UC Irvine Battles Cal State Northridge With Title Implications On Line
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Women's Soccer Weekly Release No. 10
The featured women's soccer match this week pits UC Irvine against Cal State Northridge in a battle of top two teams in the league standings.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Jennifer Randazzo, UC Irvine
The freshman goalkeeper is having a solid season for the nationally ranked Anteaters. She ranks third in the Big West in goals against average (1.02) and saves per game (4.1), as well as second in save percentage (.793) and saves (65). Randazzo picked up her third shutout in the last four games after UC Irvine blanked Long Beach State, 2-0, in a conference showdown on Sunday. Randazzo has played every minute of every game this season, placing 30th nationally in total minutes with 1,495.
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.
Anteaters, Matadors Meet In Sunday Showdown
UC Irvine’s bid for a second consecutive Big West regular season title largely comes down to a Sunday contest at Cal State Northridge. The Anteaters currently lead the Big West standings with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points. The Matadors are tied with UC Davis for second place with identical 3-1-1 marks and 10 points. Having played one less league game than UCI, the Matadors can deal the Anteaters a serious blow to their title chances with a win on their home pitch. Both squads are peaking at the right time. UCI has won four straight games, allowing just one goal during that stretch. CSUN has won three of its last four contests, including a 1-0 shutout last week of No. 22 Long Beach State, the Big West’s top offensive club.
UC Davis Making Title Push
Picked to finish eighth in the Big West preseason poll by the coaches, UC Davis has claimed contender status in this year’s race to the title. The Aggies are tied for second in the standings and have already set a school record for Big West victories (3) with three games to go. They have defeated three straight conference opponents – UC Riverside, Pacific and Cal Poly – going into their regular season home finale against UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. UC Davis closes out the regular season next week with road encounters against Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. With nine wins, UC Davis has won its highest number of games since joining the Big West in 2007.
Shelton’s Return Coincides With Gaucho Victory
UC Santa Barbara needed the services of sophomore midfielder Erica Shelton to help with a dormant offense. During her absence, the Gauchos had lost four straight one-goal games and scored just two in that span. Prior to her departure, UCSB had been unbeaten in three consecutive games and she had captured Big West Offensive Player of the Week honors. Shelton’s return on Sunday against UC Riverside helped the Gauchos to a 2-0 triumph.
Long Beach State Offense Held Off Scoreboard
It is not often that the powerful Long Beach State offense is held without a goal. After all, the 49ers have been shutout just three times this season. However, two of those scoreless efforts occurred last week in key conference matchups against Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine. The 49ers lost 1-0 and 2-0 to the Matadors and Anteaters, respectively. The setbacks unseated Long Beach State from first place in the Big West and dropped the program out of the top 25. At 3-2-0 and in fourth place in the Big West, the 49ers are still very much in contention for a postseason tournament berth but need a victory at home against UC Riverside this Friday to help their cause. LBSU still leads the Big West in scoring with 36 goals, nine more than its closest pursuer.
Pacific Puts Home Unbeaten Streak On The Line
Pacific brings a seven-game home unbeaten string into Friday’s match against UC Santa Barbara at Stagg Stadium. The Tigers have not lost at home since Oct. 29, 2010 against Long Beach State. Pacific won its final home game of the 2010 season against UC Riverside to start the streak, and is 5-0-1 on the home pitch this season. The Tigers also host Cal Poly on Sunday.
Gordon Now In Top Five In Big West Career Assists
Long Beach State senior Shawna Gordon was kept out of the points column in two games last week after posting at least one point in five of the six previous games. However, she still ranks fifth all-time in the Big West with 23 career assists, needing two more to put her in a tie for fourth. Gordon also is only one assist away from becoming the first Big West player since UC Irvine’s Caty Cope in 2007 to record double-digit assists in a season. Gordon’s nine assists lead the Big West and her next helper would move her into the conference record book’s single-season top 10.
BIG WEST CAREER TOP 10 - ASSISTS
29 Kim Silos, Long Beach State 2005-08
29 Wendy Woolgar, Pacific 1996-98
26 Jennifer Borcich, UC Santa Barbara 2001-04
25 Krista Davey, North Texas 1996-99
23 Shawna Gordon, Long Beach State 2008-11
22 Angelica Figueroa, Pacific 2008-11
21 Tanya Taylor, UC Irvine 2007-10
21 Natalie Dorr, Pacific 1996-98
20 Jacqui Simon, UC Santa Barbara 2007-10
20 Chandi Bickford, UC Santa Barbara 2003-06
Cal Poly Aims For Double-Digit Wins
Cal Poly needs two more victories to secure a 10-win season for the 12th time in 16 years. The Mustangs lost a pair of 2-1 games at home to UC Riverside and UC Davis to drop to 8-8-1 on the season. They must defeat Pacific and UC Santa Barbara not only to finish the regular season with 10 wins, but to give themselves a legitimate shot at making the Big West Tournament field.
O’Brien Aims To Move Up Coaching Wins List
Head coach Veronica O’Brien has a 90-89-26 career record at UC Riverside. She won her 90th game when the Highlanders knocked off Cal Poly, 2-1, in overtime on Thursday. The win moved her within two of former UC Irvine mentor Marine Cano (1996-2005) for fourth place on the all-time Big West victory list.
MOST OVERALL CAREER WINS AS BIG WEST COACH
No. Coach, School Years
179 Alex Crozier, Cal Poly 1996-present
151 Keith Coleman, Pacific 1996-present
122 Paul Stumpf, UC Santa Barbara 1999-present
92 Marine Cano, UC Irvine 1996-2005
90 Veronica O’Brien, UC Riverside 2001-present