Sydney Leroux, a known quantity since she played for Canada in the FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup as a 14-year-old six years ago, might be the biggest name in SoCal college soccer, male or female.
She won the Golden Ball (as MVP) and Golden Boot (as top scorer) at the U-20 Women's World Cup two years ago, this time playing for the U.S., and scored five goals as the Americans got to the quarterfinals -- but disappointingly no further -- in this summer's U-20 World Cup.
She scored 23 goals last fall as UCLA reached its seventh successive NCAA College Cup final four, so she's certainly got everyone's attention, especially rival defenders.
Leroux, a junior forward from Vancouver, British Columbia by way of Phoenix, couldn't have asked for a much better start than in Friday's opener against what's supposed to be a pretty good Cal Poly side. She had a hat trick before halftime and finished with four goals as the Bruins romped to a 7-0 victory.
UCLA outshot the Mustangs, 29-2, and had half a dozen goals by halftime. Cal Poly, from San Luis Obispo, was picked to finish second in the Big West Conference preseason coaches' poll.
ANOTHER TO WATCH: There's a lot of buzz around UCLA's Dana Wall, who played a reserve role her first three seasons in the program. Word is she has taken giant steps during the spring and summer and was most impressive against Cal Poly. She set up Zakiya Bywaters' opening goal with a ricochet off the post in the eighth minute, then netted another two minutes later.
TROJANS STRUGGLE: The University of San Diego may never contend for a national title, but for years the Toreros have given better teams fits with their defensive organization and aggressive play. They did it again Friday, knocking off USC, 1-0, at McAlister Field.
The Women of Troy, with several pivotal players battling injury, started four freshmen and gave five extended playing time, but San Diego did a good job, coach Ali Khosroshahin said, of “disrupting the things we like to do. … We'll get better. This first one, it stings a bit.”
What also stung was injuries to U.S. youth national-teamer Samantha Johnson (Highland HS), who hyperextended her knee, and defender Chelsea Buehning, who suffered a knee injury that appeared to be more serious.
CAL BAPTIST'S STUNNER: Riverside's Cal Baptist, which wasn't ranked in the NAIA preseason poll, on Saturday shocked Sacramento State, an NCAA Division I team that College Soccer News has in its preseason top 30.
Tim Wardell knocked in a rebound of his shot with 33 seconds to play to give the Lancers a 2-1 victory. Osvaldo Bastida also scored, his second of the young season.
“We worked hard today and took the next step forward in our progression as a program ...,” Cal Baptist coach Ryan Jorden told his school's website. “The guys believe that we can play with anybody, and they stepped up to the challenge today against a very good Division I team.”
The Hornets, for whom this game was an exhibition, are No. 28 in CSN's ranking.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: It has to be Leroux. The Hermann Trophy hopeful, who we understand is getting a good look from U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage, netted her 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd career goals for the Bruins against a pretty decent side, no matter the ridiculous scoreline. Also looking good: Cal forward Alex Morgan (Diamond Bar HS), already a full national-teamer, who scored both goals in the draw with UC Irvine.
A FEW NOTES: UC Irvine finished off a productive first weekend with a 2-2 draw at No. 14 California, with Courtney Goodson scoring the equalizer in the 89th minute. Anteaters goalkeeper Danielle de Seriere (Mayfair HS) was the Big West Conference's Defensive Player of the Week. … Cal State Northridge gave No. 5 Portland a battle in a 2-1 loss. Sonia Espitia (St. Joseph HS in Lakewood) scored the Matadors' goal, and Cynthia Jacobo (Granada Hills HS) stopped a penalty kick. … Laura Cole (La Habra HS) converted an early penalty kick and Anisa Guajardo netted a second-half goal to lift Pepperdine past visiting Fresno State, 2-0, in its opener. ... Long Beach State got its first win Monday at Fresno State, a 1-0 decision on a goal by Nadia Link (Walnut HS) with a minute to play. … Concordia, an NAIA school in Irvine, went 3-0 on its season-opening trip to Oregon, with six different players scoring goals in wins over Evergreen State, Concordia-Oregon and Warner Pacific.
MEN'S KICKOFF: The Division I men's season begins Sept. 1, when four of the six local schools will play their openers: Loyola Marymount (home vs. San Diego State), Cal State Northridge (home vs. San Diego), UC Irvine (home vs. Gonzaga) and UC Riverside (at San Jose State).
