Los Angeles Soccer: Rosie White

COLLEGE: Gordon lifts L.B. past USC in opener

August, 20, 2011
8/20/11
6:55
PM PT

The college women's season kicked off for real Friday with Long Beach State riding its biggest star to pull out a tight victory over No. 25 USC at McAllister Park.


Two-time first-team All-Big West midfielder Shawna Gordon (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS) beat USC goalkeeper Shelby Church with an 86th-minute header to lift the 49ers to a 2-1 triumph.

Defender Alex Balcer also scored, on a 45-yard free kick off Church's hands, for Long Beach State, which rallied after Haley Boysen (Moorpark/Harvard-Westlake School) gave the Women of Troy a 17th-minute advantage with a looping header off Brittany Kerridge's free kick.

The 49ers are expected to battle UC Irvine, which won its opener (see below), for the Big West Conference title this season, and USC provides a decent barometer, even if the meeting came a little early for Mauricio Ingrassia.

“I think for both teams, first game out, not a lot of rhythm that can be developed,” the eighth-year Long Beach State coach told ESPN Los Angeles. “It would have been nice to play each other maybe five games in, when we've had a little time to settle our lineups.”

Gordon scored after a long throw-in at 6-foot-1 Jazz Strozier (Ventura/Buena HS and Ventura College) flicked into the goalmouth. The ball was knocked about and into the air, and the midfielder -- “Our leader,” Ingrassia called her -- leapt above three others to nod the ball into the net.

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COLLEGE: Snow era starts at UCLA

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
12:04
AM PT
B.J. Snow knows well the expectations that exist for UCLA's women's soccer program. Seven straight trips to the NCAA College Cup final four and eight in 10 years created a standard that must be met. No trophies leaves a void that must be filled.

Snow is aware of all of this, and everything else he ought to to know heading into his debut as the Bruins' head coach. He has spent five years in the program, the past two as Jill Ellis' assistant head coach, and his masters in Westwood are expecting a seamless transition.




So is Snow, who contributed to four of those final-four appearances and has at his command the kind of exceptional talent the Bruins always possess, even if they run a little young this year. They've had almost no time to prepare for Friday night's opener at Cal State Northridge, but they're ready for their first test. And Snow is ready for his.

“I've been able to be head coach at UCLA in a number games when Jill was out of town or couldn't be there,” Snow, who also assisted Ellis on occasion with U.S. youth national teams, said Thursday. “It certainly helps me make the transition smoother. But when the clock hits 6:59 and the game is about to start, I'm sure the emotions will be stirred up, that I'll be excited and nervous. If I wasn't, I guess that would be a bad thing.”

Snow has ample pedigree. He starred for two NCAA championship teams under legendary coach Jerry Yeagley at Indiana University and, after joining UCLA as a voluntary assistant in 2006, rapidly evolved into Ellis' right-hand man. He's a rising star in the coaching game, and his first team -- built, of course, with Ellis, who resigned in January to take a player-development post for U.S. Soccer -- has the tools to return to the College Cup after falling short in a difficult campaign last year.

BOUNCING BACK: The Bruins endured an injury epidemic and posted an uncharacteristic 13-8-2 mark, finishing fourth (at 5-4-0) in the Pac-10, suffering three home losses (the first ending a nation's-best 73-game unbeaten streak, dating to 2005) and exiting in the NCAA's round of 16 (with a 3-0 loss to Stanford).

“Last year was an interesting year,” Snow said. “It probably has zero impact on what we're doing now. We have more new players than returning players, and they had nothing to do with what happened last year.

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