Sept. 19, 2006
The Lions begin their quest for a West Coast Conference title this weekend when they host Gonzaga and Portland at Sullivan Field. LMU comes into the weekend having won its last four games at Sullvan Field dating back to last season. Both games this weekend will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com
The Zags enter Friday's game with a 2-2-1 record. Gonzaga hasn't played since a 3-0 win vs. Xavier on September 8th. George Josten, the team's leading scorer, had a hand in all three of the goals against Xavier, scoring two and assisting on the other. He has four goals and two assists this season. Grant Lundberg has one goal and two assists in 2006. Vito Higgins has a 1.72 GAA and has saved 53% of shots. For the season, Gonzaga has outshot its opponents 71-47.
The Pilots are 2-1-2 overall and are coming off of their first loss of the season, a 1-0 setback vs. Northern Illinois. After scoring two goals in its first three games, the Portland offfense exploded with a 6-0 win against Marshall last Friday. Alex Elliott leads the team with three goals on the season, and Christopher Sanders has added two goals. Luis Robles has a 0.38 GAA and has recorded two shutouts. Portland will face San Diego on Friday night before Sunday afternoon's game against LMU.
Friday's game against Gonzaga is sponsored by Latino Heritage Month. LMU athletics would like to thank Latino Heritage Month for its support of LMU men's soccer.
LMU recorded yet another split last weekend, falling to #14 UC Santa Barbara in heartbreaking fashion before rebounding with a 2-1 win over Cal Baptist. Friday's loss to UCSB marks the end of an eight game winning streak that LMU had over the Gauchos, and is the first loss to UCSB since 1995. After a scoreless 85 minutes, UCSB scored the game's only goal in the 86th minute and held off a barrage of LMU shots in the final minutes for the win.
The Lions rebounded with a 2-1 win over Cal Baptist in their return to Sullivan Field. Jay Singh scored his first career goal off of a free kick early in the first half, and David Niemeyer added his team-leading third goal of the season to give the Lions a 2-0 lead in the first half. Cal Baptist cut the lead to one goal, converting a penalty kick in the 76th minute, but the Lancers did not manage another shot on goal for the rest of the game and LMU held on for the win.
Sunday Soccer Doubleheader
Sunday's game against Portland is the second of a doubleheader with the LMU women's team. The Women of Troy head to Sullivan Field to face LMU at 1:00pm before the men host the Pilots.
Inside The Lions
Inside the Lions is the new weekly show on www.LMULions.com and this week's show features an interview with LMU captain Rob Flores. Click on "Inside the Lions" on the LMU website every Monday for the latest information on LMU Athletics.
The Last Time
The last time LMU opened WCC play with a home series against Gonzaga and Portland was 2004. The Lions were 2-3-2 entering conference play, but opened WCC action with a sweep of the Northwest WCC opponents. LMU defeated both schools by a 2-0 margin. Tyler Mehl scored twice to lead LMU to win over Gonzaga and Nick Blanco scored a goal and assisted on another to lead the Lions to the win over then-#20 Portland. The weekend sweep help propel LMU to an 8-3-1 conference record, a second place WCC finish and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions continue conference play next weekend, challenging the Broncos of Santa Clara on Friday night and finishing up the weekend with Saint Mary's on Sunday afternoon. LMU defeated Santa Clara at Buck Shaw Stadium for the first time ever last season to sweep the season series. LMU split the series with SMC last season, winning at home but losing on the road.
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 three 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 Wins 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.
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. Six players came to LMU from Colorado. The Centennial State is represented in almost every class, with two seniors, one junior, and three sophomores. 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.