Los Angeles Soccer: Kylee Nicassio
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.
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:
The Riverside school's men's and women's soccer teams on Thursday advanced to title games at the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Lancers' women (17-2-1) routed Mt. Vernon (Ohio) Nazarene, 6-0, and will face Trinity International (10-9-3), from Deerfield, Ill., in Friday's final. The men (16-5-1) advanced on penalties after a scoreless draw with Cedarville (Iowa) and meet Geneva (16-5-3), from Beaver Falls, Pa., in its championship game.
Kylee Nicassio (Alta Loma/Los Osos HS), Fabiola da Silva and Amanda Lammers (Menifee/Calvary Murrieta HS) scored two goals apiece for the women, who turned a 1-0 halftime lead into a romp with five goals in a 20-minute span early in the second half. Nicassio tied and broke the school career goals record with her 48th and 49th.
The men advanced on penalties, 2-1, after a tight battle with Cedarville.
Cal Baptist won four awards after claiming the Pacific West Conference title in its first season at the NCAA Division II level. Kristen St. Clair was chosen Coach of the Year, Kylee Nicassio (Alta Loma/Los Osos HS) was Newcomer of the Year, Kimberly Allard (Riverside/La Sierra HS) was Freshman of the Year and Nicoline Jorgensen was Goalkeeper of the Year.
Here are the last three local women's all-conference teams:
As the college soccer season hits its stretch drive, let's take a look at some of the most dominant players in Southern California this year, no matter the division.
Here are 10 who enjoyed marvelous campaigns:
- LUIS GONZALEZ
Who is he? Senior striker from Long Beach (Millikan HS), the national JC Player of the Year at Cerritos College and soon-to-be two-time All-American in two seasons with the Broncos.
What has he done? Scored 14 goals this year and 26 in two seasons at Cal Poly Pomona, winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association's Most Valuable Offensive Player award this fall.
Coachspeak: “I equate Luis Gonzalez to Magic Johnson,” Broncos coach Lance Thompson said, “and I do that because a heard a story about Magic where he was playing for his youth basketball team and they were winning and he was jumping for joy and excited and couldn't figure out why his teammates were so depressed. Well, if the team scored 70 points, he scored 68, and he learned a valuable lesson of giving and getting others involved so they could contribute, and he became one of the best assist guys ever. That's Luis. Luis takes more pride and has more joy in getting teammates involved than he does in scoring. And the more he gave, the more he received. That's what sets him apart over any other student-athlete I've coached.”
- COCO GOODSON
Who is she? Senior center back from Ramona (San Diego County), a University of Texas transfer expected to repeat as a Division I All-American.
What has she done? Set the standard at the back to lead the Anteaters to back-to-back Big West Conference titles, an NCAA sweet 16 appearance last year, and a return to the NCAA tournament this fall.
Coachspeak: “Coco's unique,” Anteaters coach Scott Juniper said. “She is the strongest player that I've seen in women's soccer. She strikes a ball better than many of the male players I've worked with, and she is just a relentless competitor. She's totally unique, and there isn't another player out there like her.”
Cesar Diaz Pizarro struck with 2½ minutes to play Friday night, and UC Riverside completed a comeback for a 3-2 men's soccer triumph at UC Irvine, its third victory this season over a nationally ranked opponent.
The triumph leaves the Highlanders (9-5-2), who have twice beaten UC Santa Barbara this season, in position to qualify for the Big West Conference tournament and took command of the league's title race from ninth-ranked Irvine (13-5-1) and gave it to second-place UC Davis.
UCR twice rallied from deficits, with Jose Diaz (Corona/Santiago HS) answering Cameron Iwasa's early goal and Humberto Santiago scoring in the 79th minute to pull the Highlanders even after Christian Hernandez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) provided a 2-1 edge to the Anteaters in the 68th.
Pizarro (Chino/Ayala HS) scored his team-best ninth goal -- and school-record eighth career winning goal -- in the 88th minute.
