Los Angeles Soccer: Cal State L.A.
Marvin Gentry/US Presswire
UCLA's Chandler Hoffman battles North Carolina's Enzo Martinez in the NCAA semifinals.
Counting down the 11 biggest 2011 stories in Southern California soccer ...
UCLA's soccer programs might be forgiven for thinking of NCAA College Cup appearances as some sort of birthright. The Bruins' programs have long been among the nation's best, with the men winning four national championships and the women making it to final four eight times in 10 years through 2009.
But the men hadn't been to championship weekend since 2006, when they were upset in the title game by UC Santa Barbara despite talent that begged for trophies. They were stopped one game short the past two seasons.
2011 was a return to normalcy, perhaps. With a startling amount of ability returning from last year's quarterfinalists and a refined scheme, emphasizing a beautiful possession game, directed by head coach Jorge Salcedo, the Bruins absorbed early lessons, built momentum en route to the Pacific 12 Conference title, then sprinted through the postseason, shutting out every foe, en route to the program's 13th College Cup appearance.
Chandler Hoffman, with a terrific support group led by returning All-American Kelyn Rowe, midfield general Andy Rose and a defense anchored by top goalkeeper Brian Rowe, was responsible for the goals, 18 in all, as the Bruins took an eight-game shutout streak to Birmingham, Ala., the junior striker's hometown.
The Bruins (18-4-2) got no further -- they conceded equalizers twice and lost on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the semifinals with North Carolina, which won the championship -- but laid groundwork for return trips. They expect to be back in 2012.
UCLA's men highlighted a outstanding fall for local college sides.
UCLA's Chandler Hoffman scored goals by the bunches on a quest to go home. Nadia Link netted nearly as many to take Long Beach State to unprecedented heights. Christian Ramirez dazzled for Concordia. And Fabiola da Silva prodded Cal Baptist to a national championship.
They're ESPN Los Angeles College Players of the Year after superb fall campaigns on local fields.
We selected men's and women's teams, one for players from 10 local NCAA Division I institutions and another for players from 24 NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and unaffiliated schools.
Our coaches of the year in Division I are Junior Gonzalez, who led the remarkable turnaround by UC Riverside's men, and Tim Ward, whose Pepperdine women were a top-five team during the regular season. In the lower divisions, it's Ralph Perez, who took Redlands' men to 20 wins and NCAA Division III third-round berth, and Kristen St. Clair, who presided over a superb transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, with the Pacific West Conference title and National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Division I national crown.
The freshmen of the year: Cal State Northridge's Edwin Rivas and UCLA's Abby Dahlkemper in D1, Cal Baptist's Michael Salazar and Cal Lutheran's Taylor Will in D2/D3/NAIA.
Here are our inaugural postseason all-star teams:
In the Big West Conference, UC Irvine's Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) and UC Riverside's Cesar Diaz Pizarro (Chino/Ayala HS) were co-Offensive Players of the Year. UCI's Andrew Fontein was honored as top goalkeeper, and Riverside's Nat Gonzalez was Coach of the Year. UC Santa Barbara's Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) won Midfielder of the Year honors, and James Kiffe was the best defender.
California Collegiate Athletic Association champion Cal State L.A. dominated the league's awards, with UC Santa Barbara transfer Taylor Rivas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) winning for Most Valuable Defensive Player, Rosario Bras for Newcomer of the Year and Chris Chamides as Coach of the Year. Cal Poly Pomona star Luis Gonzalez (Long Beach/Millikan HS and Cerritos College) was the Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Redlands' Cody Carlson (Burbank/Burbank HS) is the Southern California Collegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year.
Here are all of the local men's all-conference teams:
As he prepared his Long Beach State women's soccer team for something truly historic, Mauricio Ingrassia figured what better way to illustrate what the 49ers have accomplished -- and what remains in their reach -- than to show off a little living history.
