Tournament Spots Up For Grabs Entering Final Week
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Women's Soccer Weekly Release No. 11
UC Irvine has clinched a spot in the Big West Women's Soccer Tournament and is on the cusp of claiming at least a share of the regular season championship. The three remaining tournament berths are up for grabs among a pool of five schools.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Allison Kelly, UC Davis
The junior has developed into one of the premier goal scoring threats in the Big West. After tying for the team lead in goals with five in 2010, Kelly has stepped up her game even further and has played a key role in helping UC Davis to an 11-4-1 record. She is tied for fourth in the Big West with 19 points on eight goals and three assists. Kelly’s eight goals also tie her for third among conference players. Consistency describes her play, as she has recorded at least one point in nine of the last 12 matches and has scored six of her eight goals in the last eight contests.
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.
Red Hot UC Irvine Seeks Second Straight Title
UC Irvine needs a win against UC Riverside in the regular season finale on Sunday to clinch at least a share of the Big West championship. The Anteaters, which ride a five-game winning streak into the matchup with the Highlanders, sit alone in first place with 16 points and a 5-1-1 league record. Should UC Irvine falter, that opens the door for either UC Davis (4-1-1) or Long Beach State (4-2-0) to overtake the Anteaters. The Aggies and 49ers meet on Friday in Long Beach in a crucial Big West matchup. UCD finishes up at Cal State Fullerton while LBSU hosts Pacific on Sunday. UCD can forge a co-championship with UCI in the event the Aggies win twice and the Anteaters take care of business against UCR.
Aggie Mania Takes Hold
Picked to finish eighth in the Big West preseason poll by the coaches, UC Davis is having a banner year under head coach MaryClaire Robinson. The Aggies have won five straight games, their longest winning streak since running off six in a row in 2006, and are 11-4-1 overall this season. The 11 wins represent the most for the program since posting 12 victories in 2002 as a member of Division II. The win total also obliterates UCD’s previous high of seven – established in 2008 and 2010 – since joining the Big West for the 2007 campaign. The Aggies have kicked their offense up several notches with multiple goals in each of their last five wins, outscoring their opponents 15-7 during that span.
Beach Clean Up
Lurking in the background is a dangerous Long Beach State side which is in contention to win its first Big West regular season title since 2008. The 49ers need help, namely in the form of a slip up from league leader UC Irvine. An Anteater loss or tie to UC Riverside on Sunday gives LBSU a clear path to the title, with home games against UC Davis and Pacific the only obstacles. LBSU is 7-1 at George Allen Field this season.
Big West Tournament On The Horizon
The top four teams in the final regular season standings advance to the 2011 Big West Tournament, which will be held November 3 and 6 at campus sites with the No. 1 seed hosting the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed hosting the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The championship game will be hosted by the highest remaining seed. The winner of the Big West Tournament receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UC Irvine has clinched a spot in the tournament field and has the inside track on hosting one of the two semifinals. The three remaining spots are up for grabs. Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State and UC Davis could play themselves into hosting roles depending on the outcomes of this week’s games. UC Riverside and Pacific remain in the hunt for a tournament bid but both squads must win twice this week. The Highlanders would be eliminated from tournament consideration with a tie or loss to Cal State Northridge on Thursday.
Cal State Fullerton Chases NCAA Overtime Record
Cal State Fullerton played in a single-season school record 10th overtime game on Sunday in a 1-1 tie against UC Riverside. The Titans are 3-4-3 in extra time contests. With two games remaining, CSF can either tie or surpass the NCAA record for most overtime games in a season. That record of 11 is currently held by the 2005 William and Mary squad, which went 1-1-9 in OT that year.
Gordon, Figueroa Tied For Fifth In Big West Assists
Long Beach State senior Shawna Gordon and Pacific senior Angelica Figueroa are tied for fifth in Big West history with 23 career assists, and look to move further up the chart this week. Gordon, who has been hold without a point in a season-most three straight games, still leads the Big West with nine assists in 2011. She remains 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. Figueroa is tied for second among conference players with seven helpers.
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
23 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
Matadors Look For Another Top Three Finish
Cal State Northridge experienced a tough setback, losing 4-0 to UC Irvine on Sunday in a battle of teams tied for first place. At 4-2-1 in league play, the Matadors are still tied for second place and need only to tie UC Riverside on Thursday to claim a berth into the Big West Tournament. The Matadors also are within grasp of securing their third straight top three finish in the Big West standings after coming in second in 2009 and tying for third in 2010.
UC Irvine is ranked No. 19 by Soccer America, No. 21 by Soccer Times and No. 24 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll this week. It is the 19th straight week that the Anteaters have been ranked in the top 25 of at least one of those three polls. They started the streak on Sept. 27, 2010 when Soccer America rated them No. 23. UCI reached a high of No. 11 on Sept. 5 this season and fell as low as No. 24 on Oct. 3. A 7-1-1 record in the last month has vaulted them.