UCI remains atop the standings with 16 points from a 5-3-1 conference record, but UC Davis (5-3), one point behind, has two games remaining, one more than the Anteaters. UCR (4-3-2) and UC Santa Barbara (4-4) also are in the race.
In other men's action:
- Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) scored twice and assisted two more goals as UC Santa Barbara (11-5-1) held on for a 4-3 victory at Cal State Fullerton (7-6-4) to climb into fourth place, putting the Gauchos into position to qualify for the Big West tournament. UCSB finishes its regular season with games against Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly, its closest pursuers.
- Cal State Northridge (7-7-3) settled for its second successive scoreless draw, against visiting Cal Poly, and sits fifth, one spot outside a Big West tournament berth, with two games to go.
- Paul Islas tallied twice and Fresno Pacific held on for a 4-3 victory over Concordia (12-3-1), No. 8 in the NAIA rankings, in a showdown for the Golden State Athletic Conference title. Edgar Orozco (Santa Ana/Santa Ana HS, Corona HS and Golden West College) scored twice and added an assist for the Eagles.
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.
All-American Ethan Finlay scored a hat trick, and fourth-ranked Creighton overwhelmed No. 7 UC Irvine in a non-conference men's soccer showdown Saturday night in Omaha, Neb.
Finlay provided a fifth-minute lead, then added goals in the 62nd and 88th minutes, each time extending the Bluejays' lead to two goals. Jimmy Turner (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) headed home a Christopher Santana cross in the 63rd for the Anteaters (12-3-0).
“That's a very, very good opponent. They will do well this year,” Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich, whose team notched its second win over a top-10 foe in its past three games, told his school's athletics website. “That's a great win for us. I thought the first half was probably the best half I have seen us play this season."
Creighton (11-2-0) hadn't conceded a goal in its first five home games.
UCIrvine leads the Big West Conference with a 4-1 mark, one game ahead of Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and UC Davis.
In other men's action:
- Matt Sheldon tallied three minutes into overtime, his second goal of the game, to give UC Davis a 2-1 Big West victory at Cal State Northridge (6-6-1). Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex) scored in the 79th minute for the Matadors.
- Ben Sperber (Palm Desert/Desert Christian HS) slotted home a loose ball in the 83rd minute as UC Riverside (6-5-2) rallied for a 1-1 Big West draw at Cal State Fullerton (6-5-2). Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS) tallied for the Titans.
UC Irvine netted two second-half goals to win its men's soccer showdown Saturday night at UC Santa Barbara, sending the Gauchos -- a perennial national power -- to their second loss in the young Big West Conference season.Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) broke a scoreless draw in the 67th minute and Lester Hayes III added a second in the 80th for the seventh-ranked Anteaters (9-2-0), who bounced back from a 1-0 loss to Cal Poly in the conference opener Wednesday.
UC Santa Barbara (6-3-1), which was upset by UC Riverside in its Big West opener, nearly scored twice in front of 5,417 fans at Harder Stadium, but Irvine goalkeeper Andrew Fontein tipped a Sam Garza blast over his crossbar in the first half, and David Opoku shot just wide in a 1-on-1 opportunity in the second half.
The loss ended UCSB's 16-game home unbeaten streak.
In other men's action:
- Carlos Benavides (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS) assisted goals by Yarden Azulay, Christian Gonzalez Diaz (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) and Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex), and Cal State Northridge (5-4-1) vaulted atop the Big West standings with its second 3-0 triumph, an upset of visiting Cal State Fullerton (6-2-2). The Matadors had a 28-14 edge in shots, and Fullerton lost star midfielder Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS) to an 82nd-minute red card.
- Matt Weisenfarth's goal just 52 seconds into the game was enough for UC Davis in a Big West Conference victory over visiting UC Riverside (6-3-1).
