Soccer team heads to California for tourney

By By Matt Sanchez

By Matt Sanchez

The women’s soccer team (5-3) is in Los Angeles this weekend to take part in the four-team UCLA Women’s Cup. The Utes will first face off against the host team and No. 4-ranked Bruins (4-1-1) Friday night at 7 p.m. This will be the second meeting between the two teams, with the Utes getting a 2-1 upset victory over then-No.7 UCLA in 2004.

“UCLA is as good as anybody in the country,” said head coach Rich Manning. “They will give us a huge challenge with their speed and ball movement. I am looking forward to seeing how the team responds.”

After taking a 7-2 loss on the road to No. 1 North Carolina and a 1-1 draw to No. 15 San Diego in its first two games of the year, UCLA has since ripped off four straight wins. Two of those victories came against Top 25 teams Illinois and Florida. Of those four wins, three were shutouts.

The Bruins are led on offense by sophomore forward Sydney Leroux, who has already netted six goals and registered an assist for 13 points on the season. Senior forward Kristina Larsen has four goals and three helpers (11 points), and senior Lauren Cheney, a 2008 Olympic gold-medal winner as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, has scored twice.

In the goal, redshirt sophomore Chanté Sandiford has played the majority of time, allowing just two goals and making 15 saves. She comes into the weekend with a goals-against-average of 0.39 and a save percentage of .882, leading to a 2-0-1 record with three shutouts.

The Bruins are coached by Jillian Ellis, now in her 11th season at the helm. Ellis is the third-winningest active head coach in Division I (by percentage) with a career record of 214-52-11 (.792), including 10 years at UCLA and two at Illinois.

Utah will then play Loyola Marymount (4-3) on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to wrap up its California trip.

The Utes are 0-1-1 all-time against LMU, including a 0-0 draw last year, with both matches being played on the Lions’ home turf. The previous result was a 1-0 victory for LMU in 2005.

Loyola Marymount is looking to bounce back from two straight losses last weekend, falling in overtime at Oregon, 3-2, then dropping a 2-1 decision to Oregon State on a neutral field. All four of LMU’s wins have come by way of a shutout. Conversely, when allowing at least one goal, the Lions are 0-3.

“We played at Loyola last year and they were so fast,” said senior Kelly Isleib. “They play really disciplined soccer and will not make many mistakes, so we need to come focused.”

LMU’s offense is paced by sophomore forward-midfielder Erin Rementer’s four goals. Junior forward Julie Gallaudet has scored once but registered a team-high of four assists, and junior forward-midfielder Gabrielle Parisella has found the back of the net twice.

Goalkeeper Allyssa Clark has played all 646 minutes between the pipes for LMU, making 34 saves for a .810 save percentage, and allowing eight goals for a 1.12 goals-against-average.

Loyola Marymount is coached by Joe Mallia, now in his third season leading the Lions. He has built a 26-15-4 (.622) record at LMU and holds a career mark of 113-60-13 (.642).

“I love these tournaments because they show me what the team is really made of,” Manning said. “I expect us to play well and focus on what we’ve worked on in practice. It should be fun.”

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