped a spectacular season for Oaks Christian, which won its final 20 matches and set a school record for victories while scoring 110 goals, won the Southern Section Division 4 title -- its sixth section crown in the sport since 2003 -- and that's not all.
“We beat the [Southern Division 1 champion today, and we beat the Division 2 champion, Buena [of Ventura, in December],” Alvarado said. “So it's pretty good to have that on your record.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart was missing two starting midfielders -- Oaks Christian was without four players -- but everything went downhill for the Tologs (23-2-1) when USC-bound forward Katie Johnson (23 goals) went down with a knee injury in the 10th minute. The Lions also benefited from Brittani Gardella's play in the back and fellow senior Jaciella Mello's performance in midfield.
Courtnall, the daughter of former NHL winger Russ Courtnall, is a converted defender -- she'll be an outside back at UCLA -- whom Alvarado moved up front after a Dec. 20 loss to Saugus. The Lions haven't lost since.
Tiny Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy celebrated its first season at the top level of CIF Southern Section girls soccer by beating a giant in the title game.
Sophomore midfielder Krista Meaglia's soft-touch goal in the second half carried the Tologs (21-1-1), from La Cañada Flintridge, to a 1-0 triumph over San Clemente in Friday night's Division 1 final at Mission Viejo High School.
The title was the first in girls soccer for Flintridge Sacred Heart, a 400-student, all-girls Catholic school that won the Southern California Regional Division III championship a year ago. San Clemente (18-3-8), making its fourth successive D1 title-game appearance, has won five top-division finals in the past 10 years.
The top-seeded Tritons were the better side most of the match and didn't concede a shot on goal until the 66th minute, not until Flintridge Sacred Heart got its counterattack going. Meaglia's goal arrived soon after, in the 68th minute, with a gentle touch to put the ball in off the left post to finish a sequence from Jillian Jacobs to Katie Johnson.
Both teams are expected to receive berths Sunday in the Southern California Regional Championships, with San Clemente in Division I and the Tologs in Division III.
Southern Section finals Friday and Saturday also were played at Warren High School in Downey.
In other championship games:
Buena (Ventura) 2, Wilson (Long Beach) 0
Wake Forest-bound Riley Ridgik scored both goals to lead the Bulldogs (20-5-4) to their fifth girls soccer title and first since 2005. Both goals were from headers off set pieces, with Ridgik rising to nod home a Macey Herrera free kick in the 10th minute and a Miranda Campos corner kick in the 34th. The Bruins tried to disrupt Buena with physical play but were unable to mount much of an attack, were outshot, 10-1, and finished without coach Jason Kirkwood, who was ejected in the 83rd minute.
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 1, Ayala (Chino Hills) 0
The Lancers (27-1-0) rode Natalie Rivas' hot streak and staunch defense to claim their first girls soccer title, knocking off the only team to beat them this season. Rivas' 26th-minute backward header from Jessie Gener's long free kick beat diving Ayala goalkeeper Alicen Wright and went in off the left post, her fifth playoff goal after scoring just three during the regular season. Alyssa Cabral was pivotal defensively for the Lancers, shutting down University of Virginia-bound forward Makenzy Doniak, who netted four goals in the Bulldogs' 6-2 triumph in early December.