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Key WCC Games in Northwest

Oct. 19, 2006

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LMU sits in third place in the WCC after picking up four points last weekend against San Diego. The Lions' undefeated WCC road record will be put to the test this weekend when they head to the Northwest to face Portland and Gonzaga. LMU will face the Pilots on Friday night, and take on the Zags on Sunday afternoon. Gametracker is available for Sunday's game on www.LMULions.com.

Burling Comes On Strong
Last Sunday, senior Bobby Burling started his 13th game of the season. The only difference was it was his first game at forward in almost 12 months. After spending three years as a forward, Burling has been playing central defense this season, and he has shined. The defense allowed less than one goal per game after the first six games of WCC play. But the Lion offense struggled to get momentum, so the coaching staff moved Burling back to his familiar position of forward for Sunday's game. That moved paid off, as Burling scored twice in the first eight minutes of the game to help lead LMU to a 3-2 win.

About Portland
The Pilots are 5-6-2 this season, and are in seventh place in the conference with a 2-5 WCC record. Portland has lost three straight, including a sweep by Gonzaga last weekend. The last three losses have all had 2-1 scores. After recording shutouts in three of its first four games, Portland has allowed 10 goals in the last five games. Christopher Sanders leads the team in scoring with six goals and one assist and Alex Elliott has five goals this season. Luis Robles has a 0.97 GAA with four shutouts. Portland picked up a victory in the first meeting between the schools, using an LMU own goal for the 1-0 win.

About Gonzaga
The Bulldogs are 6-5-2 on the season and sit in fourth place in the conference with a 3-3-1 record. Gonzaga is just one point behind LMU in the standings after winning its last three games. After starting WCC play 0-3-1, GU defeated SMC 4-0 and then beat Portland by identical 2-1 scores in two games last week. John Reha assisted in three of the team's four goals last week and was named the WCC Player of the Week. George Josten leads the team in scoring with eight goals and four assists. Reha has two goals and seven assists this year. Vito Higgins has a 1.40 GAA with three shutouts. LMU defeated the Bulldogs 1-0 in the first meeting, using a penalty kick to secure the home win.

Balanced Lions
Nine different players have scored goals this season, and 16 different players have registered points. 27 players have seen the field this season, and 24 players have started a game.

Looking Back
LMU earned four hard fought points over the weekend against San Diego, rallying for a tie in the home game, and opening quickly for a 3-2 win in San Diego. In the home game, USD scored in the opening minute and held the lead until the 88th minute. Bobby Burling earned a penalty kick, and Diego Barrera converted to tie the game and send it to overtime. Neither team scored in the extra time, and the Lions earned one point for the tie.

Sunday's game was a different story as it was LMU that jumped out to the early lead. Bobby Burling scored in the third minute, and Wilkie Johnson gave LMU a 2-0 lead in the sixth minute. Burling added his second goal of the day and gave LMU a 3-0 advantage in just the eighth minute. San Diego rallied with a goal in the 20th minute, and another one in the 39th minute, but LMU held on for the win.

Offense Rebounds Against USD
After scoring five goals in its first six WCC games, LMU's offense rebounded with a three goal performance against San Diego on Sunday. In fact, LMU scored all three of its goals in a six minute span in the first 10 minutes of the game. Bobby Burling moved from his position at central defender to a forward spot and scored two of the team's three goals.

Defense Shines In WCC Play
LMU's GAA in WCC games rose to 0.94 after its weekend with San Diego, but the Lions limited the nation's top scoring team to just three goals in two games last weekend. LMU's defense has been stellar this season, and the Lions have allowed more than two goals just twice this season.

Ybarra Eyes WCC Record
With his assist in the 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.

Burling Climbs the Charts
With two goals against San Diego, Bobby Burling now has 44 career points and moves into sole possession 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 15 career goals, alone in sixth place all-time. Burling spent his first three years with the Lions at the forward position, and has split time at defense and forward this year.

Looking Ahead
The Lions return to Sullivan Field for their last home weekend of the regular season. LMU hosts Saint Mary's on Friday at 3:00pm, and will honor its eight member senior class in a ceremony before Sunday's game against Santa Clara. The game against SCU is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm.

Keeping the Fans on Their Toes
After 14 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 six 1-0 games, going 2-4 in those contests.

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 appears as "Danny Doran" in the movie "The Guardian" which opened on September 29th 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
The conference race is still up for grabs, and the Lions are still in the hunt for the title. Santa Clara sits in first place with 14 points after seven games, while USF is in second place with 12 points after six games. LMU has earned 11 points in its first seven games, while Gonzaga has come on strong to move into fourth place with 10 points. SMC earned one point last week and has eight for the season, while San Diego sits in fifth place with seven points. Portland is just one point behind with six points this year.

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 is second on 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.

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.

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 10 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.