Los Angeles Soccer: Ryan Lee
UC Irvine had final-four aims a year ago, when head coach George Kuntz's talented, senior-heavy team climbed into the top 10 before an upset loss to Cal State Fullerton in the conference tournament and a poor RPI kept it out of the NCAA tournament, one of the most stunning omissions we've seen in the men's soccer brackets.
Expectations this fall aren't so towering. The Anteaters were picked fourth in the Big West Conference's preseason coaches poll, behind UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and Fullerton.
Might want to rethink that.
Irvine is off to a 6-0-0 start for the first time in school history after rallying twice from first-half deficits, then pulling away to a 4-2 non-conference victory Sunday at Midwest power Illinois-Chicago.
Enrique Cardenas (Coachella/Coachella Valley HS) scored in the 58th minute and Christopher Santana in the 77th to lift the Anteaters, who are No. 9 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America men's Division I rankings.
UIC (2-1-2) went ahead twice, on goals off corner kicks by Zach Kaleta in the fourth minute and Craig Krzyskowski in the 22nd, but UCI answered immediately both times, through Christian Hernandez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) in the 13th and Jonathan Rivas (Norwalk/Santa Fe HS and Cerritos College) in the 24th.
In other men's action:
- Ryan Lee and Chandler Hoffman scored first-half goals to lead UCLA (2-2-1) past 10-man Loyola Marymount (2-3-0). The Bruins dominated the game, outfiring LMU, 13-4; the Lions were handicapped when Logan McDaniel (Palmdale/Quartz Hills HS) was red-carded in the 14th minute, just 23 seconds after Lee tallied.
- Jesse Escalante (Placentia/Valencia HS) and Nick Posthuma (Pasadena/St. Francis HS) scored to lead Cal State Fullerton (4-0-1) past San Francisco, 2-0, to win UNLV's event, the Titans' second tournament championship in as many weekends.
- Cal State Northridge (2-3-0), just seven minutes from victory, surrendered three goals in 97 seconds and lost, 3-1, to New Mexico in the decisive encounter of the Lobos' tournament. Gustavo Villalobos (Van Nuys/Birmingham HS) tallied for the Matadors in the 35th minute.
UCLA doesn't look much like the title contender it might be destined to become -- not yet. The Bruins, ranked as high as fourth nationally, lost again Sunday, leaving them winless in three games.
Alex Henry's goal nearly 10 minutes into overtime carried UC Davis to a 2-1 home triumph, the Aggies' first victory over UCLA in program history.
“Our team executed our tactics perfectly today, and I knew that eventually we were going to get one on them,” UC Davis coach Dwayne Shaffer told his school's athletics website. “It's a huge win for our program, and it means a lot not only to our players, but to our entire athletics department.”
Chandler Hoffman scored from Kelyn Rowe's through ball in the 87th minute to give life to the Bruins, who were down to 10 men after Ryan Lee's red card four minutes earlier.
Goalkeeper Omar Zeenni (Arcadia/Crespi Carmelite HS) made eight saves for UC Davis (1-1-1).
UCLA (0-2-1) lost its opener at No. 1 Louisville and tied Santa Clara on Friday. The first home game is Friday night at Drake Stadium against St. Mary's.
In other men's action:
- Christian Hernandez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) scored his third and fourth goals as No. 14 UC Irvine (4-0-0) topped visiting Drake, 2-1.
- David Opoku's 16th-minute goal gave No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (3-0-0) a Carolina sweep with a 1-0 victory at North Carolina State.
- Jake Dobkins and Omar Mata scored goals seven minutes apart to give Tulsa a 2-1 win over No. 25 Loyola Marymount (1-2-0).
- Nick Echeverry (Anaheim/Servite HS) scored just 19 seconds after kickoff, enough for Chapman (2-0-0) in a 1-0 win over Puget Sound.
- Cal Lutheran got its season off to a dream start -- Raul Yepez (Oxnard/Pacifica HS) scores twice in the first 29 minutes -- but Fontbonne, from St. Louis, rallied for a 3-2 victory.
- Matt Sykes' penalty kick in overtime carried Grand Canyon to a 2-1 win over Cal Poly Pomona (1-1-0).
THREE IN A ROW FOR USC: Courtney Garcia (Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS), just moments after coming off the bench, knocked home an overtime rebound, and USC (3-3-0) rallied for its third successive win, a 2-1 decision at Purdue.
Elizabeth Eddy (Newport Beach/Newport Harbor HS) scored an equalizer in the 63rd minute for USC, which beat No. 17 Illinois in Friday's opener at the Illini/Boilermaker Cup.