So off they went, upon flying into North Carolina for Friday's NCAA Division I quarterfinal at thid-ranked Duke, to visit Anson Dorrance, architect of the most dominant dynasty in American sports history.
Dorrance, with a nearly never-ending stream of legends -- Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, April Heinrichs, Carla Overbeck, Tisha Venturini, Lorrie Fair, Lindsay Tarpley, Lori Chalupny, Heather O'Reilly, Tobin Heath -- has guided North Carolina to 21 national championships and fueled the U.S. women's national team's dominance in the women's game.
“Four our girls, that's history,” said Ingrassia, whose 49ers (18-5-1) have won eight in a row, seven by shutout, en route to the Big West Conference tournament title, a first-round NCAA “upset” of No. 7 Pepperdine, victories over Miami and San Diego and to a wholly unexpected spot in the elite eight. “If you ask [female] college players around the country if they ever thought about playing at North Carolina, you'd see a lot of hands, and our program isn't any different.”
So Ingrassia's charges oohed and ahhed at all the silverware and championship banners and mementos of those icons, checked out the facilities and spend a little time with Dorrance, the winningest coach in the American game, any level, anywhere.
Now they head into a battle with a Duke team that's 20-3-1, has a vibrant attack led by freshman Kelly Cobb and sophomores Kaitlyn Kerr and Mollie Pathman and an outstanding backline anchored by sophomore Natasha Anasi. The smart money has the Blue Devils in the Dec. 4 final against No. 1 Stanford.
Nothing is expected of Long Beach State, which hadn't won in two previous NCAA appearances. Now they sit one very difficult win from a College Cup final appearance.
“The goal for the team was to get to the sweet 16 or better,” said Ingrassia, whose team has advanced further than North Carolina, defending champion Notre Dame and perennial powers Santa Clara, Portland, UCLA and Florida. “Once we got to the sweet 16, we got the team together and said, 'Define what 'better' means to you. They came up with some pretty good and pretty powerful answers, so we redefined our goal.”
Cal State L.A.'s bid for the NCAA Division II men's soccer final four came up empty. The Golden Eagles couldn't come back Saturday afternoon in Durango, Colo.
Third-ranked Fort Lewis (22-1-0) advanced to its fifth D2 final four with a 2-0 victory as Kosta Kordistos scored on headers in the 17th and 56th minutes. It was the first loss for Cal State L.A. (15-2-6) since Sept. 25 and ended its 14-game unbeaten streak.
This was the Golden Eagles' first quarterfinal since 1981.
The Skyhawks (21-1-0) will meet Millersville, Pa. (14-6-2) in a Dec. 1 semifinal in Pensacola, Fla. New Hampshire's Franklin Pierce (21-0-1) and Lynn, Fla. (14-4-2) face off in the other semi.
In other men's action:
- Oktay Bulut scored an equalizer at the end of the first half and set up the go-ahead strike by Leonardo Grigg (La Verne/Bonita HS) at the start of the second, and Azusa Pacific (13-3-3) advanced to the NAIA tournament's 16-team main draw in Orange Beach, Ala., with a 4-1 first-round victory over visiting Cal State San Marcos (10-7-1). The Cougars will face Science & Arts of Oklahoma (17-4-0) in a second-round game Nov. 29.
UCLA rallied for an early deficit and stood one kick from victory, but it wasn't enough Friday night in the second round of the NCAA Division I women's soccer tournament.
The second-ranked Bruins' miscues from the penalty spot were deadly, and West Coast Conference co-champion San Diego took advantage to advance to the sweet 16, by a 3-2 tally, following a 1-1 draw.
UCLA (16-1-4) had won 30 successive NCAA tournament home games.
Long Beach State (17-5-1) will be the Toreros' foe in Sunday's third-round clash at UCLA's Drake Field after a 1-0 triumph over Miami in Friday's opener.
Freshman Mariah Butera gave San Diego (12-7-2) a lead less than a minute and a half into the game, and it held off the Bruins until the final minutes. Jenna Richmond's shot off the post in the 80th minute forced overtime, and penalty kicks followed 20 minutes of scoreless soccer.
