Oct. 4, 2006
The Lions return to Sullivan Field this week to host #18 San Francisco for their only game of the week. LMU sits atop the WCC standings with a 2-1-1 record after a win and a tie last weekend on the road. The game on Friday will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com with Toby Kennedy bringing you all of the action.
Ybarra Eyes WCC Record
With his assist in Friday's game against Santa Clara, Junior Ybarra assisted on his 13th career WCC goal. He is one assist away from tying the career WCC record for assists in conference games. Ybarra has 16 career assists, tied for 4th place in LMU history.
Defense Shines In WCC Play
LMU has a conference-low goals against average of 0.71 after four games. The Lions have allowed just two goals scored by their opponents those four contests. LMU's opponents have had 33 shots in four games, an average of just over eight shots per game, and only 12 of the 33 shots have been on goal. Rob Flores has the lowest GAA in the conference despite making the fewest saves per game. LMU has allowed more than one goal just once this season.
With three goals by three different players off of assists by two different people, the Lions demonstrated their depth and balanced scoring attack last weekend. Eight different players have scored goals this season, and an incredible 16 different players have registered points.
About San Francisco
The two-time defending WCC Champion Dons sit at 2-2 in WCC play and 7-3-1 overall. San Francisco is ranked 18th in the latest College Soccer News poll. After going 0-2 in its first two WCC games, USF rebounded with a sweep of Portland and Gonzaga last weekend to move to 2-2. Aaron Chandler, the WCC's September Player of the Month, leads the team in scoring with four goals and two assists. Conor Chinn has added two goals and two assists this season. Geremy Uhl has a 0.89 GAA with four shutouts this season.
LMU made a strong showing on the road, picking up a win at #15 Santa Clara and adding a tie against Saint Mary's.
The Lions scored two first half goals to take a 2-0 advantage over the Broncos and held off SCU in the second half for a 2-1 win. The victory marks the second straight year that LMU has handed Santa Clara a 2-1 loss at Buck Shaw Stadium. Diego Barrera gave the Lions the 1-0 lead off of a fancy assist from Nick Blanco, and Jawaan Delaney headed in a Junior Ybarra free kick for what turned out to be the game-winner.
The Gaels scored early, but the Lions scored late to tie things up and force the game into extra time. SMC took a lead in the 4th minute, and the game was 1-0 until the 82nd minute when Diego Souza found a loose ball in the box and hammered it home. Although the Lions outshot 5-1 in the extra time, they had to settle for the tie.
The Lions will face San Diego twice next week to wrap up the first half of WCC action and begin the second half. LMU will host the Toreros on Thursday afternoon before traveling to San Diego for a Sunday afternoon contest. After a 2-0 start to WCC play, USD fell in both games last weekend and is now 2-2 in conference action.
Keeping the Fans on their Toes
After 11 games this season, it's clear that the LMU men's soccer teams likes to keep its fans entertained. Every single game has been decided by a one goal margin, or less, 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.
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 appears as "Danny Doran" in the movie "The Guardian" which opened last Friday and stars Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. Last year, Gail was "Doc John" in the movie "Jarhead" with Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Around the WCC
After two weeks of conference play, LMU sits tied atop of the WCC standings with a 2-1-1 record (7 points). Saint Mary's joins LMU with 7 points and is the only undefeated team in WCC action (2-0-1). Three teams have six points - Santa Clara (2-1), San Diego (2-2) and San Francisco (2-2). Portland has three points and is 1-2, while Gonzaga is looking for its first win and has a 0-3 record in WCC games. After a 2-0 week to start WCC action, San Diego lost both games on the road last weekend. The Dons recovered from a 0-2 start to win both games last weekend.
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, its highest ranking. After the loss to Central Connecticut, the Lions fell out of all four national polls. LMU is ranked 10th in the NSCAA Far West Region poll this week, and is receiving votes in the Soccer Times 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 nine 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, 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.
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.