Oct. 1, 2009
San Bruno, Calif. - A week after winning his first career West Coast Conference Player of the Week award, LMU junior Rafael Baca added to his 2009 honors on Thursday with the conference's Player of the Month honor for September. Baca has gotten himself and the Lions off to a hot start, leading the conference in goals and points while catapulting the Lions into the national rankings.
Baca (Lawndale, Calif.) showed in the opening month why he is deserving of being considered for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top individual award. A team captain, Baca has already equaled his career-high with five goals in LMU's first eight matches. Baca started the season off with a bang and hasn't slowed down since, leading the WCC in goals (5) and points (10) through the first month. He kicked off the 2009 campaign with both goals in the Lions' 2-1 season-opening win at San Diego State that snapped the program's 18-match road winless streak. On September 13, he scored the first goal in a 2-1 upset at #6 UC Santa Barbara that put the Lions into the top-25 for the first time this year. The following week, he had his second multi-goal outing of the season, scoring twice, including the game-winner with eight minutes left, as LMU upset #5 Dartmouth 3-2 at the San Diego Nike Classic. That performance netted him his first-ever WCC Player of the Week honor and a place on the Soccer America Team of the Week.
Thanks in part to Baca, the Lions posted their best non-conference season since 2004. The Lions finished non-conference play with a 5-3-0 record and have been ranked as high as 20th in the nation. They are currently receiving votes in two national polls. Baca is the first Lion player to be named the conference's Player of the Month since Patrick Sampson took home the award in September of last season.
LMU opens up WCC play this Friday, October 2, against defending conference champions San Francisco at 4 p.m. at Sullivan Field.
- GO LIONS -