Both teams missed their first two shots, but Sam Mewis and Charney Burk (Tustin/Foothill HS) connected to give UCLA a 2-1 advantage after four of five shootout rounds. Caprice Dydasco, with a chance to send the Bruins through, missed to start the fifth round, and Stephanie Ochs pulled USD even.
UCLA's Chelsea Stewart missed on the next shot, and the Toreros prevailed when Elissa Magracia converted.
Long Beach State, which last weekend at Pepperdine notched its first NCAA women's soccer victory, won on sophomore left back Kelsey Wilson's 40-yard blast inside the far post with about 10 minutes to go. Miami, which also won its first NCAA game last week, finished 10-8-1.
In other women's action:
- Cal State L.A. (13-4-4) watched its season end on penalties after another defensive battle with California Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Chico State (12-6-5), which won, 4-3, on the eighth round of the shootout following a 0-0 draw. The Wildcats, who beat Cal State L.A. in the CCAA tournament, on Sunday takes on Abilene Christian (20-1-1), which in the first game rallied from a halftime deficit for a 2-1 victory over Dallas Baptist (16-6-1). Ashley Holton's goal six minutes into overtime was the difference.
There are another 19 matches, in the NCAA, NAIA and NCCAA tournaments, slated for the L.A. area on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Redlands received word Monday that it will be home for the third round and quarterfinals in the NCAA Division III tournament -- the Bulldogs meet Calvin, from Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday, and the winner faces Randolph or Texas-Tyler in Saturday's showdown for a final-four berth.
UCLA's and Cal State L.A.'s women are staging four-school quartets Friday and Sunday, and UCLA's, UC Irvine's and UC Santa Barbara's men will be home for their NCAA openers Sunday.
There also are three NAIA teams (Azusa Pacific's men and women and Concordia's women) at home for first-round games Saturday, and regional play in the NCCAA tournament -- for Christian schools -- set for Friday and Saturday.
Here's the full list of games this week:
NCCAA: Trinity Lutheran (12-4-1) at Cal Baptist (13-5-0), 1 p.m.
NCCAA: Hope International (7-7-2) at The Master's (10-5-3), 1 p.m.
D3: Randolph (19-5-0) vs. Texas-Tyler (17-2-2) at Redlands, 5 p.m.
D3: Calvin (17-5-1) at Redlands (20-3-1), 7:30 p.m.
NAIA: Biola (13-5-2) at Hannibal-LaGrange (16-4-0), 11 a.m.
D2: Cal State L.A. (15-1-6) at Fort Lewis (20-1-0), noon
NCCAA: Cal Baptist/Trinity Lutheran vs. The Master's/Hope International at Cal Baptist, 1 p.m.
NAIA: Cal State San Marcos (10-6-1) at Azusa Pacific (12-3-3), 1:30 p.m.
D3: Redlands/Calvin vs. Randolph/Texas-Tyler at Redlands, 5 p.m.
D1: St. Mary's (8-6-5) or Cal State Bakersfield (12-3-5) at UC Irvine (16-5-1), 5 p.m.
D1: Dartmouth (8-5-4) or Providence (10-7-1) at UC Santa Barbara (14-6-1), 5 p.m.
D1: Delaware (12-5-4) or Virginia (12-7-1) at UCLA (15-4-1), 7 p.m.
D2: Chico State (12-6-4) at Cal State L.A. (13-4-3), noon
D2: Abilene Christian (19-1-1) vs. Dallas Baptist (16-5-1) at Cal State L.A., 2:30 p.m.
D1: Long Beach State (16-5-1) vs. Miami (10-7-1) at UCLA, 5 p.m.
D1: San Diego (12-7-1) at UCLA (15-1-3), 7:30 p.m.
NAIA: Ottawa, Kan. (10-7-3) at Azusa Pacific (13-2-2), 11 a.m.
