Los Angeles Soccer: Heidi Witschi
Azusa Pacific was again stopped one game short of a title shot, falling to Lee in the NAIA women's semifinals for the second straight year.
Lee (22-2-0), from Cleveland, Tenn., aims for its fourth straight championship after Ashley Aragona and Jordan Woody scored goals in a 2-0 triumph over the second-seeded Cougars (16-3-2) in Decatur, Ga.
“We couldn’t finish today, and I knew it would be hard to contain their forwards,” APU coach Jason Surrell, whose team had a 14-12 shot advantage but put just four on target, told his school's athletics website. “I was surprised we didn’t score because of how many chances we had.”
The third-seeded Flames meet Concordia (19-4-1) of Portland, Ore., in the final. Concordia beat APU's Golden State Athletic Conference rival Point Loma Nazarene in the other semifinal.
Aragona scored in the 21st minute, and Woody doubled the advantage in the 74th after Lee goalkeeper Leah Wilson made big second-half saves on Heidi Witschi and Brittany Flanagan.
Lee beat Azusa Pacific, 1-0, in last year's semifinals.
Sun scored twice in the first 20 minutes as the second-seeded Cougars (15-2-2) romped to a 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Mobile, Ala. (19-4-1) in Decatur, Ala., to set up a rematch with three-time defending champion Lee (21-2-0).
“We looked strong from start to finish,” APU coach Jason Surrell told his school's athletics website. “Conditions were better today and had good team defending again. We were solid and helped when we needed to.”
Sun also assisted a Heidi Witschi goal, and Molly Lavin also tallied for APU, which held a 13-0 shot advantage over Mobile's high-powered attack, which came in averaging 2.91 goals per game.
“We had a game plan going in. We knew their forwards were really good in the air, so we just kept that in mind and worked together as a team,” sophomore defender Danielle Ross said. “Our goal every game is to get a shutout and give up as few shots on goal as possible.”
Third-seeded Lee, from Cleveland, Tenn., advanced to the final four with a 2-0 win over Embry-Riddle, Fla. The Flames beat Azusa Pacific, 1-0, in last year's semifinals, but the Cougars won a rematch, 2-1, in Portland, Ore., in late August.
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.
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.
Elise Britt and Sydney Leroux scored on each side of halftime, and UCLA held off Central Florida, 2-1, Saturday night at Drake Stadium to reach the final 16 in the NCAA Division I women's tournament.
The Bruins (13-7-2), who have struggled this season and weren't one of 16 national seeds in the tournament, are two wins from an eighth successive College Cup final four berth.
It's an unlikely prospect; UCLA likely is headed to No. 1 Stanford for next weekend's third-round match. The Cardinal (19-0-2) face Santa Clara (13-6-2) in a second-rounder Sunday.
Britt, a senior, scored her first collegiate goal in the 42nd minute, heading home a Dana Wall corner kick. Leroux, on the cusp of the U.S. women's national team, netted her 13th goal of the year in the 49th, heading in a cross from Lauren Barnes (Upland/Upland HS) after a quick restart near midfield.
Long Beach State's women are headed to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years after upsetting 11th-ranked UC Irvine, 1-0, in Sunday's Big West Conference tournament title game.
Defender Bo Rael (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS), an Oregon transfer, headed home a corner kick by UCLA transfer Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS) eight minutes into the second half to lift the visiting 49ers (14-5-2), who needed outstanding defense -- led by Alex Balcer, who repeatedly made big plays -- and a little bit of luck.
UCI (17-2-2) hit the goal frame three times, with left back Nikki Forrest (Upland/Upland HS) nearly pulling the Anteaters even with a drive off the right post in the 76th minute.
“We knew we had to have a game plan, we knew we had to be flawless, we believe in ourselves, we know we can beat anyone in the country with the right game plan and the right mentality, and the team's really come a long way,” said Mauricio Ingrassia (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS and Cal State Fullerton), who has won three Big West regular-season titles in seven seasons as Long Beach State coach -- after winning five state and two mythical national titles at Long Beach City College.