- Danny Day, Gabe Ramirez (Pasadena/Crescenta Valley HS) and Charles Izydorek (Redlands/Arrowhead Christian HS) scored goals and Redlands (8-3-0) improved to 5-0-0 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 3-0 victory over defending champ Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-3-1). The Stags outshot Redlands, 27-14, and had a 10-3 advantage on corner kicks.
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:
The Master's College improved to 5-0-0 and won its men's tournament title Saturday, edging Oakland's Holy Names in a showdown for the trophy.
Marcelo Silva converted an 84th-minute penalty kick to lift the Santa Clarita-based Mustangs, who went ahead when Fabrice Gautrat (Valencia/Hart HS) headed in a cross from Jorge Serrano (Sylmar/Sylmar HS and College of the Canyons) in the seventh minute. Henry Goh pulled Holy Names even in the 78th.
Biola (4-1-0), ranked 14th in NAIA, also won, bouncing back from its loss to Holy Names with a 3-1 win over Westminster (Utah). Carlos Ballesteros (Sun City/Paloma Valley HS), Joao Toscan and Daniel Chew (Lake Forest/El Toro HS) scored goals.
In other men's action:
- Matthew Howard (Temecula/Great Oak HS) scored and set up Jesus Ramos (Norco/Norco HS) as Fullerton's Hope International rallied to beat Whittier, 3-2.
- James Ross' goal seven minutes into overtime lifted Riverside's La Sierra past Occidental, 2-1.
- Anaheim's unaffiliated Bethesda Christian (5-0-0) won Soka University's Peace Cup in Aliso Viejo, toppling Rancho Palos Verdes' Marymount, 2-1, in the title game.
WOMEN: Defending champs top Cal Lu
Cal Lutheran was beaten for the first time this season, falling to defending NCAA Division III champion Hardin-Simmons in a tight clash in Abilene, Texas.
Austin Ricker and Courtney Cramer scored on each side of halftime to lead the 14th-ranked Cowgirls (2-1-0) to a 2-0 victory. No. 12 Cal Lutheran (3-1-0) was coming off a 10-0 rout of Texas Lutheran.
In other women's action:
- Kylee Nicassio (Alta Loma/Los Osos HS) tallied twice as Cal Baptist (3-1-0) crushed College of Idaho, 4-0.
- Traci Lopez's first-half goals gave Pomona-Pitzer (2-0-0) a 2-0 win over visiting Biola, the NCAA Division III Sagehens' second shutout over NAIA opposition.
- Kiri Christiansen scored both goals in Marymount's 2-0 win at Soka.
Freshman Bernadette Witz (Temecula/Temecula Valley HS) scored one goal and set up another just 42 seconds later, and the 11th-seeded Lancers (15-5-2) advanced to the NAIA quarterfinals Tuesday night with a 3-0 triumph over sixth-seeded TMC in Decatur, Ala.
Riverside-based CBU, making its second successive final-eight appearances, on Wednesday will play another GSAC rival: No. 3 seed Azusa Pacific (18-1-2)
Witz scored in the 53rd minute from a pass by Kylee Nicassio (Alta Loma/Los Osos HS), then set up Tami Hays in the 54th. Megan Merrett (Riverside/Arlington HS) made it 3-0 in the 72nd.
The Mustangs (17-3-2), from Santa Clarita, routed Cal Baptist, 5-1, in early October, and the teams played to a 1-1 draw draw in the GSAC tournament semifinals. The Lancers won on penalties and were beaten, 3-0, by APU in the final.
UC Irvine's finest season in women's soccer came to a half Saturday night with an overtime loss to Washington in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals.
The Anteaters (19-3-2), the second Big West Conference team ever to reach the Sweet 16, struggled to create in a 1-0 defeat on their home field.
Freshman Allie Beahan scored the goal in the 103rd minute, beating UCI goalkeeper Daniele de Seriere from a Sarah Martinez feed. De Seriere (Cerritos/Mayfair HS) made nine saves.
The Anteaters were limited to seven shots, just two on frame, by a Washington defense that shut down high-powered Portland in the second round.