Los Angeles Soccer: Kylie McCarthy
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.
All-American Sydney Leroux scored a hat trick in 11 minutes Friday night, and seventh-ranked UCLA romped to a 6-1 victory over visiting Arizona in a Pacific 12 Conference women's soccer game.
Leroux, a burgeoning U.S. national-teamer, tallied in the 10th, 12th and 21st minutes for the Bruins (11-1-2), who scored four first-half goals as they halted a three-game winless streak and improved to 4-1-2 in conference play.
The goals were Leroux's eighth, ninth and 10th of the season and give her 51 career goals. The hat trick was the third of her college career.
Zakiya Bywaters, Ally Courtnall (Westlake Village/Oaks Christian HS) and Kylie McCarthy also tallied for UCLA, which outshot the Wildcats, 24-2. Sam Mewis contributed three assists.
In other women´s action:
- Claire Schloemer (Newport Beach/Mater Dei HS) struck four minutes into overtime, and USC (5-11-0) claimed its first home victory of the season -- following seven defeats -- with a wild 2-1 triumph over Arizona State. Ashli Sandoval (Jamul/Granite Hills HS) broke a scoreless draw in the 83rd and set up Schloemer's winner after Devin Marshall's header with 38 seconds to go in regulation tied the score. It
- Ally Holtz took advantage of poor back pass to Gonzaga's goalkeeper, nodding the ball into the lower-left corner in the 77th minute to lift No. 4 Pepperdine (12-0-4) to a 1-0 West Coast Conference victory.
- Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS and UCLA) scored on a 75th-minute header, and Long Beach State (11-5-1) ended a two-game skid with a 1-0 Big West victory over UC Riverside (7-8-0).
Englishman Andy Rose scored in the first minute of overtime, and UCLA escaped its Pacific 12 Conference men's soccer opener with a 1-0 victory Friday night over visiting California.
Rose, a senior midfielder, scored from Shawn Singh's feed 59 seconds into the extra period, the third pass from a corner kick that Kelyn Rowe played short to Spaniard Victor Munoz.
The 25th-ranked Bruins (6-3-1) were the aggressor and held a 17-6 shot advantage on Cal (3-3-2) in a matchup of the Pac-12's perennial powers. UCLA plays Stanford on Sunday.
In other men's action:
- Taylor Rivas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS and UC Santa Barbara) nodded home an 89th-minute throw-in from Osvaldo Lopez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) to give Cal State L.A. (5-1-3), ranked 15th in D2, a 1-1 California Collegiate Athletic Conference draw at Cal Poly Pomona (6-2-1).
UCLA rallied from a second-half deficit, getting three goals from freshmen in just more than 12 minutes to overcome Loyola Marymount, 3-1, in a nonconference women's soccer showdown on the Lions' Sullivan Field.Samantha Mewis scored two goals and Kylie McCarthy also tallied for the fourth-ranked Bruins (7-0-1), who won their fourth in a row to close out their nonconference schedule.
LMU (6-2-1) withstood heavy pressure in the first half and asserted its attack after halftime, and Tawni Martino (Irvine/Beckman HS) provided a 59th-minute lead.
It lasted all of eight minutes. Mewis, a 5-foot-11 midfielder from Massachusetts who has starred for the U.S. under-17 and under-20 teams, headed home a corner kick by Chelsea Cline in the 67th minute, and McCarthy netted the go-ahead goal in the 76th. Mewis struck again three minutes later.
In other women´s action:
- Cal Baptist won its inaugural Pacific West Conference clash, routing visiting Academy of Art, 5-0, as Amanda Lammers (Menifee/Calvary Murrieta HS) scored twice and assisted another goal. The Lancers (5-1-0), who had a 35-3 shot advantage, has won four in a row, the last three by shutout. The Riverside school, in its second year of transition from NAIA, is not eligible for the NCAA Division II tournament.
- Lauren Skachenko (Chino Hills/Ayala HS and Cal Poly Pomona) scored two goals as Costa Mesa's Vanguard improved to 6-0-0 with a 3-0 romp over previously unbeaten Bellevue (Neb.) at Menlo's tournament. The Master's, from Santa Clarita, also won in Atherton, edging Holy Names, 3-2.
- Kristen Enriquez (Alta Loma/St. Lucy's Priory HS) scored twice and assisted five goals and Megan Gonzalez (Upland/Upland HS) netted a hat trick and added an assist as Fullerton's Hope International (3-3-0) destroyed future Golden State Athletic Conference foe Arizona Christian, 13-0.
Mark Johnson couldn't have been happier with the way his Salesian High School boys' soccer team performed in the first half of their Southern California Regional Championship title-game clash Saturday.
He even used the “B” word. As in “Barcelona.”
“That's what we talk about,” Johnson said after the Mustangs captured their third Division III regional title in four seasons with 4-1 romp over San Diego's Francis Parker at Warren High School in Downey. “When we got to the half, we said, 'You know, we played like Barcelona that half. Let's keep it up.”
Salesian (19-3-4) did keep it up, dominating their bigger foes with a possession game that led to dozens of chances.
Salesian, which has played in all four Division III finals and is the only school with more than one regional championship, went ahead on an eighth-minute own goal (with Parker's Patrick Barba superbly heading Jose Avila's free kick into his net), built a 3-0 advantage on strikes by David Manrique in the 27th and Giovanni Reynaga in the 43rd, then capped the triumph with Ricardo Cardenas' 60th-minute finale.
“We knew if we kept the ball on the ground and played our style of soccer, that we could take over the game, and I think from start to finish we really did that ...,” said Johnson, who guided Salesian to the Southern Section Division 4 semifinals this season after winning three of the previous four Division 5 championships. “We lost a lot from last year's [regional winner], and I think at the beginning of the season we didn't expect to be back here, but we kept getting better and better as the year wore on.
“Today I thought we played some of our best soccer of the season.”