Los Angeles Soccer: Billy Gutierrez
Stanford scored four first-half goals to rout the Bruins, 4-1, Sunday in its packed Cagan Stadium, extending its home winning streak in women's soccer to 43 games and taking command of the Pacific 12 Conference race.
Chioma Ubogagu scored her fifth and sixth goals of the season to deliver a two-goal lead by the 18th minute. After Zakiya Bywaters halved the deficit seconds later for UCLA (10-1-2), Lindsay Taylor scored her ninth of the year in the 28th and Kristy Zurmuhlen provided a three-goal edge in the 40th.
UCLA's four-game shutout streak ended, but the Bruins stopped Stanford's seven-game stretch.
“I think we're in a good place,” said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe, whose team has reached the past two NCAA Division I finals. “The team's doing well, but we've got to keep getting better. We've got to keep improving. We've got to learn from this game and keep growing.”
The Cardinal (13-0-1), which is 5-0-0 in the Pac-12, is looking for a third successive perfect conference campaign. Every other Pac-12 school has lost at least one. UCLA is 3-1-1.
In other women's action:
- USC (3-10-0) lost its eighth in a row as Rachel Mercik and Taylor Comeau scored second-half goals in Cal's 2-0 victory. The Women of Troy are 0-4-0 in Pac-12 play.
- Nicole Hubbard (Lakewood/Mayfair HS) scored with 12 seconds to go in regulation and Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) netted her 12th goal of the season in the fifth minute of overtime as No. 23 Long Beach State (10-3-1) rallied for a 2-1 Big West Conference victory over Cal State Fullerton (6-6-2).
Billy Gutierrez is a sparkplug off the bench. Tiffany Hollis is a presence in the nets. Both are crucial players for Cal State Dominguez Hills' soccer programs, which enter every season with national-championship aspirations.
And they're a team.
Gutierrez, a 26-year-old senior defender, and Hollis, 20, a junior goalkeeper, will celebrate 18 months of marriage at season's end -- and they hope, too, for returns to the NCAA Division II tournaments after both teams missed the postseason last year.
The men are off to a 6-2-1 start, with Gutierrez (Huntington Park/Huntington Park HS) the Toros' No. 2 scorer, with a pair goals and three assists. The women (5-4-0) have struggled, ending a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 win Friday at San Francisco State. Hollis (Los Angeles/Lakewood HS) has been a strong suit and was the California Collegiate Athletic Association's player of the week earlier this month.
Soccer provided a foundation for their relationship, and with home life, classes (both major in kinesiology) and the tight ties between the teams (they travel together for CCAA matches), they rarely spend time apart.
“Soccer is a big deal for both of us, because we are always talking about soccer, and that's what brought us together in the beginning ... ” Hollis told the school's athletics website. “We know how to find a balance between everything, but it's not easy. We decided to get into this boat together, and now we just have to know how to work through the adversities, remembering what the most important thing is, which is our relationship.”
Gutierrez and Hollis met in a soccer class three years ago at Cerritos College, where both played for the Falcons' state-championship sides. They wed in May 2010, arrived in Carson a year ago and played reserve roles for Dominguez Hills, which struggled after winning the men's national title in 2008 and reaching the women's championship game in 2009.
UCLA opened Pacific 12 Conference play in women'ssoccer with a dominant but tight victory over Washington, but USC couldn't hold on to an early advantage in its opener against Washington State.
Vanderbilt transfer Chelsea Stewart scored UCLA's goal in the 79th minute Friday night in front of 2,350 at Drake Stadium, skipping a free kick through a crowded box and past Huskies goalkeeper Jorde LaFontaine-Kussman.
The Bruins (8-0-1) played superb defense, limiting Washington (3-4-2) to one shot.
USC (3-7-0) on Sunday scored the fastest goal in program history -- Samantha Johnson (Palmdale/Highland HS) on an assist from Haley Boysen (Moorpark/Harvard-Westlake School) just 14 seconds in -- then conceded twice in the last 25 minutes to fall to the Cougars (7-3-1) at McAllister Park.
Rachael Doyle's header off the crossbar evened things in the 67th minute, and Jocelyn Jeffers got the winner with 4½ minutes to play.
In other women's action: