SEASON REVIEW: Lions Break Records in 2007
Mallia's first season a success
June 19, 2008
The 2007 season had its ups-and-downs for LMU but will go down as one of the program's most successful campaigns. In Head Coach Joe Mallia's first season, the Lions went 12-6-1 overall and 4-3-0 in the West Coast Conference to tie for third. The WCC was awarded three teams into the NCAA Tournament but the Lions were not one of them as they were denied a second consecutive postseason berth.
The start of Joe Mallia's first season at LMU was not quite what he expected as the Lions were slow out of the gate. With only a few weeks of pre-season practice under their belts and dealing with a rash of injuries, the Lions failed to score in their first four matches. After a 1-0 loss in the season opener at UC Santa Barbara, LMU returned home to face Dayton, only to suffer another 1-0 loss, this time on a goal with 1:54 left in the second overtime period. The following week at the Hoosier Classic in Bloomington, IN, LMU battled to a 0-0 draw with hosts Indiana before succumbing 3-0 to Maryland.
Still trying to find their bearings, the Lions looked forward to their home tournament, the Four Points Sheraton Culver City Classic, which would be the start of a string of seven of the next eight matches at Sullivan Field. After almost 400 minutes of goalless soccer to start the season, all it took was one to open the floodgates. Twenty-eight minutes into game number five, the Lions finally got on the board when senior Jamie Bell gave LMU a 1-0 lead against Lamar. With the shutout monkey off their backs, the Lions started scoring at-will. Three more goals came in the final five minutes of that first half and the Lions pounded in five more in the second half for a record-setting 9-0 victory. Junior Lauren Shanklin finished the game with two goals and an assist as seven different Lions found the back of the net. All of a sudden, LMU had found its scoring touch, following the nine-spot with a 3-0 shutout of Michigan to claim their home tournament title. LMU made it three straight wins the next week with a 2-1 overtime victory at Cal State Fullerton that served as some measure of revenge for the veteran Lions who had been eliminated from the 2006 postseason by the Titans. Bell netted the game-winner in the 97th minute.
A five-game home stand saw the Lions settle into a comfortable rhythm. Five home games. Five wins. Four shutouts. By the time LMU concluded its non-conference schedule by dispatching Sacramento State 2-0 on October 7, LMU had outscored its opponents 11-1 on the home stand and built its record to 8-3-1.
The home non-conference success would mean nothing, however, as LMU opened the WCC schedule with three consecutive road contests. Sophomore Lacey Bartels' penalty kick at Pepperdine accounted for all the scoring in that game while senior Joslyn Slovek preserved her fourth consecutive shutout, and LMU's ninth straight win, by saving a penalty with 25 seconds remaining on the clock.
LMU's winning ways came to an end with back-to-back losses at #11 San Diego and #9 Santa Clara. Bell had given the Lions the lead in both games with her fifth and sixth goals of the season, respectively, but the Lions were unable to hold on against the ranked competition. Below .500 in conference play, the Lions entered their final home stand needing wins to keep pace in the standings. After falling behind 1-0 to Saint Mary's, Bell pulled the Lions even and freshman Lily Sorentino snapped the mini-losing streak with an overtime game-winner. Two days later, the Lions dealt with San Francisco by a 3-0 margin, setting up Senior Day against Gonzaga. Two seniors were instrumental in closing out the home campaign, with Bell recording her eighth goal of the season and Slovek her tenth shutout as an emotional crowd said thanks and goodbye to LMU's four seniors. An upset victory at third-ranked Portland in the season finale would have all but assured the Lions of a postseason spot but it was not in the cards, 2-0. Even so, the Lions had reached a dozen victories for just the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2000, while the tie for third place in the WCC standings was its second-highest finish ever.
Lions Land High in WCC Standings
LMU's 4-3-0 WCC record was good enough to tie with Santa Clara for third place in the standings on 12 points. San Diego finished second with 16 points and Portland claimed its ninth conference title since 1992 with 21 points. The third-place finish for the Lions was their second-highest placing ever, trailing only the 2000 campaign, when they were runners-up.