NAIA: Graceland (10-6-3) at Concordia (13-5-1), 1:30 p.m.
D1: UCLA/San Diego vs. Long Beach State/Miami at UCLA, 2 p.m.
D2: Cal State L.A./Chico State vs. Abilene Christian/Dallas Baptist at Cal State L.A., 2 p.m.
Nick Eary converted a third-minute penalty kick, Charles Izydorek (Redlands/Arrowhead Christian Academy) doubled the lead in the 30th, and Gabe Ramirez (Pasadena/Crescenta Valley HS) added a late goal as Redlands (20-3-1) extended its unbeaten streak to 19 games.
The Bulldogs will face Calvin (17-5-1), of Grand Rapids, Mich., which reached the round of 16 for third year in a row with a 4-0 romp at No. 12 Loras. The game will be paired with another -- Randolph (19-5-0) vs. No. 22 Texas-Tyler (17-2-2) -- and the site will be announced Monday.
The tournament appears wide open after four schools among the top seven in the Division III rankings -- No. 1 Messiah, No. 3 Christopher Newport, No. 5 Trinity, Texas, and No. 7 St. Olaf -- lost in their NCAA openers. No. 8 Dominican, Ill., fell in its second-round game.
The Stags (14-6-2) held Redlands to a 1-1 draw in their meeting eight days ago, then prevailed on penalties to win the SCIAC tournament.
MALIBU -- Nadia Link has netted some wonderful goals this season, but few as sweet -- and none as important -- as her bending blast Saturday afternoon at Pepperdine.
Link fired into the far corner of the net with 13 seconds to go in the first overtime period to lift Long Beach State to a 1-0 triumph over the seventh-ranked Waves in an NCAA Division I tournament opener.
It was the first NCAA victory in 49ers history, and the first over a top-10 opponent, and it was product on Link's twisting shot and five big saves by goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves.
“That's seven years of work -- seven and a half years ...,” said Long Beach State coach Mauricio Ingrassia, who has the 49ers in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years. “We had a couple of injuries [when we lost in the first round to San Diego] in '08. And last year we played our best game of the year against Santa Clara, but [their goalkeeper] had the game of her life. This year we felt we had the experience. It would have been very painful to be 0-3 in the tournament without scoring a goal.”
The goal was a beauty. Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) received a pass from midfielder Sidney Garza (Ventura /Buena HS), took the ball up the left flank, then cut inside along the top of the Waves box, where she found uncommon space.
She's a left-footer, but the shot was on her right, and it twisted away -- “corkscrewed,” is how Pepperdine coach Tim Ward put it -- toward the upper-right. Waves goalkeeper Roxanne Barker (Irvine/Woodbridge HS) never had a chance.
“The team was asking why did I wait so long,” said Link, who tied the school record with her 16th goal of the season. “I saw the pass coming from Sidney Garza, and all I heard was Mauricio saying, 'Take it down the line!' And I remember thinking, 'That's a long way.' ... It went in, and I don't even remember celebrating. I was too busy crying.”
Said Ward: “A moment was going to decide the game, and that moment [belonged to] Nadia Link. ... A great player scored a great goal to beat us.”
Link described the odd path of her shot as “the unpredictability of my right foot.”
The strike brought a dramatic end to a tight, thrilling clash marked by superb defense in the boxes, with Long Beach State's backline -- especially center back Jordan Nelson (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS and Loyola Marymount) -- doing well to get in the way of shots by Lynn Williams and Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS).
Gustaves (Long Beach/Wilson HS) came up big five times, including a double-save, the second with her foot, on Amanda LeCave after an uncharacteristic giveaway by defender Alex Balcer. The goalkeeper followed up by snagging a long shot by right back Michelle Pao, Pepperdine's most dangerous attacker, then made two diving saves on Williams in the second half.
Long Beach advances to a second-round clash Friday against Miami (10-7-1), a 3-2 winner over Alabama, at UCLA's Drake Stadium.
