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Lions Host #23 Gonzaga, Portland

Nov. 7, 2007

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This week
LMU (2-13-1, 0-8-0 WCC) vs. #23 Gonzaga (9-3-4, 4-1-4 WCC)Friday, November 9 • 3:00 p.m.Sullivan Field • Los Angeles, CA

LMU (2-13-1, 0-8-0 WCC) vs. Portland (7-4-5, 4-1-4 WCC)Sunday, November 11 • 2:00 p.m.Sullivan Field • Los Angeles, CA

This week, LMU plays its final two home matches of the season. Friday, the Lions look for their first WCC win, hosting #23 Gonzaga, who is tied with San Diego for second place in the West Coast Conference. Sunday's game takes on even more meaning for LMU's four seniors who will play their final match at Sullivan Field against Portland at 2 p.m.

Listen and follow live on the web
Loyola Marymount University, in conjunction with Stretch Internet, is proud to present, FREE, live audio broadcasts over the World Wide Web on www.LMULions.com. Just click on the "Listen" or "Archive" link next to the game of your choice (you will be automatically directed to download QuickTime if it's not yet installed on your computer). All broadcasts will be archived within 72 hours of their original airing and will include both the pre-game and post-game shows.All home games will also be available on Gametracker through the LMU website. Select road games will also be featured.

Media Guide
The 2007 LMU men's soccer media guide is available for download at www.lmulions.com. This is the only source of copies of the guide.

About Gonzaga (9-3-4, 4-1-4 WCC) • National Rankings: #23 (College Soccer News), #25 (Soccertimes)
Gonzaga recorded a win and a tie last week, shutting out San Francisco 1-0 on Friday and ending in a scoreless draw against Saint Mary's on Sunday. Against the Dons, John Reha's first goal of the season was all the Bulldogs needed to stay in the WCC chase, they are now in a three-way tie for second with Portland and San Diego. Reha's goal was assisted by George Josten and Bulldog keeper Vito Higgins recorded his fifth shutout of the season. On Sunday, the Bulldogs had plenty of opportunities to score against the Gaels but could not seem to find the net. Higgins registered his second shutout of the weekend and sixth of the season.Josten holds the team lead with five goals and seven assists for 17 points with Tye Perdidio and Grant Lundberg following second with three goals a piece. Goalkeeper Higgins has a 0.65 goals-against-average with 61 saves on the season.Einar Thorarinsson is in his 13th season as head coach in Spokane, going 110-95-16. Last year, the Bulldogs were 9-8-2, finishing third in the WCC with an 6-5-1 record. They bring back 19 letterwinners and ten starters.This will be the second meeting of the season between LMU and Gonzaga, with Gonzaga taking the victory at home in the first match, 3-1, on October 12. The Zags lead the all-time series 11-7-1.

About Portland (7-4-5, 4-1-4 WCC)
Portland stretched its unbeaten streak to five games, and moved into a three-way tie for second place with Gonzaga and San Diego in the WCC standings after beating Saint Mary's in overtime on Friday, 1-0, and handing San Francisco a 3-0 loss on Sunday. Alex Elliott provided the game-winning goal in overtime on Friday against the Gaels before assisting on a pair of strikes on Sunday en route to being named to the Soccer America National Team of the Week. Elliott, who leads the Pilots with five goals, has also dished out a conference-leading nine assists on the year. Frankie Lopez scored twice in Sunday's win against the Dons, marking the first career multiple-goal game for the freshman. Lopez is tied for second on the team with four scoring strikes on the season. Portland's freshman goalie Austin Guerrero turned in another solid performance for his seventh shutout of the season. Guerrero followed Friday's five-save shutout against the Gaels with seven saves against the Dons. Guerrero has not allowed a goal in the last 190 minutes played.Head Coach Bill Irwin is 43-40-13 in five seasons at Portland. The Pilots went 8-8-3 overall in 2006, with a 4-7-1 WCC record. They returned 21 letterwinners and eight starters.LMU gets its second shot at the Pilots this season after falling 5-2 at Portland on October 14. UP holds a 16-5-2 advantage in the all-time meetings.

