June 20, 2006
The Lions concluded their season with a 2-0 win over San Diego on Senior Day, and placed third in the West Coast Conference standings. It was one last Sunday Sullivan special for the final game of the year when the Lions handed the Toreros the loss to secure third place.
Although it was the first time in five years that LMU did not participate in the NCAA Tournament, the year had several highlights.
A conference-leading eight players were named to the WCC's All-Conference teams following the season. Midfielder Junior Ybarra earned first team honors, while senior Armando Melendez was named to the second team for the second straight year. Six players earned honorable mention honors - Bobby Burling, Jimmy Burling, Stephen Carlson, Jawaan Delaney, Trini Gomez and Matthew Mejia. In addition, Delaney was named to the conference's All-Freshman team.
Midfielder Junior Ybarra was named to the NSCAA/adidas Far West Region Third Team. The junior from Santa Barbara, Calif. was a first-team All-WCC selection in 2005 for his part in leading the Lions to a third place finish in the West Coast Conference. It is the first All-Region honor for Ybarra.
Melendez Drafted by Galaxy
Armando Melendez continued LMU's tradition of sending players to Major League Soccer when he was drafted by the LA Galaxy in the third round of the Supplemental Draft. He is the third Lion to be drafted by the Galaxy, following Matt Kovar and Arturo Torres.
One word that might best describe the 2005 Lions is balance. The team had 12 different players score goals this season, and 16 players record a point. The balance is becoming a trend with LMU soccer as 13 players had goals last year, and 19 players recorded a point.
Balance Part 2
LMU's balance was seen in their results as well, although it probably wasn't the kind of balance the coaches were hoping for. The Lions did not win, lose or tie more than two games in a row. In six of the last seven weekends of the season, LMU lost its first game of the weekend, but rebounded to win the second game. In 2005, LMU had nine weekends in which the team had two games. The Lions were 1-6-2 in the first game of those weekends, and 6-1-2 in the second game of those weekends. LMU did not record a weekend sweep this season, nor did the team lose twice in any weekend this season.
LMU sent its two seniors out with a win on Senior Day, defeating San Diego 2-0. Both players had impressive careers in Westchester. Here's a brief look at their accomplishments:
Armando Melendez - two-time second team All-WCC... two-year team captain... 8th all-time in career goals (12), 4th all-time in career assists (16) and 5th all-time in career points (40)... 2004 WCC Honorable Mention... LMU and WCC Athlete of the Month, Oct. 04... 8 assists in 2004 was second on the single season assist chart.
Jimmy Burling - 2005 WCC Honorable Mention... Team's leading scorer in WCC games with three goals and one assist...Five career goals, four career assists for 14 career points...Played 60 career games with 40 starts.
A pair of Lions were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 men's soccer team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). David Niemeyer and Diego Souza were voted into the team for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. LMU is one of just two schools with two members on the District 8 team. The pair was joined by sophomore Stephen Carlson when the WCC announced its All-Academic Team. It is the second straight selection for Souza and Niemeyer, and the first for Carlson.
The LMU midfield received a boost when Trini Gomez transferred from UCLA. The Inglewood native led LMU in scoring this season, with a team-high six goals and 16 points. Gomez scored the game-winner against Saint Mary's on a free kick that hit the far post and bounced into the goal.
Watch Out For that "Tree"
After appearing in two games last season, Michael Ogletree ("Tree") has been a constant presence for the Lions this season. He has spent most of his time in the Lion defense this season, but also has appeared in the midfield. His first career goal was one of LMU's biggest of the season- the game-winner at Santa Clara. Tree also assisted on a goal in LMU's earlier win over Santa Clara at Sullivan Field this season. His speed and athleticism have been vital to the Lions this season.
Flores Shines in Victory
Rob Flores had one of his best performances of the season to help secure a 1-0 shutout of Portland on Oct. 30. The junior made six saves in goal, including several point-blank stops in the final minutes of the second half to help the Lions to the victory. Flores has started all but two games in goal, and has seen his save percentage rise and his goals against average lower all season.
Burling Scores Monthly Honor
Bobby Burling was named the LMU Student-Athlete of the Month for his play in September. Bobby Burling was instrumental in helping the Lions open the season with a 3-2-2 record. He led the team with four goals and two assists in September, including two game-winning goals. Burling was directly responsible for both goals in LMU's 2-1 win over #10 UC Santa Barbara, assisting on the game-tying goal and scoring the game-winner. Burling had a phenomenal performance against North Florida, recording two goals and an assist. He also scored LMU's first goal in the 2-1 win over Gonzaga to open WCC action.
Sundays Are Special At Sullivan
The Lions faced a top 10 team on a Sunday at Sullivan three times this season and pulled out victories in two of the games. After dropping their season opener to then-#7 UCLA, the Lions rebounded with a huge 2-1 win over then-#10 UC Santa Barbara. Two weeks later, LMU took a 3-1 victory over then-#5 Santa Clara. The Lions recorded a 1-0 shutout of Portland and finished the season with a 2-0 shutout of San Diego to improve to 5-1 on Sundays at Sullivan. In the 2004 season, the Lions were a perfect 5-0 on Sundays at Sullivan.
Climbing the Charts
Several current players finished the season among the top 10 LMU career charts. Armando Melendez finished his LMU career in the top 10 of all three charts, finishing 4th in career assists, 5th in career points and 8th in career goals. With his play this season, Bobby Burling moved into the top 10 of all three categories in just three seasons. He is in7th place in points, 8th place in assists and 9th place in goals. Junior Ybarra is also in the top 10 for assists after just three seasons. He sits in 6th place with 15 career assists.
Barrera Earns Weekly Honors
Sophomore Diego Barrera was honored as the WCC Player of the Week for his efforts in LMU's 2-1 win over then-#10 UC Santa Barbara. The midfielder was also named to Soccer America's Team of the Week. It is the second year that Barrera earned each honor.
Record Setting Victory
The Lions shattered three school records en route to their 8-0 victory over North Florida on Sept. 5. With eight goals, the Lions broke the previous team record of six goals in a game. The record was set twice, both games against Occidental in 1990 and 1997. LMU's 11 assists also shatters the previous record of six assists (vs. Santa Clara, 10/17/04 and vs. San Diego State, 10/8/95). The Lions' 27 points on the day bested their previous record of 17 points set against Occidental in 1997 (6 goals, 5 assists).
Bobby Burling and Diego Barrera were named to the UC Irvine College Classic All-Tournament team following the weekend. Burling scored two goals and added an assist, while Barrera set up two goals to record two assists. Rob Flores and Matthew Mejia were named to the All-Tournament team at SMU's Mi Cocina Classic. It is the first All-Tournament honor for either player.
Throughout the season, captains Armando Melendez and Rob Flores will be writing a diary on the LMU website. Their journal will give fans an inside peak into the LMU men's soccer team. Be sure to check the LMU website at www.LMULions.com for their latest entry.
Sullivan Field Upgrades
Fans to Sullivan Field will notice a few changes to the atmosphere this season. Brand new banners on the back on the bleachers welcome fans to the "Home of the Lions." In addition, a new scoreboard has been installed. This season, the Lions play nine of their 20 games at Sullivan Field.