In other women's action:
- Freshman Kylie McCarthy knocked home a 65th-minute rebound as No. 2 UCLA (16-1-3) scored a 1-0 victory over visiting New Mexico (12-5-4) in an NCAA Division I first-round game. The Bruins limited the Mountain West Conference champion to three shots, just two on target, in a dominant performance en route to a second-round clash Friday in Westwood against San Diego.
Cal State L.A. toppled California Collegiate Athletic Association rival Chico State from the spot after a 2-2 draw in the first game of a doubleheader at Seattle Pacific University.
The host Falcons struck 79 seconds into overtime to knock out Dominguez Hills, 2-1.
Cal State L.A. (14-1-6), No. 17 in the D2 rankings, and No. 13 Seattle Pacific (14-3-2) meet Saturday night in a second-round game.
The Golden Eagles overcame a 2-0 deficit as Jason Swope converted a 67th-minute penalty kick after drawing a foul and Rosario Bras tallied off Marc Hess' free kick in the 83rd. The goals were Swope's and Bras' 11th of the season.
All four Cal State L.A. shooters -- Hess, Antti Arvola, Swope and Nicolas Assad (Winnetka/El Camino Real HS and Moorpark College) -- converted in the 4-1 triumph on penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Waleed Cassis made one stop, on Ferid Celosmanovic.
Chico State, which lost to Cal State L.A. in Sunday's CCAA tournament title game, outshot the Eagles, 22-12, but put only four attempts on target. The Wildcats (13-4-4) went ahead on Chris Akwaja's 36th minute header and were up, 2-0, when Octavio Guzman tallied 1:41 before Swope's PK.
In the second game, Dominguez Hills (12-6-2) forced overtime when Jordan Rover (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS) scored with just four seconds to go in regulation, but Christopher Morris' header from Evan Robicheau's 35-yard free kick at the start of the extra period sent Seattle Pacific through.
Jon Pearman scored in the ninth minute, from Morris' pass, to give the Falcons an early lead.
Chris Chamides is torn. Cal State L.A.'s director of soccer has one team in Seattle and another at home in University Heights, and both have NCAA aspirations.
That's a good thing: The Golden Eagles' men won their conference title, the postseason tournament and are one of the teams to watch as the NCAA Division II tournament kicks off Thursday.
The Eagles' women's team, runner-up to mighty UC San Diego in the California Collegiate Athletic Association's South Division, are the No. 2 seed in the West Region and are home to a three-team minigroup to start the NCAA eliminations.
And Chamides can't be both places at once.
“For me, it's a lose-lose,” he said after arriving in the Pacific Northwest for the men's opener Thursday night against CCAA rival Chico State at Seattle Pacific. “If I'm with the guys exclusively [this weekend], I'll miss the women's game [on Saturday]. The only way I make the women's game is for the men to lose.
“For me personally, it's a lose-lose.”
The women (12-4-3) on Saturday are home against the winner of Thursday night's first-round game, on campus, between No. 5 Seattle Pacific (16-2-0) and Grand Canyon (9-5-3). If the men (14-1-5) can beat Chico State (13-4-3) for the second time in five days, after a 2-0 triumph in Sunday's CCAA final, they'll meet Seattle Pacific (13-3-2) or Cal State Dominguez Hills (12-5-2) in a second-round game Saturday.
Here's a rundown of the 11 local schools that have qualified for NCAA soccer tournaments:
- DIVISION I WOMEN
LONG BEACH STATE
Coach: Mauricio Ingrassia
Record: 15-5-1 (Big West runner-up and tournament champion)
Ranking: Receiving votes
Home field: George Allen Field (Long Beach)
Three players to watch: M Shawna Gordon (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS), F Nicole Hubbard (Lakewood/Mayfair HS), F Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS)
NCAA opener: Saturday at Pepperdine, 1:30 p.m.