Mallia One Shy of Century
LMU's victory against San Francisco was the 99th career win for Head Coach Joe Mallia. Eighty-seven of Mallia's wins came at Loyola College (Md.), with the last 12 here at LMU. Mallia will enter the 2008 campaign needing a single victory to reach the century mark for his coaching career.
Home Sweet Home
After dropping its first home match of the season, LMU rattled off ten straight victories at Sullivan Field, shattering the school record of three held on many occasions. It's not just that they were been winning, it's also how they won as the Lions have outscored visitors 29-2 and only trailed once. Eight of the ten victories came via shutout and only one (the match against Saint Mary's) was as close as a single goal. Before conceding the goal against Saint Mary's, LMU had a streak of almost 300 minutes without giving up a goal at home.
Winning Season Secured
LMU finished with a winning record for the second straight season and fourth time in the past five years. It was also the Lions' eighth winning season in its 15-year existence. This marks the second consecutive year that they have double-digit wins and the fourth time in the past six seasons. The 12 victories tied for the second-most in school history, alongside the 1998 and 2000 squads. The school record of 13 wins was set in 1999.
In addition to the school-record ten straight home wins, LMU also tied the mark for most consecutive games with at least one goal. Before being shutout in the season finale at Portland, LMU got on the scoreboard in each of its previous 14 games, tying the record set over two seasons from 1998-99. This year's streak broke the single-season record of 13 games set in 1997. LMU also had a 12-game streak to open 1999, which, when coupled with the final two games of 1998, can be extended to 14 games bridging two years.
The Lead's the Thing
Much of LMU's success during its winning streak was due to getting and holding a lead. The team was 10-2-0 this year when scoring first and 3-2-0 when leading at halftime.
Goals, Goals, Goals
LMU scored 34 goals, the second-most in a single season in program history and the third 30+ goal season in the program's 15-year existence. The school record of 40 goals was set in 1999. LMU also topped 30 goals with 31 in 1995.
Bell of the Ball
Senior Jamie Bell never stopped scoring; her game-winning goal against Gonzaga was her team-leading eighth of the season, breaking her career-high of seven set last year. With her three assists on the season, she also set a new career-high with 19 points. Bell finished fifth in the WCC in goals and sixth in points.
It's not just that she's scoring goals, it's the timing of them. Four of Bell's eight goals were game-winners and she would have had a fifth GWG if not for Idaho's late consolation goal. Six of the eight gave LMU the lead and one pulled them level. She was third in the WCC in GWG.
Bell concluded her excellent career with 16 goals, tying her for fourth on the LMU all-time list. Her 41 points tie for fifth.
Bell scored back-to-back game-winning goals against Cal State Fullerton and Fresno State to earn her first career WCC Player of the Week award on September 24. It was the first honor for the Lions in 2007 and started a streak of three straight POW awards for LMU.
Slovek: The Gloved One
You would think this piece would get old but it never does. Senior GK Joslyn Slovek continued to prove herself to be one of the top goalkeepers on the West Coast, if not in the nation. Slovek recorded nine shutouts in her last 16 matches and had ten overall in 2007, setting a new career high and leading the conference. Her goals-against-average this season was a paltry 0.72, fifth in the WCC, while her 71 saves ranked her sixth. Slovek concluded the year ranked 37th in the nation in GAA and 52nd in save percentage (0.835).
Slovek has planted herself firmly in the LMU career record books. Her 28.5 career shutouts and 267 career saves rank her second on the LMU career charts while she became the school's all-time leader in minutes played against Gonzaga, now at 5,963 minutes played. Her career goals-against-average turned out at 0.89, mere decimal points behind Tracy Sharp's record of 0.88.
Slovek earned her second career WCC Player of the Week award on October 1 after leading the Lions to their school-record sixth consecutive win and posting her fifth shutout of the season in the process.
On November 1, Slovek was selected as one of three Lions to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII Third Team. She was joined by Katie Osborne and sophomore Kim Feeney.
At the annual LMU Iggy Awards, Slovek was presented with the LMU Pride Award and the Sr. Raymunde McKay Service Award.