Last Week Recap
LMU took to the road last week for a rare November non-conference match at Oregon State and then a trip to #3 Santa Clara. On Thursday in Corvallis, OSU scored seven minutes in through Nick Webb. Josh Cameron and Robby Christner linked in the build-up, crossing to Webb, who finished past sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Sampson. Had LMU gone into the break trailing by a single goal, the story might have been different but OSU added its second goal in the 44th minute. Collin Foster fed Justin Woodward three yards out to complete the day's scoring. LMU out-shot OSU 6-4 in the second half but suffered a blow in the 57th minute when senior Nick Blanco was sent off.Things did not fare much better at Santa Clara in a 3-1 defeat. SCU took the lead with 21 minutes remaining in the half on a Peter Lowry penalty kick after Jide Ogunbiyi was pulled down inside the box. LMU evened the score four minutes into the second half after sophomore Wilkie Johnson out-muscled his defender to gather in the loose ball and blast it into the goal for his second of the year. Given new life, the Lions pushed forward looking for the goal that would keep the upset hopes alive. Instead, Santa Clara went back on top in the 65th minute and completed the scoring six seconds from the final whistle.

Trini Gomez has been selected as one of 10 national candidates for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, an accolade recognizing excellence on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. After a national media panel pared the candidates from 20 to 10, it is now up to the fans to vote. Fan balloting will be conducted through November 21, with the winner announced at the Men's College Cup in December. Just go to the men's soccer home page at www.LMULions.com and click on the "Vote for Trini" link to be redirected to the ballot. Fans are limited to one vote per computer per day.

Score Prediction? My Money is on 1-0
Through 16 games this year, the most prevalent scoreline for the Lions has been 1-0, with six matches finishing with that narrowest of margins. Unfortunately for LMU, it has ended up on the wrong side of the result in the last five of those contests. Three of the 1-0 defeats came at the hands of ranked opponents. Last season, LMU also played six matches that ended 1-0, posting a 2-4 mark.

A Game of Two Halves
It may be one of the biggest clichés in soccer but in the case of the 2007 Lions, it is profound. Both of LMU's victories have come when the team is leading at the half but overcoming a deficit is not its strong suit, going 0-6-0 when trailing after 45 minutes. The problems can be traced further back as the Lions have yet to post a come-from-behind victory, going 0-11-0 when their opponents score the game's first goal.

Baca Rises to the Top
With his goal against San Diego, freshman Rafael Baca regained the team points lead. Baca's two goals are tied for the team lead while his seven points pace the attack. Baca has lived up to his billing as the South Bay Daily Breeze Regional Player of the Year. One of just two players to start all 16 games thus far, Baca displayed his skills in the early going but had nothing to show for it. After a pair of assists in the upset win over #7 Harvard that earned him all-tournament honors, Baca finally found the net himself at #23 Gonzaga, scoring his first collegiate goal to tie the game at 1-1. His three assists leads the team and is tied for eighth in the WCC. He is second on the team in minutes played with 1,351.

Stisser Strikes
Junior Brad Stisser is tied atop the LMU goals list after his free kick against San Francisco. Both of Stisser's goals this year have come off of free kicks. He had the game-winning goal on a free kick to lift the Lions to a 1-0 upset win at #17 New Mexico and supplied the assist on the first goal in the win over #7 Harvard. For his efforts, he earned All-Tournament honors in New Mexico.Stisser has six goals on the Bluff since transferring in from Coastal Carolina in 2006, the most in that time frame among active Lions. Three of his goals have been game-winners.

Lane is the "Mane" Man in Goal
The competition was fierce for the starting goalkeeper job during preseason training but redshirt freshman Patrick Lane has proven that he was the right man for the job. Lane has a pair of shutouts and has done an outstanding job of keeping the Lions in tight matches against ranked opponents. His two victories have come over ranked foes (#7 Harvard and #17 New Mexico) and he has been named to two all-tournament teams (Nike/TLC Plumbing & Utility Invitational and LMU Invitational). Through 13 games, Lane has a 1.51 goals-against-average and has made 50 saves in 1191:59 minutes.

Wilkie Gives Offense Boost
Defender-turned forward Wilkie Johnson is beginning to find his footing as a striker, tying for the team lead with two goals. The sophomore has provided a big target up front for the Lions, linking up with Rafael Baca at Gonzaga and Portland, with each assisting on the other's goal. Johnson added his second goal of the year at #3 Santa Clara.

It Has to Be Mentioned...
LMU's current nine-match losing streak is the longest under Paul Krumpe and the longest in WCC play in school history. That being said, the 2007 Lions have a long way to go to set the school record for futility, as the LMU program once lost 15 consecutive matches in 1990. The program record for most shutouts against in a season is 10, set in 1988.