UCLA and Cal State Fullerton will open with tournament games on Sept. 3 and 5. The Bruins, ranked fifth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll, will play Notre Dame and No. 20 Indiana at the Hoosiers' tournament, and Fullerton will meet St. Mary's and San Francisco at St. Mary's event.
Here are some coaches' preseason conference polls:
Pacific 10: 1. UCLA (5 first-place votes) 25 points; 2. Stanford (1) 20; 3. California 16; 4. tie between Oregon State and San Diego State 10; 6. Washington 9.
Big West: 1. UC Santa Barbara (6) 48; 2. UC Irvine (1) 43; 3. Cal Poly 28; 4. Cal State Northridge 27; 5. Cal State Fullerton 22; 6. UC Davis 17; 7. UC Riverside 11.
California Collegiate Athletic Association (Division II): South Division -- 1. Cal State Dominguez Hills (6) 58; 2. Cal State San Bernardino (4) 54; 3. Cal State L.A. (1) 47; 4. Cal Poly Pomona (1) 42; 5. UC San Diego 28; 6. Cal State East Bay 14. (Sonoma State was picked to win the North Division and conference tournament.)
CCAA women: South Division -- Cal State Dominguez Hills (6) 59; 2. Cal State L.A. (4) 55; 3. UC San Diego (2) 54; 4. Cal State San Bernardino 34; 5. Cal Poly Pomona 28; 6. Cal State East Bay 16. (Chico State was picked to win the North Division, and Cal State L.A. and UC San Diego were picked to win the conference tournament.)
NSCAA RANKINGS: Seven L.A.-area teams, all from the Golden State Athletic Conference, are ranked in the NSCAA's preseason NAIA polls.
The Master's (Santa Clarita) is No. 2, Biola (La Mirada) No. 8, and Azusa Pacific (Azusa) No. 13 in the men's poll. Lindsey Wilson College, from Columbia, Ky., which beat The Master's in last year's final, is No. 1.
In the women's poll, Azusa Pacific is No. 5, Cal Baptist (Riverside) is No. 8, Vanguard (Costa Mesa) is No. 12 and The Master's is No. 23. Two-time defending champion Lee University, from Cleveland, Tenn., is No. 1, and Golden State Athletic Conference favorite Point Loma Nazarene, from San Diego, is No. 2.
NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN
Sunday: UCLA 7 (Bywaters 8, Wall 10, Leroux 21, 39, 41, 85, Barnes 44), Cal Poly 0
This week: At Wisconsin Tournament -- Friday at Wisconsin, 5 p.m.; Sunday vs. Northwestern, 9 a.m.
Friday: USC 0, San Diego 1 (Savage 54)
This week: Friday at TCU, 5 p.m.; Sunday at Texas, 11 a.m.
BIG WEST CONFERENCE
CAL STATE FULLERTON (0-1-0)
Friday: CS Bakersfield 0, CS Fullerton 0, suspended, 33rd minute, lights failure
Monday: CS Fullerton 0, BYU 3 (Shumway 4, Marshall 9, Ringwood 83)
Next week: Sunday vs. Eastern Washington, 1 p.m.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE (0-2-0)
Friday: UC Santa Barbara 2 (Seidman 8, Simon 57), CS Northridge 0
Sunday: CS Northridge 1 (Espitia 58), Portland 2 (Capelle 31, 45)
Next week: Sunday vs. St. Joseph's, 1 p.m.
LONG BEACH STATE (1-1-0)
Friday: Long Beach State 0, BYU 2 (Shumway 47, Payne 54)
Monday: Fresno State 0, Long Beach St. 1 (Link 89)
Next week: At Texas A&M Tournament -- Friday vs. Washington State, 4:30 p.m.; Sunday vs. Virginia Tech, 10:30 a.m.
UC IRVINE (1-0-1)
Friday: UC Irvine 2 (Delarosa 30, Rafael 40), Idaho 1 (Small 58)
Sunday: California 2 (Morgan 18, 37), UC Irvine 2 (Kopf 34, Goodson 89)
Next week: Sunday vs. Seattle, 1 p.m.
UC RIVERSIDE (0-1-0)
Friday: UNLV 1 (Forrester 55), UC Riverside 0
Next week: Friday vs. Seattle, 7 p.m.