Ozzy! Ozzy! Ozzy!
Bell couldn't do it all herself and in classmate Katie Osborne, she had a formidable strike partner. Osborne was second on the team with five goals, a new career-high. Her 12 points also were a career-best.
Ozzy earned the WCC Player of the Week award for October 8 after scoring the game-winning goal against Hawai'i and adding assists in that game and versus Sacramento State.
Save for a goalless blip in 2005, Osborne has been steady, scoring three goals in 2004 and four in 2006. Her 12 career goals tie her for tenth all-time at LMU while she moved into sole possession of tenth on the points list with 29.
On November 1, Osborne was selected as one of three Lions to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII Third Team. She was joined by senior Joslyn Slovek and sophomore Kim Feeney.
Freshmen Chip In
Freshmen Lily Sorentino and Gabby Parisella provided fine support for the seniors, with each tied for third on the team in points with 10. Sorentino had a team-high six assists and Parisella was second on four. Sorentino's six assists led the team and was tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in LMU history.
WCC Awards Pile In
A school-record seven players were awarded with All-West Coast Conference honors when the postseason accolades were handed out in November. For the first time in school history, two Lions earned places on the First Team, with seniors Joslyn Slovek and Jamie Bell awarded top honors. It was Slovek's second consecutive year on the First Team.
Sophomore Tiffany Harrison was the lone Lion representative on the Second Team, following up her All-Freshman Team honors from 2007, but four players highlighted the Honorable Mention category. Redshirt junior Stefanie Baduria gained her first conference accolade while sophomore Kim Feeney was Honorable Mention for the second time. Senior Katie Osborne and freshman Lily Sorentino also were named Honorable Mention for the first time in their careers. In addition, Sorentino was recognized with a spot on the All-Freshman Team.
Getting It Done In the Classroom
Their athletic success notwithstanding, the Lions also showed that they were talented in the classroom, too. Three players were named to the ESPN The Magazine/College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) District VIII All-Academic Team; three were National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Scholar All-West Region selections; and five were awarded with places on the Fall Academic All-WCC team.
Seniors Joslyn Slovek and Katie Osborne led the way by being selected to all three categories. Redshirt junior Stefanie Baduria (WCC and NSCAA) and sophomore Kim Feeney (WCC and CoSIDA) were each recognized twice while senior Jamie Bell was lauded once by the WCC.
Duo Honored at Hoosier Classic
LMU might have gone winless at the Hoosier Classic but it still managed to place a pair of players on the all-tournament team, with sophomores Tiffany Harrison and Kim Feeney earning the spots.
Lions Defend Home Turf
The LMU/Four Points Sheraton Culver City Classic was an opportunity for the Lions to showcase themselves in front of the home fans. Forget that LMU had not scored in its first four games of the season and focus instead on the 12-goal barrage that the Lions put past their two tournament opponents, Lamar and Michigan, en route to winning their home tournament.
LMU's 9-0 victory over Lamar set school team records for most goals in a game (nine), goals in a half (five in the second half), points (27), assists (nine), shots (36), and number of players with a goal (seven). The nine goals also broke the tournament record for goals scored by two teams.
LMU followed that up with a 3-0 blanking of Michigan, delighting the home crowd with three second-half goals. Senior Joslyn Slovek was named the tournament's Defensive Most Valuable Player with a pair of shutouts while Slovek, senior Katie Osborne, sophomore Leslie Grandy, and freshman Gabrielle Parisella were all named to the all-tournament team.
Seven to Join LMU Squad in 2008
Head Coach Joe Mallia has signed six players to join the Lions in 2008 with a seventh added to the team during the spring season. Teammates Erin Rementer and Brittany Sanford (Honolulu, HI) were in the quartet signed in February, along with the Northern California pair of Caroline Helfrich (Moraga, CA) and Marissa Zamora (Danville, CA). In April, Mallia added two more players in high school senior Jaide Timm-Garcia (Lancaster, CA) and junior college transfer goalkeeper Katie Graul (San Clemente, CA). Junior Alicia Martinez will also enter her first year with the Lions after playing with the team in the spring.
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