Los Angeles Soccer: Cody Shelton
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:
Big West Conference rivals Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside pulled off stunning upsets Saturday night, winning on the road against Southern California's most storied programs.
The Matadors rallied for a 3-2 nonconference triumph at eighth-ranked UCLA, and Riverside beat No. 16 UC Santa Barbara -- also by a 3-2 scoreline -- for the second time this season.
Northridge (7-7-1) halted the Bruins' second five-game winning streak of the campaign. Riverside (8-5-2) handed the Gauchos their second successive Big West loss, leaving the national power in danger of missing the conference and NCAA tournaments.
In Westwood, Jose Luis Garcia (Sun Valley/Poly HS) set up goals by Brian Behrad (Woodland Hills/Taft HS) in the 83rd minute and Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex) in the 87th as Northridge rallied from a late deficit.
Freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) gave the Matadors a 34th-minute lead, but Chandler Hoffman netted his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the next 10 minutes to push UCLA (10-4-1) ahead.
In Santa Barbara, Cesar Diaz Pizzarro (Chino/Ayala HS) scored in the 72nd minute to lift Riverside (8-5-2), which climbed to third place in the Big West.
UC Santa Barbara (9-5-1) rallied twice from deficits, with Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) scoring his 10th goal of the year and setting up Sam Garza for another, but couldn't hold off the Highlanders.
Richie Osborne provided the first lead, about midway through the first half, and Jon-Paul Medina made it 2-1 in the 63rd.
In other men's action:
- Freshman Cameron Iwasa tallied three minutes into overtime to send Big West co-leader UC Irvine (13-4-0) to a 1-0 victory over Orange County rival Cal State Fullerton (7-5-3). Jimmy Turner (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) played his 76th career game for the seventh-ranked Anteaters, fifth-most in program history.
Kevin Schulte's second goal of the night sunk No. 7 UC Irvine, lifting UC Davis to a 2-1 overtime triumph and into a share of the Big West Conference lead in men's soccer.
Schulte (Riverside/M.L. King HS) tallied from a give-and-go with John Joslin (Santa Ana/Foothill HS) 8½ minutes into the extra period as the Aggies (6-6-2) pulled off the upset Wednesday night at Anteater Stadium.
Lester Hayes III gave UCI (12-4-0) a 28th-minute lead, but Schulte pulled UC Davis even in the 60th.
The Anteaters, at 4-2, dropped into a tie with UC Davis, three points ahead of Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge, which also were beaten Wednesday.
In other men's action:
- Hayden Leslie (Apple Valley/Apple Valley Christian) scored in the 88th minute and Ivan Garcia (Corona/Santiago HS) with just 19 seconds remaining in regulation to lead UC Riverside (7-5-2) to a 2-1 triumph over Cal State Northridge (6-7-1). The Highlanders ended a four-game winless skid by keeping CSUN from a share of the Big West lead.
- Jameson Campbell (Diamond Bar/Diamond Bar HS) tallied in the seventh minute, and Cal State Fullerton (7-4-3) ended a five-game winless streak, claiming its first Big West win with a 1-0 triumph over Cal Poly. The Mustangs, at 3-3, are three points off the Big West lead.
- Osvaldo Bastida (Anaheim/Katella HS) scored a hat trick, Michael Salazar (Moreno Valley/Canyon Springs HS) added two goals and both contributed an assist as Cal Baptist (10-4-0) romped to a 6-0 Pacific West Conference victory at BYU Hawaii.