Long Beach State Primed For Two Tough Tests
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Women's Soccer Weekly Release No. 4
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This Week in the Big West - September 5-11, 2011
Long Beach State attempts to win its sixth consecutive home match when California descends upon George Allen Field on Friday, then the 49ers face San Diego State, a team receiving votes in the polls, for a Sunday road matchup.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Angelica Figueroa, Pacific
The senior recorded her first assist of the season in Pacific’s 3-0 victory against non-conference rival Sacramento State on Friday. It was also Figueroa’s 17th career helper, moving her within two of the Big West top 10. Figueroa needs only four more assists to slip into the top five on that list. Figueroa’s contribution helped the Tigers extend their unbeaten streak against the Hornets to 14 straight matches.
Coaches Tab UC Irvine As Favorite To Win 2011 Title
The nine head coaches selected UC Irvine to win the 2011 Big West women’s soccer title in their annual preseason poll. The Anteaters collected seven of the nine first-place votes with Pacific and Cal Poly receiving one first-place vote apiece. UC Irvine garnered 78 total points followed by Long Beach State with 70. The coaches predicted a logjam in the middle of the pack as only eight points separated third through sixth place. Cal State Northridge was picked to finish third with 52 points, while Pacific was fourth with 51 points. UC Santa Barbara finished with 48 points for fifth place and Cal Poly was sixth with 44 points. Cal State Fullerton (34 points), UC Davis (18) and UC Riverside (10) rounded out the poll, respectively. UC Irvine returns seven starters from the 2010 squad that finished 19-3-2 overall and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Returning All-League Talent Dots Big West Rosters
A total of seven players who earned All-Big West First Team acclaim in 2010 are slated to return to the pitch for at least another season. UC Irvine leads all Big West teams with three returning first-teamers while Long Beach State welcomes back two. In addition to the aforementioned Goodson, senior Judy Christopher and junior Mar Rodriguez return for the blue and gold. Christopher captured her second straight All-Big West First Team citation in 2010. Rodriguez posted six goals and three assists for the high-octane UCI offense to garner her initial first team nod. The 49ers welcome back junior Nadia Link (8g, 1a, 17 pts), who tied for third in the Big West in goals, and senior Shawna Gordon (4g, 7a, 15 pts), a two-time first team all-league choice who tied for second in assists. A pair of first team all-league defenders are also reappearing in seniors Brielle Slepicoff of Cal State Northridge and Aisha Lott of UC Davis.
UC Irvine Aims For First 6-0 Start
UC Irvine defeated Hawai’i in its home opener on Friday to open a season 5-0 for the first time since 1998. No Anteater squad has won six straight games to start a season, but that could change this weekend at the Stanford Nike Classic. The quest for win No. 6 involves a formidable test in No. 15 Santa Clara. The Anteaters have never beaten the Broncos in 10 all-time meetings. However, the two teams have not played since the 1993 season. UCI’s final opponent at the tournament is host and No. 2-ranked Stanford.
The 5-0 start has vaulted UCI to as high as No. 11 nationally. The Anteaters are ranked No. 11 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire and Soccer Times polls, and No. 13 by Soccer America this week. The Anteaters defeated then-No. 11 Texas A&M on Aug. 21.
Winning The Close Ones
Four of the five UCI wins have been by a one goal margin. The Anteaters excelled in close games in 2010 as well, posting an 11-3 record in one-goal affairs.
Back On Track
After enduring a couple of close losses on a trip to the midwest against Milwaukee and Marquette, Long Beach State returned home last weekend to George Allen Field and walloped both Princeton and future Big West member Hawai’i. The 3-1 and 3-0 wins represented the fifth time in six games the 49ers have scored multiple goals this season. In 2010, LBSU notched two or more goals 11 times in 22 games.
Link Receives National Honor
On top of her honor as the Big West Offensive Player of the Week, Long Beach State junior Nadia Link was recognized as one of 11 players on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week. Link bombarded the opposition with a nine-point week on four goals and an assist, lifting her season totals to a league-leading six goals and 15 points. Her point total is six higher than UC Irvine’s Natalia Ledezma, who ranks second in the Big West with nine points.
Aggies Enjoy Scoring Outburst
UC Davis won its second straight game in handily defeating San Jose State 5-2 on Sunday. Five different Aggies pelted the back of the net to give UCD its highest scoring output since scoring six goals against Eastern Washington in 2009. With eight goals in just four games, UC Davis is on pace to obliterate last year’s total of 21 goals in 18 contests.
UC Riverside picked up a 2-0 win against Southern Utah on Sunday to improve to 3-2-1 on the season. In addition to finishing a four-match homestand with a 3-1 record, the Highlanders have now scored eight goals so far this season after accumulating just three in all of 2010.
War Against The West
The Big West looks to gain an edge on some of its brethren from neighboring westernly conferences. The Big West faces two nationally ranked opponents with another receiving votes – and all reside in the west. In addition to UCI’s foray up north against No. 15 Santa Clara and No. 2 Stanford, Long Beach State prepares for a road test against San Diego State, which was ranked in the top 25 in late August but is now receiving votes in the Soccer Times poll.
The Anderson-Ortega Connection
It seems as if Dyanne Anderson and Erin Ortega decided to rectify the doldrums that the UC Santa Barbara offense had been experiencing – by themselves. The junior duo accounted for all three goals in a 3-2 win over Fresno State on Friday. Ortega assisted on both of Anderson’s goals while scoring an unassisted goal herself to give UCSB a 2-0 lead. The importance of the offensive production was underscored by a stat of concern, that being UCSB had only scored a combined three goals in its first four games.
Overtime Unkind To Titans
Extra time results have been egregious to Cal State Fullerton in recent history. The Titans played their third overtime game of the season (and second double OT thriller) but fell to 0-2-1 in those contests after a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Utah State on Sunday. CSF has either lost or settled for a tie in 11 straight overtime games dating back to 2008. The last overtime win for the program was against No. 15 California, 3-2, on Aug. 29, 2008. Since then, the Titans are 0-4-7 in overtime games.
After scoring just one goal in its first four games, Cal State Northridge turned to senior Heidi Farran for a pair of goals, giving the Matadors their first win, 3-1 over Princeton. All nine Big West schools now have at least one win.