Sept. 12, 2006
The Lions wrap up non-conference action this weekend with a pair of games against local opponents. LMU will travel to UC Santa Barbara for a Friday night showdown with the Gauchos, and will host Cal Baptist at Sullivan Field on Sunday afternoon. Sunday's game will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com
About UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos are 3-2 on the season and ranked 14th in the latest College Soccer News poll. UCSB opened the season with a 5-0 win over then-#7 Akron. They followed that up with a loss at then-#3 Virginia. After wins over San Diego State and Cal Poly, UCSB fell to #18 Illinois-Chicago last Friday. Bongomin Otii leads the team in scoring with five goals so far this season, and Eric Avila has two goals and one assist. Kyle Reynish has a 0.60 GAA with three shutouts this season. The LMU-UCSB series is tied at 8-8 all-time, but the Lions have won eight straight, including last year's 2-1 thriller at Sullivan Field.
About Cal Baptist
The Lancers are 1-5 this season and are coming off of a 1-0 loss to Puget Sound on September 4th. Fashinu-Ron Nesbeth leads the team in scoring with four goals this season. Christian Diaz has a goal and three assists. Josh Blanco has played the majority of minutes in goal and has a 2.55 GAA. This will be the first meeting between the Lions and the NAIA Lancers.
The Lions came from behind in the final minutes to defeat Rhode Island, 2-1, but came up short against Harvard for a 1-0 loss at the Harvard Invitational last weekend. In the first game of the tournament, the Rams took an early lead, and held a 1-0 advantage for most of the game. However, the Lions roared back late in the game. David Niemeyer tied things up with a goal in the 81st minute, and Bobby Burling put in the game winner in the 86th minute as LMU secured the 2-1 win.
Harvard would score the only goal of the game in the tournament finale to hand the Lions their second loss of the season. Niemeyer, Burling and Junior Ybarra were named to the All-Tournament team.
LMU begins its pursuit for a West Coast Conference championship next weekend by hosting Gonzaga and Portland at Sullivan Field. The conference as a whole has performed outstanding in non-conference play, and not one team has a losing record heading into the last weekend of non-conference action. Gonzaga is 3-2-1 and Portland is 1-0-2. Both Santa Clara and San Francisco are ranked in the top-10 in this week's polls.
Niemeyer Nabs Award
Senior David Niemeyer was named the WCC Player of the Week on September 4th. He scored his first goal of the season to give the Lions a 1-0 lead against Central Connecticut, and assisted on the game-winner against Marquette. It is the first career award for the forward and the second straight week that a Lion won the weekly award. It was a busy week for Niemeyer, who was also given the award for the male student-athlete with the highest Spring 2006 GPA. He received the award at LMU's annual Welcome Back Barbecue. The senior forward leads the team in scoring with two goals and one assist this season.
For another season, all of LMU's home games will be broadcast live on Lions All-Access at www.LMULions.com. For the first time, all broadcasts on All-Access will be available for FREE. Toby Kennedy will be bringing you all of the action from Sullivan Field.
Fans who aren't able to make the trek to Sullivan Field can still follow the action statistically on Gametracker. The live stats can be found at www.LMULions.com In addition, selected road games will also carry Gametracker. Check the LMU website for the complete schedule.
Burling Climbs the Charts
Despite being moved to defense for the 2006 season, senior Bobby Burling still continues to climb the LMU career points chart. With his goal against Rhode Island, Burling now has 40 career points and moves into a tie for fifth place on the career points list. In addition, he now has 14 career assists, good for eighth all-time at LMU. He has 13 career goals, alone in seventh place all-time. Burling spent his first three years with the Lions at the forward position.
Gomez Nabs Weekly Award
Trini Gomez was named the WCC Co-Player of the Week for his role in leading the Lions to the 1-0 win over then-#2 Connecticut. It is the first career WCC award for the junior midfielder from Inglewood, CA. In addition, Gomez was also named to the Soccer America and College Soccer News Teams of the Week. It is his first time earning those weekly honors as well.
LMU in the Rankings
Following the win over then-#2 Connecticut, LMU moved into the national rankings for the first time in 2006. LMU was ranked #14 by Soccer America, their highest ranking. After the loss to Central Connecticut, the Lions fell out of all four national polls, but are still receiving votes in the Soccer Times. LMU is ranked #9 in the Far West NSCAA Regional Poll.
Strength of Schedule
LMU's schedule is annually among the nation's toughest and this season proves to be no different. In addition to facing UCLA in a preseason exhibition, the Lions will play seven games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25.
A quick look at the LMU roster shows that several of the Lions are from the state of Colorado. Seven players came to LMU from Colorado. The Centennial State is represented in every class, with two seniors, one junior, three sophomores and one freshman. In addition, Josh Carroll played club soccer in Colorado, commuting from his home state of Wyoming. LMU assistant coach Mathes Mennell attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
In addition to his responsibilities as the team manager and the Voice of the Lions on Lions All-Access, Toby Kennedy will also be writing a column on www.LMULions.com throughout the season. Keep checking back for Toby's take on the LMU men's soccer team.