Lions To Enjoy Home Advantage in New-Look WCC

LMU's top scorer returns in sophomore Tawni Martino. (Photo by Scott Cunningham)

July 13, 2011

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LOS ANGELES - LMU will celebrate the new-look West Coast Conference in 2011 with a dozen home matches, Head Women's Soccer Coach Joe Mallia announced Wednesday. The Lions will play seven non-conference games at Sullivan Field before WCC play begins and will host several perennial top-25 programs, including UCLA, Portland, and Santa Clara. Additionally, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the university, the Lions will designate their October 9 game against Gonzaga as the Centennial Celebration Game.

"As usual we have put together a tough non-conference schedule to go along with the always-difficult WCC schedule," Mallia said. "Our non-conference schedule is tailored to prepare us for the rigors of our conference play."

That tough non-conference slate starts with five consecutive games against teams with winning records from 2010. In total, the Lions will face 16 teams with winning records and 13 teams that won 10-or-more games, including seven teams that appeared in the 2010 NCAA Championships. LMU's 2011 opponents went a combined 214-150-49 in 2010, a .577 winning percentage.

Fans wishing to see all 12 home games can take advantage of LMU's new 2011 Fall Sports Pass, which enables purchasers to get into all home Men's and Women's Soccer, Volleyball, and Men's Water Polo games for the low price of $30. Included in the price will be an "LMU at 100" Centennial Scarf, which will be used as the ticket for the games. To order a 2011 Fall Sports Pass, click on the link at the top of this page.

The Lions will open the season with a two-game Texas swing, starting August 19 in Austin at the University of Texas. The Longhorns won 11 games in 2010 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in the last 10 years. LMU will be looking to replicate its only other meeting with UT, a 1-0 win in Austin in 1999. The season-opening trip concludes on August 21 with the first-ever meeting against Texas State, a 12-game winner last season in the Southland Conference.



After that initial road trip, the Lions will settle in at Sullivan Field for seven of the next eight games, starting with a four-game homestand. The home opener kicks things off on August 26 with a visit from Long Island University, a team that went 15-3-3 last season in the Northeast Conference. Next up is another NCAA Tournament team in Fresno State on August 28. The Lions are undefeated in their last three matches against the Bulldogs, who posted a record of 9-9-5 to reach the NCAA First Round in 2010.

Labor Day weekend will see the Lions welcome Rutgers and Cal State Bakersfield to Sullivan. Rutgers (Sept. 2) won 10 games last year and finished third in the Big EAST National Division while CSUB (Sept. 4) went 4-9-5 as an independent.

A short trip to Cal State Fullerton (6-13-0 in 2010) on September 9 gives way to a three-game homestand beginning September 11 against SMU, who went 12-7-3. That will be followed on September 17 with UCLA's first visit to LMU since 2004. The Bruins, who won 13 games last season and made it to the NCAA Third Round, has advanced to the College Cup seven times since 2003. The homestand concludes the following Friday, September 23 against Cal State Northridge, who was 12-9-0 in 2010.

"The non-conference stretch of seven out of eight home games will be a time where we will expect to build a lot of confidence and get results," Mallia said. "However, with the quality of teams we are bringing to Sullivan Field, we will need to be sharp."

The early non-conference schedule will conclude on October 2 at UNLV, yet another team that posted double-digit victories by going 11-8-1 last season.

Long an eight-team conference, the WCC will add a team for the first time since 1994 with the addition this year of BYU. The Cougars have been to the NCAA Tournament 13 of the last 14 seasons and, had they been members of the WCC last season, would have given the conference four teams in the postseason.

"We are excited about the addition of BYU to our conference play this fall," Mallia said. "To be the best you have to play the best and that was always evident in WCC play and with BYU in the mix, we have added another top-25 program. I believe it is truly a positive addition to our conference and it is necessary to keep our conference competing at the national level it has for years. We welcome their addition and look forward to the challenge of playing them."

The first two weekends of WCC play will see the Lions needing to stay fresh with a combination of home and away games. The WCC slate opens on October 7 with the Lions on the road with a Friday night game at San Francisco before making the quick turnaround to host Gonzaga in the Centennial Celebration Game on October 9. The following weekend, it's back to the Bay Area to face Saint Mary's on October 14 to lead into a PCH Cup rivalry game on Sunday, October 16 against Pepperdine at Sullivan Field.

The final push of the schedule will be a tough one as the Lions close out with four straight conference games against 2010 NCAA Tournament teams. LMU's first-ever trip to Provo to face BYU on October 20 is followed by the road finale at San Diego on October 23. The Lions will host reigning WCC champions Portland on October 28 and Santa Clara on October 30 before concluding the regular season with a non-conference game on November 5 versus Seattle, who was 12-5-2 last year as an independent.

LMU is coming off a 2010 campaign that saw the Lions post an overall record of 10-6-2 to record their fifth straight 10-win season, a new school-record.



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