Natalia Ledezma's goal in the 52nd minute gave UCI a tie with Santa Clara
UC Irvine Women’s Soccer Wrap Up
The UC Irvine women’s soccer team suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Saint Mary’s on Friday, September 16. As much as I am tempted to play the “stats” game, we have to hold our hands up and admit that we just didn’t do enough to win the game. We played well, we created a lot of chances and on reflection we can be pleased with a lot of things. Dana Sanderlin (#11) was outstanding in every way. Her strength, fitness and desire to run at players with the ball was a joy to watch.
Jordyn Utvich (#18) came into the game for her first significant minutes of the season and showed how important it is to be prepared for your opportunity. She took hers with both hands. We will recognize the positives and as competitors we will look at all the ways that we can get better. We have already made changes that will improve us for the next challenge.
That next challenge is Portland on Thursday night here at Anteater Stadium (kick-off 7:00 p.m.) Portland has one of the leading programs in the country over the last few years, making this a fantastic opportunity to show what we are made of. We just finished our practice and I can tell you that the squad just played the most competitive 11v11 practice games I have seen in a long time.
If we bring that mentality on Thursday it will be a game you don’t want to miss. There is more competition for places on the starting XI than we have ever had and the team members are pushing each other every day to get better. Our coaching staff has discussed at least a dozen different line-ups for the game and we will wait until after tomorrow’s practice to make a final decision.
We will need every one of our fans cheering for the team on Thursday night so we hope you can make it. We have FREE noise makers for the first few hundred fans and since I have a feeling we could be close to breaking an attendance record you don’t want to be late.
The kick-off is at 7:00 p.m. but you would be smart to get there early. You are also encouraged to bring your own noise makers to the games. This is the first year that they are allowed at our stadium, so be a part of the atmosphere and bring your drums and vuvuzelas! Face painting and costumes are also strongly encouraged.
“UC Irvine Soccer Scarves” will also be available at a cost of just $20.00. Another great way to support the Anteaters.
Following the game there will be big screen movie presentation outside the stadium for which they need to turn off the stadium lights. Please help us clear the stadium as quickly as possible after the game so people don’t get stuck in the dark!
We will be traveling to play USD on Sunday at Torero Stadium so if you are in the San Diego we would love your support there too.
September 13 Wrap Up
The UC Irvine women’s soccer team had a great trip to Nor Cal this past weekend, with matches against Santa Clara and Stanford. There was a sellout crowd for the Friday game against Santa Clara for the opening game in their newly redeveloped stadium. I have never been at a women’s college soccer game where fans have been shut out and left begging for ticket holders to sell them their tickets! This really is a wonderful reflection of the direction that NCAA College Soccer is headed. The lesson? Build bigger stadiums!
The Anteaters came out with a lot of energy and established control early on. We possessed the ball with slick passing through the midfield, engineered by Judy Christopher (#20). You know that your holding center mid is having a good game when the opposition sends in a player to “man-mark” her! Our back four of Amanda Hardeman (#28), Coco Goodson (#23), Sarah Devine (#12), and Zoya Farzaneh (#14) once again played like warriors in front of freshman goalkeeper Jen Randazzo (#0). They have been outstanding all season. We went behind in the 38th minute from a corner but bounced back with a goal from Natalia Ledezma (#3) in the 52nd minute. Both teams had chances to win it, but we played out the entire overtime to record a tie. We were disappointed not to win the game, but a tie on the road against a top 25 ranked team is still something to be proud of. Mar Rodriguez (#15) is back from her trip to China for the World Student Games with Mexico and she played her role among other standouts in the midfield.
We faced Stanford on Sunday who were ranked #2 in the country and this morning were bumped to #1. This was one of the most disciplined performances we have seen from our team. Playing against such a talented team you have to be 100% focused on the task for 100% of the time. We had a game plan and the players worked so hard to implement every line of it. The team showed they have the capacity to play at this level and shut down each and every threat posed by a team loaded with national team players. We limited them to just one shot on goal in the first half and were only able to do that with the commitment and discipline of all 11 players playing their roles at a high level. We frustrated our opponents and we didn’t concede an inch of space. They made 8 substitutions in the first half which felt as if we played almost two whole teams in the first 45 minutes!
In professional soccer matches and matches you have seen on TV in the World Cup, teams are limited to just 3 substitutions (no re-entry) through the entire 90 minutes meaning that individual players must conserve energy to compete for the whole game. In college soccer, teams can use all the players on their roster (limited only in conference and post season to between 18 and 22) with the opportunity for one re-entry in the second half. This allows teams to play at a very high intensity for long periods by using multiple players.
We came out for the second half full of confidence and the score remained 0-0 until a pair of goals in the 71st and 73rd minutes put us 2-0 down. We fought back and created a couple of half chances but couldn’t get ourselves back into the game. The whole team battled their socks off and we are disappointed but proud of the way we competed with the #1 team in the country. We will learn some lessons and get better as a result.
Finally, congratulations to our Men’s Soccer team who were ranked this morning at #5 in the nation. This is a huge endorsement of the quality of soccer here at UC Irvine and we wish them continued success.
See you on the field!
Scott Juniper has been the women's soccer head coach at UC Irvinesince January 2006. In four seasons at the helm, Juniper put the Anteaters on the national map, leading the program to a historic 19-3-2 season and reaching NCAATournament for the first time in history in 2010. The women's soccer team concluded the season ranked No. 14 in the nation and second in California (NSCAA). For his efforts, Juniper was recognized as the 2010 Big West Coach of the Year andNSCAA West Region Coach of the Year. In the last four years, Juniper has compiled an overall record of 50-26-8.
In 2006, Juniper was hired as an assistant coach at UCI under April Heinrichs. Prior to joining the Anteater program, Juniper was an assistant coach for the UC Riverside men's soccer program for three seasons from 2003-05 and an assistant coach at the University of Bristol (England) from 1998 - 2002. Juniper earned his Bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Bristol (England) in 1998 and went on to receive his Master`s in sport and exercise science from the University of Bath (England) in 2002. His Master's thesis investigated group dynamics of elite soccer. Juniper's research was published by the English F.A. Coaches Association Journal in 2003 and "The Sport Psychologist" in 2006.
As a collegiate soccer player in England at the University of Bristol, Juniper was named both Freshman and Player of the Year in 1996 and was the leading scorer in 1996 and 1998. During that time, Juniper represented England Universities at the regional level. In 1995, he captained the Colchester Sixth Form College to a high school national title and in 2001 he was part of the National Championship winning team at the University of Bath. He also played for a number of semi-professional teams in England. Juniper holds the U.S. Soccer Federation "A" coaching license, UEFA "B" license, USSF National Youth License, NSCAA Goalkeeper license, and a Speed, Agility and Quickness trainer accreditation. He is also on the Cal South coach education staff, coaches with the Cal South and Region IV Olympic Development programs in addition to local clubs and community programs.
Juniper's Publications: Juniper, S. W. & Mellalieu, S. D. (2003). The Impact of Role States on Team Effectiveness. INSIGHT - The Football Association Coaches Association Journal, 4, Vol. 6, 59-61.