UC Riverside Seeks First Big West Tournament Title
Women's Soccer Release No. 12
After clinching the No. 3 seed in the Big West Tournament, its first appearance since 2005, UC Riverside seeks its second-ever NCAA Tournament bid. The Highlanders finished the regular season 7-12-1 overall, going 4-4-0 in league. While taking on conference foe UC Irvine in the semifinals, UCR hopes to secure a spot in the Championship game for the second time in program history.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Crozier Hits Two Hundred: In his 22nd season at Cal Poly, Mustang head coach Alex Crozier amassed his 200th overall win as a Big West mentor with a 1-0 victory over UC Davis Thursday. Crozier surpassed the 250-win overall mark earlier this year as the program’s first four NCAA seasons came before the establishment of the Big West as a women’s soccer conference.
Leading League: With the victory in Davis, Cal Poly clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament and the regular-season title.
Record Watch: Sophomore Elise Krieghoff scored the game winning goal in the 85th minute for a season total 21 goals. Krieghoff remains atop the NCAA Division I standings and is just four away from the Big West record that stands at 25.
Tournament Time: The Mustangs will make their 10th Big West Tournament appearance this week and are seeking their fourth championship.
Cal State Fullerton
Hosts Claim Spot: Despite a 1-1 double overtime draw versus long Beach State Thursday and a 1-0 loss to UC Irvine Sunday, Cal State Fullerton claimed fourth place in league with 11 points to clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament this weekend.
Titans In The Tournament: With a No. 1 CP versus No. 4 CSF matchup Thursday at Titan Stadium, the Titans will have home advantage in their eighth appearance in tournament play. Fullerton claimed three back-to-back titles from 2005-07 and looks to capture its fourth championship this weekend. CP owns a 13-7-4 advantage in the all-time series over the Titans.
Showdown Of Epic Proportions: While goalkeeper Lindsey Maricic leads the conference with 87 saves, an .870 save percentage and a 0.70 goals against average, Cal Poly’s Elise Krieghoff leads the conference with 21 goals scored, 45 points and 102 shots. Cal Poly’s offense will face off against the talented Fullerton back line and the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year in Maricic.
Cal State Northridge
2013 Comes To A Close: With a 2-0 loss to Hawai‘i Sunday, Cal State Northridge closed out the 2013 season as seniors Haley Chee, Chloe McDaniel, Amanda Smith and Wendy Warner played their final contest as Matadors.
Senior Spotlight: The 2012 Big West Defensive Player Of The Year and 2013 Big West Scholar Athlete, McDaniel, was a three-year team captain and appeared in 77 matches, the sixth-most in school history. The defender was a Senior CLASS finalist this year while also receiving Preseason All-Big West Conference Team honors. The senior’s two goals on the season placed No. 3 on the team as she brought her career point total to 14.
Unusual Placement: As the reigning 2012 Big West tournament champion, this is the first season since 2008 that the Matadors have not finished in the top four in the Big West. CSUN finished ninth in conference with four points.
Long Beach State
End Of The Road: After a 1-1 double overtime draw to Cal State Fullerton Thursday and a 2-1 loss to UC Riverside Sunday, Long Beach State’s quest for the Big West Tournament comes to a close in 2013. The 49ers closed out league play with nine points to tie for seventh place with UC Santa Barbara.
Tournament Trivia: While the 49ers missed a berth to the Big West Tournament with a fifth place finish in league last season, LBSU received an NCAA at-large bid and traveled to Santa Clara for a first round showdown before falling 2-1 to the No. 17 Broncos. Last year marked the fourth time in the previous five years that the Beach advanced to the NCAA tourney. Long Beach has two Big West championships, the most recent in 2011 when the 49ers advanced to the Elite Eight.
Bright Future: With 21 underclassmen this season, including 13 freshmen, the rebuilding year saw great success including victories over No. 11 Brigham Young and No. 23 Texas Tech. The Beach has a promising future that includes Mimi Rangel, who recorded five goals, four assists and 14 points in her first season.
Until Next Time: For the second weekend in a row, UC Davis split its games with a 1-0 loss to Cal Poly Thursday and a 1-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara Sunday. With 10 points and a fifth place finish in league, the Aggies’ season comes to a close just one point shy of the final available spot at the Big West Tournament.
