Dec. 8, 2010
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Senior Rafael Baca and junior Roger Downes gained places on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Far West Region teams, the organization announced Wednesday. Baca was named to the First Team while Downes earned a spot on the Third Team.
Baca (Lawndale, Calif.) becomes the first Lion player to earn three All-Region honors from the NSCAA in his career, having been on the Second Team last season and the Third Team in 2008. The senior capped his stellar career by becoming just the second LMU player ever to earn three consecutive All-West Coast Conference First Team honors. Baca led the league with eight assists, tied for second-most in a single season in LMU history. He added three goals and tied for fifth in the WCC with 14 points. Baca leaves LMU as number two in career games played (79), shots (213), and assists (19), third with 57 points, and fourth with 19 goals. A Preseason All-WCC selection, he earned WCC Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career on November 8 after scoring notching his third career two-goal game at Portland. Baca was also on the Wildcat Invitational All-Tournament Team and is the 10th-ranked player in the nation according to TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Baca is the sixth Lion in program history to earn First Team All-Far West Region honors and the first since Matt Kovar in 2004. His place on the First Team automatically puts him in the running for NSCAA All-American honors, which will be announced following the College Cup this weekend.
The 2010 West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Downes (San Clemente, Calif.) was the anchor of LMU's defense that finished the regular season with the second-lowest goals-against-average in the WCC and the third-lowest season GAA in program history at 1.07. Also a First Team All-WCC selection, Downes started all 20 matches and led the team in minutes played (1798), helping the Lions to post five shutouts, their most since 2004. His defensive leadership secured him a place on the Wildcat Invitational All-Tournament Team and a place on the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week for September 27-Oct. 3. He also added his first career goal in the season-opening victory over San Diego State. Downes was an All-WCC Second Team selection in 2008 and Honorable Mention last year and becomes the second LMU player to be named the WCC Defender of the Year, joining Matt Kovar (2004).
Baca and Downes are the first set of LMU teammates to be named All-Region since Bobby Burling and Diego Barrera in 2006.
LMU finished atop the WCC standings, sharing the regular season title with Santa Clara. With a 12-6-2 overall record and 8-3-1 in conference, the Lions secured one of their best seasons in school history. LMU's previous best finish in the WCC had been second place in 2004 while this year's eight conference wins matched the school record also set in 2004. LMU posted 12 victories during the regular season, its most since 2003 and second-most ever, and registered consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since 2003-04. The conference title is the first in men's soccer for LMU and the school's first since women's rowing and men's golf won the WCC crown in 2006.
Courtesy of LMU Sports Information