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Lions Head to Bay Area

Sept. 28, 2006

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The Lions head to the Bay Area this weekend to face Santa Clara and Saint Mary's. LMU enters the second weekend of WCC play with a 1-1 conference record and a 5-4 record overall. Both games this weekend will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com with Toby Kennedy bringing you all of the action.

About Santa Clara
The Broncos come into Friday's game with a 5-2-2 record and are ranked #15 in this week's College Soccer News poll. Peter Lowry leads the team in scoring with four goals this season. Keith DeVey has three goals and one assist and Jeff Cosgriff has three goals in 2006. Joseph Buttitta has a 0.89 GAA with three shutouts. The Broncos started WCC play with a 2-1 win over San Francisco on Sunday night. LMU has won three of the last four meetings with Santa Clara, including sweeping the season series last year. The Lions defeated SCU 3-1 at home, and 2-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium in 2005.

About Saint Mary's
The Gaels are 3-3-3 overall and 1-0 in WCC play. SMC defeated San Francisco 1-0 in its only conference game so far this season. Carlos Diaz leads the team in scoring with three goals and two assists this season. Alex Christlieb and David Blanchard have two goals each. Brian Mason has a 0.92 GAA with one shutout this season. Adam Cooper is in his first season as head coach of the Gaels. LMU and SMC split the series last year, with each school winning on their home field.

LMU's Guardian
LMU volunteer assistant coach Peter Gail has an unusual side job. When not guiding Lions to victory, he works as an actor, appearing in several movies. Gail will appear as "Danny Doran" in the movie "The Guardian" which opens on Friday and stars Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. Last year, Gail was "Doc John" in the movie "Jarhead" with Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Looking Back
LMU was 29 seconds away from its second straight shutout on Sunday. However, in a cruel twist, LMU played the ball into its own goal, giving the Pilots a 1-0 lead with 29 seconds remaining in the game.

The weekend started well with a 1-0 win over Gonzaga. LMU outshot the Bulldogs 14-3, including a 6-0 shots on goal advantage. The only goal of the game came in the form of a penalty kick after a Gonzaga hand ball in the box. Brad Stisser calmly took the shot in the 62nd minute, giving LMU the 1-0 lead and that would be all they would need. The back four of Bobby Burling, Jawaan Delaney, Bo Miller and Garrett Maloney completely shut down the Bulldog offense, keeping the WCC's leading scorer with a shot.

The Lions continued to play well in the Portland game, but could not put the ball past the goalkeeper. LMU outshot Portland 19-9, but Luis Robles made six saves in goal. When it looked like the game was going to overtime, the Lions suffered an own goal and dropped their first WCC contest.

Looking Ahead
The Lions return home to Sullivan Field to host San Francisco for their only day of the week. The Dons are two-time defending WCC Champions and have been ranked as high as #8 in the polls. However, an 0-2 week to start WCC play with losses against SCU and SMC has dropped USF out of the three of the national rankings. The Dons are #23 in the College Soccer News poll.

Keeping The Fans On Their Toes
After nine games this season, it's clear that the LMU men's soccer team likes to keep its fans entertained. Every single game has been decided by a one goal margin this season. In fact, 1-0 has been the most popular score so far in 2006. The Lions have played in five 1-0 games, going 2-3 in those contests.

Around the WCC
After the first weekend of play, San Diego sits in first place in the conference with a 2-0 record. The Toreros defeated Portland (1-0) and Gonzaga (4-0) to start the conference season off well. SMC and SCU are both 1-0 after wins over USF, while LMU and Portland split the opening weekend and sit at 1-1. Gonzaga and San Francisco are looking for their first WCC wins after going 0-2 in the first weekend of action.

The WCC continues to shine overall, and entering the second weekend of conference play, not a single WCC team has a record below .500.

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.

Lions All-Access
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 nine games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25.

Colorado Connection
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, freshman 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.

Toby's Take
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.