Oct. 10, 2006
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LMU will face San Diego twice this week to wrap up the first half and begin the second half of WCC action. The Lions will host the Toreros at Sullivan Field on Thursday at 4:00pm and head down to San Diego on Sunday at 2:00pm. LMU sits in third place in the WCC standings with a 2-2-1 record. Thursday's will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com with Toby Kennedy bringing you all of the action from Sullivan Field.
Defense Shines In WCC Play
LMU has a conference-low goals against average of 0.77 after five games. The Lions have allowed just three goals scored by their opponents those five contests. LMU's opponents have had 44 shots in five games, an average of just over eight shots per game, and only 16 of the 44 shots have been on goal. Rob Flores has the lowest GAA in the conference despite making the fewest saves per game. LMU has allowed more than one goal just once this season.
Eight 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.
About San Diego
The Toreros sit at 7-4 on the season and are 2-3 after the first three weekends of WCC play. San Diego swept the first weekend of action agianst Portland and Gonzaga, but dropped two contests on the road to Saint Mary's and Santa Clara. USF edged USD last weekend in the Toreros' only game of the week. San Diego was ranked as high as #10 in the nation after the first weekend sweep, but is not ranked in this week's polls. Earlier this season, USD recorded an 11-0 win over Rider, and the Toreros lead the nation averaging 3.0 goals per game. Ryan Guy leads the team in scoring with five goals and three assists. Ciaran O'Brien has four goals and four assists this year. Lance Friesz has a 1.17 GAA with three shutouts.
LMU dropped another close game, falling to San Francisco 1-0. The Dons scored the game's only goal during a scramble off of a corner kick in the 71st minute. LMU outshot USF 12-11, including a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal. But Geremy Uhl made six saves to record the shutout.
Offense Struggles Against WCC
While LMU's defense has been outstanding in conference play, its offense has struggled. LMU has scored four goals in five WCC games. The Lions were kept off the scoreboard in both of their losses, 1-0 setbacks. In fact, LMU has been shutout four times 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.
The Lions will head to the Northwest next weekend to face Portland and Gonzaga as they continue the second half of WCC action. LMU defeated Gonzaga in the first meeting, using a penalty kick for the 1-0 victory. Portland took advantage of an LMU own goal to leave Sullivan Field with a 1-0 win in the first meeting between the two teams this year.
Keeping the Fans on their Toes
After 12 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 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
As the first half of conference play wraps up, its very clear that "Balance" is the best word to describe the conference. Only one point separates third from sixth place in the conference right now. USF sits in first place with 12 points in six games after winning its last four. SCU has a 3-1-1 record (10 points), and LMU and SMC are tied for third with seven points. San Diego and Portland are just one point behind with six points, while Gonzaga picked up a win and a tie last weekend to earn four points.
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 leads the team in scoring with three goals and one assist this season.
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.
Burling Climbs the Charts
Despite being moved to defense for the 2006 season, senior Bobby Burling still continues to climb the LMU career points chart. With his goal against Rhode Island, Burling now has 40 career points and moves into a tie 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 13 career goals, alone in seventh place all-time. Burling spent his first three years with the Lions at the forward position.
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.
LMU in the Rankings
Following the win over then-#2 Connecticut, LMU moved into the national rankings for the first time in 2006. LMU was ranked #14 by Soccer America, its highest ranking. After the loss to Central Connecticut, the Lions fell out of all four national polls. LMU has flirted with the polls in recent weeks, receiving votes in the Soccer Times poll last week.
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 nine games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25.
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.
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.