Sept. 21, 2009
San Bruno, Calif. - LMU junior Rafael Baca added to his 2009 honors on Monday with one he had yet to win when he was named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Week for September 14-20, the conference office announced. Baca's two goals on Sunday helped lead the 18th-ranked Lions to a 3-2 victory over #5 Dartmouth at the San Diego Nike Classic. The award is Baca's first of his career while he is the second straight Lion to take home the honor, following up redshirt freshman Max Young's recognition last week.
Baca (Lawndale, Calif.) increased his WCC-leading goals total to five with his second multi-goal outing of the season on Sunday. With LMU leading 1-0, Baca doubled the Lions' lead with his first goal of the day in the 52nd minute. After Dartmouth rallied back to tie the game with 10 minutes remaining, Baca notched his second game-winning goal of the year, striking a shot from the corner of the penalty box that lifted the Lions to the win. His performance earned him a place on the San Diego Nike Classic All-Tournament Team.
A Hermann Trophy candidate for the nation's best player, Baca leads the team and the conference with five goals and ten points in six games. His five goals have come on just 15 shots and equal his career-high set last year on 67 shots. He has now moved into the LMU career top-10 for goals, tying for ninth with 12, and his four career game-winning goals are tied for fourth all-time at LMU. Despite being named to the Preseason All-WCC Team this year, the All-WCC First Team last year, and to the Second and All-Freshman Teams in 2007, this is the first time that Baca has taken home the conference's weekly honor.
Thanks in part to Baca's heroics, LMU (4-2-0) is off to its best start since opening the 2002 campaign at 5-0-1. Thanks to its wins over UC Santa Barbara and Dartmouth, the Lions are 2-1-0 against ranked opponents this season and are featured in three national top-25 polls. LMU checks in at #18 in Soccer America's poll (dated Sept. 15), is 28th in the Top Drawer Soccer rankings (Sept. 21), and 30th in the College Soccer News national poll (Sept. 21). The NSCAA/adidas and Soccer Times polls will be released on Tuesday.
College Soccer News Top-30 National Poll
Top Drawer Soccer Rankings
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