Los Angeles Soccer: NCAA Division II Tournament

COLLEGE: A heavy Southland slate

November, 14, 2011
It's MLS Cup week in Southern California, with the Galaxy taking on the Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening in Carson. It's hardly the only big game in town.

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:
  • MEN
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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

COLLEGE: Link lifts L.B. past Waves

November, 13, 2011

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.

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COLLEGE: One Cal State advances

November, 10, 2011
Cal State L.A. rallied from a two-goal deficit and prevailed on penalties, but Cal State Dominguez's Hills' comeback led to misery in Thursday's NCAA Division II tournament openers in Seattle.

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.

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Cal State L.A. aims for a double

November, 10, 2011

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.

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Two CCAA locals head to Seattle

November, 7, 2011
Cal State L.A., which won two California Collegiate Athletic Association titles this season, is headed to Seattle. Conference rivals Cal State Dominguez Hills and Chico State will join the trek.

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).


November, 11, 2010
UCLA survived its first test in the NCAA Division I women's tournament, but just barely.

The Bruins needed goal-line heroics from defender Lauren Barnes, two saves from goalkeeper Chante' Sandiford and a perfect spot kick from Elise Britt to beat BYU on penalties following a 0-0 draw Thursday at Drake Stadium.

"This is the character that I've been waiting to see in this team," UCLA coach Jill Ellis told the school's website. "I was blown away by the way we competed. It's just constant belief that it can go your way, and that's honestly what it comes down to."

Burgeoning U.S. women's national-teamer Sydney Leroux nearly tallied twice for UCLA, but she hit the post at the end of the first half and was stopped on a 108th-minute breakaway.

UCLA (12-7-2), which is seeking an eighth successive College Cup final four appearance, on Saturday will face Central Florida (15-4-3), a 2-1 winner over Fresno State in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader.

The Bruins could be without star star midfielders Jenna Richmond and Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS). Richmond, a U.S. under-20 national-teamer, was stretchered off in the 17th minute with a knee injury; Wright had to be carted off 11 minutes later with an ankle injury.

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