No. 18 UC Irvine Travels To Long Beach State For Big West Showdown
Files associated with this release:
Women's Soccer Weekly Release No. 10
UC Irvine takes its 10-match winning streak into hostile territory on Thursday against similarly hot Long Beach State, which is unbeaten in its last seven games. Kickoff is slated for 3:00 p.m. at George Allen Field.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Kristina Wavomba, Pacific
Held without a goal in her first 12 contests, Pacific forward Kristina Wavomba has awoken from an offensive slumber. The junior has scored a goal in each of the last three matches to spark a dormant Tiger attack. After scoring just six goals in their first 12 games, the Tigers have netted six in their last three. Wavomba has half of those six scores. She was instrumental in Pacific’s key road sweep of Central Coast opponents Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara last weekend, scoring the game’s only goal in the 77th minute against the Mustangs on Friday. She tied the game at 1-1 with a goal in the 81st minute, then assisted on the game-winner with 10 seconds remaining in overtime as the Tigers eked out a 2-1 triumph against UCSB on Sunday. Wavomba, the 2008 Big West Freshman of the Year, now has 15 career goals to rank ninth in Pacific history.
Cue The Rocky Theme Music
The Big West title picture looks to become clearer after this week’s upcoming battles. Two marquee matches feature host Long Beach State against Big West leader UC Irvine and second place Cal State Northridge. The 49ers currently sit in third place with 10 points and 3-0-1 record. The Anteaters are unbeaten in conference play (5-0-0, 15 points) while the Matadors (4-2-0, 12 points) have only two league matches remaining.
In just his fourth season at the helm, head coach Scott Juniper has turned the UC Irvine program into a Big West contender. He inherited a club that posted a 3-13-0 overall record and did not score a single goal in league action in 2006. Juniper steered the Anteaters back to respectability in 2007 with an 11-7-2 showing. After an eight-win campaign in 2008, UCI went 12-7-2 in 2009.
UCI is 13-1-2 overall this season and sports national rankings of No. 18 by NSCAA/HendrickCars.com, No. 19 by Soccer America and No. 21 by Soccer Times. The Anteaters have won 10 straight games and are unbeaten in their last 13. In five league victories, they have outscored their opponents 13-1. UCI has exhibited a flair for the dramatic as three of those Big West wins (Pacific, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge) have come in double overtime. UCI’s 13 wins is the most since the 1998 team went 14-3-3, while the school record for victories is 15 in 1997.
Long Beach State is no stranger to reaching the pinnacle of the Big West. Regular season co-champions in 2006 and 2007, and an outright titlist in 2008, the 49ers experienced rebuilding mode last season with a young squad. The 2010 edition has shown marked improvement. LBSU has three wins against ranked teams (No. 21 Washington State, No. 16 Virginia Tech, No. 19 Arizona State) and held down its own national ranking - No. 24 in Soccer America on August 30.
In Big West action, the 49ers have scored 11 goals in three wins against UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. At 10-3-2 overall, LBSU has reached double-digit wins in five of the last six seasons under the watch of head coach Mauricio Ingrassia. A win over UCI wouldn’t guarantee the 49ers their fourth Big West title in five seasons, but it would be a step. Meanwhile, UCI is searching for its first Big West regular season crown.
Lightning Denies Crozier’s Milestone
Cal Poly’s Alex Crozier coached in his 300th career game as a head coach in the Big West in Sunday’s home game against Seattle. Well, he almost did. Lightning strikes in the San Luis Obispo area prevented the two teams from completing the match. After a 12th minute delay postponed the match for 34 minutes, another wave of lightning strikes occurred at halftime with the Seahawks leading 1-0. This time the delay would have interfered with Seattle’s travel plans, so the game was cancelled. Crozier will now coach in his 300th game on Friday at Cal State Fullerton. Weather permitting, of course.
Townley Sets Matador Goals Record
Cal State Northridge senior Farryn Townley netted the game-winning goal in the 32nd minute of Sunday’s 1-0 triumph against UC Riverside. In the process, the forward became the school’s career record holder for goals with 20. She eclipsed the former mark of 19 held by Erin Broadwell (1998-2001). In addition to being the team-leading fifth goal of the season, Townley’s strike was her 10th career game-winner. The 10 game-winning goals ties Townley for ninth all-time in Big West history.
Keeping with the theme of game-winning goals, the all-time Big West record of 19 by UC Santa Barbara’s Jennifer Borcich (2001-04) could be threatened if a certain UC Irvine midfielder continues her torrid pace. Anteater sophomore Mar Rodriguez collected her fourth game-winning goal this season and eighth of her career in Friday’s 1-0 double overtime thriller against Cal State Northridge. Eight of Rodriguez’s 11 career goals have resulted in a UCI win.
Tigers On The Prowl
All of the attention bestowed upon UC Irvine and Long Beach State has perhaps allowed Pacific to sneak up on the rest of the league. The Tigers have been a strong defensive team all season long, allowing a goal or less in 12 of their 15 games. But they struggled to find an offensive rhythm, scoring just six goals in their first 12 outings. After back-to-back 1-0 losses to UCI and Cal State Northridge to open Big West play, Pacific pounced on the next three opponents and outscored them 6-1 - all victories. The Tigers finish up Big West action with three straight home games and are close to locking up a conference tournament spot.
Freshmen Flourish For Ags
Perhaps the biggest victory in the short four-year tenure of UC Davis’ Big West membership occurred in Friday’s 2-1 outcome at UC Santa Barbara. The Aggies knocked off the Big West preseason favorite to win the league and snapped a four-match losing streak in the process. A pair of freshmen accounted for the two Aggie scores as Bridget Berman and Ashley Edwards scored just over three minutes apart in the first half.
The 2009 Big West Offensive Player of the Year - UC Santa Barbara forward Kailyn Kugler - had a rough start to the 2010 season with no goals through her first six games. She has turned it around though with goals in four of her last five and six of her last eight contests.
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