WEST COAST CONFERENCE
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (0-1-0)
Friday: California 2 (White 7, Shibata 74), Loyola Marmount 1 (Ha 86)
Next week: Friday vs. Denver, 4 p.m.; Sunday at Cal State Bakersfield, 7 p.m.
Friday: Pepperdine 2 (Cole pen. 7, Guajardo 69), Fresno State 0
Next week: At University of San Diego Tournament -- Friday vs. Michigan, 5 p.m.; Sunday vs. Arizona, 2 p.m.
Cal Baptist 3 (Garcia 49, Bastida 68, Fausto 89), La Sierra 0
Evergreen State 0, Concordia 2 (Mendoza 31, Coulter 68)
Sacramento State (exh.) 1 (Norton 7), Cal Baptist 2 (Bastida 40, Wardell 90)
Concordia-Oregon 1 (Madison 5), Concordia 3 (Castro 5, Suarez 21, Sad 57)
Warner Pacific 2 (Subasic 43, Parsons 78), Concordia 3 (Velasquez 6, 71, og Palmquist 58)
Vanguard 5 (Couch 9, Horning 32, Currier 41, 54, Tedeschi 87), Vancouver Island 0
Concordia-Oregon 5 (Thomas 22, McFadden 23, O'Laughlin 54, Hendrickson 55, Tebbs 73), Concordia 0
CS Dominguez Hills (exh) 2 (Murphy 49, 50), Azusa Pacific 2 (Cress 59, Sun 90)
The Master's 4 (Goff 19, Burton 23, Reyes 50, Estrada pen. 57), Roberts Wesleyan 0
Southern Oregon 2 (Young 22, Bricker 35), Concordia 4 (Partridge 28, 43, Hudson 38, Hook 68)
Roberts Wesleyan at Hope International, cancelled, lights failure
Warner Pacific 0, Concordia 7 (Hook 19, 58, Haynes 60, Hudson 69, Franco 72, O'Doherty 76, Partridge 79)
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
The Master's at Cal State L.A. (Los Angeles), 9 a.m. (exhibition)
Biola at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Carson), 7 p.m. (exhibition)
Cougar Classic at Azusa Pacific (Azusa): Westmont vs. Trinity Western, 2:30 p.m.; Azusa Pacific vs. William Jessup, 5 p.m.
Cal State San Bernardino at Concordia (Irvine), 3 p.m. (exhibition)
The Master's at Westminster (Utah), 5 p.m.
Cal Baptist at UC Riverside, 7 p.m. (exhibition)
La Sierra at Southwestern (Ariz.), 2 p.m.
Grand Canyon at Vanguard (Costa Mesa), 6 p.m. (exhibition)
San Diego State at Cal State Northridge, 7 p.m. (exhibition)
NILSA at Soka (Aliso Viejo), 7 p.m.
Cougar Classic at Azusa Pacific (Azusa): Westmont vs. William Jessup, 2:30 p.m.; Azusa Pacific vs. Trinity Western, 5 p.m.
Biola at Cal State San Bernardino, 4:30 p.m. (exhibition)
Cal State Fullerton Alumni game, 5 p.m.
The Master's vs. Benedictine (Kan.) at Westminster (Utah), 5 p.m.
La Sierra at Embry-Riddle (Ariz.), noon
Grand Canyon at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Carson), 2 p.m.
Concordia at Cal State L.A. (Los Angeles), 4 p.m.
Trinity Western at Biola (La Mirada), 4 p.m.
Hope International vs. Marymount College at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7 p.m.
The Master's at Cal State L.A. (Los Angeles), 11:30 a.m. (exhibition)
Cal Poly Pomona at Vanguard (Costa Mesa), 4 p.m. (exhibition)
Trinity Western at Azusa Pacific (Azusa), 3:30 p.m.
Biola at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Carson), 4:30 p.m. (exhibition)
St. Francis (Ind.) at Cal Baptist (Riverside), 11 a.m.
Grand Canyon at Soka (Aliso Viejo), 1:30 p.m. (exhibition)
Hope International Alumni game (indoor), HIU Gym (Fullerton), noon
Legends Academy at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Carson), 4 p.m. (exhibition)
St. Francis (Ind.) at Biola (La Mirada), 7 p.m.
The Master's at Grand Canyon (Phoenix), 7 p.m.
Concordia at Cal State L.A. (Los Angeles), 6 p.m. (exhibition)
La Sierra Blue/Gold Game (Riverside), 10 a.m.