Quick look: Throw out one tough weekend, while the 49ers were engulfed in the Seal Beach tragedy, and Long Beach might be top 20 with just three losses and a Big West double. Link has 15 goals, 10 assists, and Gordon might be the smoothest center midfielder in Southern California.
Coach: Tim Ward
Record: 15-1-4 (WCC co-champion)
They were paired Monday with Seattle Pacific for the first two rounds of the NCAA Division II men's tournament.
Cal State L.A. also is headed to the women's Division II championships.
Cal State L.A.'s men (14-1-5), who won the South Division title and conquered Chico State (13-4-3) in Sunday's tournament final, gets a rematch in Thursday's first round with the Northern California school. Cal State Dominguez Hills (12-5-2), from Carson, plays No. 23 Seattle Pacific (13-3-2) in the other first-round game in the quartet. The winners meet Saturday.
The Golden Eagles' women (12-4-3) are seeded second in the West and will open at home Sunday against Seattle Pacific (16-2-0) or Grand Canyon (9-5-3), which face off Friday. The other, all-CCAA Western trio has UC San Diego (13-2-4) home against Cal State Stanislaus (11-4-5) or Chico State (11-6-3).
IRVINE -- Long Beach State is returning to the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years after knocking off No. 24 UC Irvine in Sunday afternoon's Big West Conference women's tournament final.Jazz Strozier scored in the 13th minute and the 49ers (15-5-1) backed it up with an organized defense led by goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves and center back Alex Balcer, the tournament MVP.
It was the second straight year Long Beach State has won the title at Anteater Field after UCI captured the regular-season title.
“I thought it was a great day for Long Beach State,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We came in with a game plan. We executed. ... [UC Irvine is] a very good team.
“We had to earn every inch that we got, but I think hats off to my team this year, because last year I told their coach I thought they were was the best team, when we shook hands, and I feel like this year we had the best team in the Big West.”
Strozier (Ventura/Buena HS and Ventura College) knocked home a corner kick from Loyola Marymount transfer Kelsey Wilson (San Clemente/San Clemente HS) that was first headed by Balcer and Shawna Gordon (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS). It ended a 435-minute shutout streak for the Anteaters, who had shut out their previous four and six of the previous seven foes.
Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) nearly added to the lead seven minutes into the second half with a floater that Anteaters goalkeeper Jennifer Randazzo tipped onto the crossbar and away.
UCI (14-4-2), which is expected to receive an at-large berth when the 64-team field is unveiled Monday, nearly pulled even on a 60th-minute free kick by All-American CoCo Goodson, a blistering shot that slipped past the 49ers wall and required a diving save by Gustaves (Long Beach/Wilson HS).
Long Beach shifted from its customary 4-3-3 alignment to a 4-4-2 in the second half, with defender-turned-forward Nicole Hubbard (Lakewood/Mayfair HS) moving into midfield, then dropping deeper, right in front of the back four, in the closing minutes.
The eighth-ranked Waves (15-1-4) claimed their first conference title since 2002 when San Diego routed Santa Clara, 3-0, knocking the seventh-ranked Broncos from the top spot they wrested last weekend from Pepperdine.
San Diego (12-7-0), which was led by three Stephanie Ochs assists, also claimed a share of the crown, but Pepperdine wins the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament after beating the Toreros last month.
Santa Clara (13-2-5) fell to 6-1-1 in WCC play; USD and Pepperdine finished 7-1.
The Waves scored a 4-0 victory over San Francisco in Malibu, with Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS) and Amanda LeCave scoring first-half goals and Karissa Garcia and Michelle Pao tallying after halftime.
In other women's action:
- Sydney Leroux scored her 15th and 16th goals and assisted two by freshman Sam Mewis as fourth-ranked UCLA (15-1-3) romped to a 5-2 win over USC (7-13-0) in front of 3,826 at Drake Stadium. Zakiya Bywaters had three assists for the Bruins, who finished second to Stanford in the Pacific 12 Conference.