Improvement: While Davis matched its 10 points in conference play from 2012, the Aggies improve on their sixth place finish from last season. This year marks the second highest overall standing earned by the team since joining the Big West Conference in 2007.
Finishing Strong: Goalkeeper Taylor Jern picked up her fifth shutout Sunday and finishes with 85 saves, just behind Cal State Fullerton’s Lindsey Maricic who recorded 87.
Senior Celebration: Eight seniors capped their careers at UC Davis with Sunday’s victory as they blanked Santa Barbara.
Momentum: UC Irvine finished the regular season with three straight victories after blanking Cal State Fullerton 1-0 Sunday. This is the second time UCI has won three in a row, only bested by a four-game undefeated streak earlier this year. The ‘Eaters look to take this momentum into the tournament.
Tournament Talk: The Anteaters have had great success against their Big West Tournament semifinal opponent – UC Riverside. UC Irvine owns a 10-2-1 all-time series record over the Highlanders. The Anteaters are seeking their fifth trip to the championship game. UCI is 1-3 in four previous appearances.
Seniors Steal Show: Seniors Natalia Ledezma and Mady Solow celebrated their final game on their home pitch with a connection to secure the win Sunday. Solow fired a corner kick that Ledezma finished as the senior recorder her sixth goal of the season.
It Isn’t Over Yet: After a 4-0 non-conference loss to Montana Friday, UC Riverside locked up a No. 3 seed with a 2-1 win over Long Beach State Sunday to secure a berth to the Big West Tournament. The Highlanders will travel to Cal State Fullerton to take on UC Irvine in the semifinals Thursday.
Cunningham Comes Up Clutch: Sophomore Tyler Cunningham, who leads Riverside with four goals scored in 2013, netted two of those against LBSU to ensure the Highlanders their first Tournament appearance since 2005. That season UCR went undefeated in league with a 4-0-3 record in Big West play and advanced to its first-ever NCAA Tournament.
Tournament Trivia: In the Highlanders’ first of two Big West tournament showings, Riverside played Long Beach to a 0-0 stalemate at the end of regulation in 2005. Riverside walked away with the victory after defeating the 49ers in penalty kicks, 4-2. UCR then fell to Cal State Fullerton, 4-1, in the championship game.
UC Santa Barbara
Just Short: With a 1-0 loss to UC Davis Sunday, UC Santa Barbara missed a Big West Tournament bid as the Gauchos finished the season with 9 points in league for an seventh place finish. In typical UCSB fashion, the one-goal decision brings the Gauchos to a 13-game total with a one-goal margin this season. Sunday marked the ninth game in a row in which a single goal separated the victor from the defeated. Three of those games ended in UCSB’s favor.
Injury Plagued: Santa Barbara played without seven starters Sunday due to injuries.
Tournament Talk: The Gauchos are fourth in the conference with two Big West tournament championships under their belt, the most recent in 2009. UCSB won back-to-back crowns in 2008 and 2009.
Climbing: UCSB improved upon its eighth place finish from 2012 after finishing in ninth in 2011. The Gauchos continue to improve their point total to nine after six in 2011 and seven in 2012.
Season Ends With A Smile: Nothing could rain on Hawai‘i’s parade in the last week of its season as the Rainbow Wahine clinched a 2-0 shutout victory over Cal State Northridge on Senior Day Sunday. Although UH entered the match with an outside chance of making the Big West Tournament, UC Riverside’s victory knocked the ‘Bows out of postseason contention. Hawai’i finished in a tie for fifth place with 10 points.
Team Effort: Junior Tiana Fujimoto and senior Malé Fresquez recorded a goal each in the 2-0 win, the 10th and first goals of their seasons, respectively. Monk Berger recorded her seventh clean sheet of her inaugural season as the UH backline held the Matadors to a single shot on goal the entirety of the match. Berger picked up a save in the outing.
2013 Is One For The Books: Hawai‘i enjoyed a memorable season in which the Rainbow Wahine recorded their first win in a Big West road match and Berger’s seven shutouts broke the single season record at UH.