Saturday Soccer: UCLA’s NCAA Tournament run ends & more

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Blushing Rose: UCLA midfielder Andy Rose missed UCLA’s first penalty kick in a shootout Friday and North Carolina marched into the College Cup final Sunday (AP Photo).

*It was a noble effort, but after twice taking the lead against top-ranked North Carolina Friday UCLA lost their nerve and the semifinal, yielding to the Tar Heels in the crap shoot of penalty kicks and denying them the chance to meet similar underdogs Charlotte Sunday in the championship game.

UCLA never really gave themselves a chance in the shootout, missing their first two PK’s and sealing their fate.

I watched the game in my local watering hole with a couple of fellow soccer fans (there’s something to be said for sitting there watching a game with an excellent porter in your hand rather than a laptop in a press box) and I’ll say this much: I agree with UCLA Coach Jorge Salcedo that it was an fun game to see, even if the result wasn’t what he wanted.

And I very much doubt we’ve seen the last of UCLA goalkeeper Brian Rowe who kept the Bruins in the game on several occasions with supurb stops. He was credited with nine saves.

*The other must-see game this weekend is the biggest one of the European season so far: Real Madrid-Barcelona at 1 p.m. on ESPND, ESPN Deportes and GolTV. There’s a nasty subtext to this game.

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Thursday Kicks: College soccer update & more

Continuing to get caught up on things:

*INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA will keep the men’s and women’s soccer College Cups at separate sites and on separate weekends.

The decision comes after two years of debating whether to combine the events.

Proponents contended it would cost less money to combine the championships.

Opponents argued that field conditions would be problematic and that it would could cause scheduling conflicts for conference tourneys and NCAA preliminary round games.

This year’s men’s College Cup will be held Dec. 9-11 in Hoover, Ala. The women’s College Cup is Dec. 2-4 at Kennesaw State, north of Atlanta.

*Loyola Marymount has announced it has signed nine male high school seniors to letters of intent including locals Juan De Rada, a midfielder from Canyon Country (Golden Valley High); Ryan Felix, a defensive midfielder from Corona (Santiago High); Jack McCracken, a midfielder from Manhattan Beach (Mira Costa High); Vince Paldino, a 6’2″ goalkeeper from Torrance (North High); and Dylan Seedman, a forward from Laguna Niguel (JSerra High) who plays with Paldino on the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy U-18 team.

*Lastly, the fifth annual Croatian Small Goals Tournament will be held once again on the Memorial Day weekend in San Pedro. Entries are now being accepted in competitive and recreational divisions. Info: Peter@Adriatictours.com

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LMU defender Kucera dies of natural causes

More on the Cupertino native from the school’s web site is here.

Friday Update

The Westchester school has issued this notification:

A memorial service honoring the life of men’s soccer player David Kucera will be held at Loyola Marymount’s Sacred Heart Chapel at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18. The service is open to the public.

David was due to begin the spring semester of his sophomore year at LMU when he passed away on Sunday, January 9 at his off-campus apartment in Marina del Rey. At this time, the cause of death is believed to be due to natural causes.

Kucera had recently completed his sophomore season as a member of LMU’s WCC-champion men’s soccer team. Named the team’s co-Most Improved Player in 2010, Kucera made eight appearances in the Lion uniform and was integral in LMU’s championship run by scoring his first career goal as the Lions rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Gonzaga 3-2 on November 7.

A native of Cupertino, California, Kucera was a four-year letterwinner at Monta Vista High School. He was born on April 2, 1991 and was a Dean’s List student majoring in Entrepreneurship. He is survived by his parents, Jan Kucera and Tara Jolley.

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Palos Verdes Estates’ Press named female college player of the year

i-d7341cf79f8bbf3fa1849c09ae4b7337-pressmug2.jpgIt’s a dream come true for the former two-time winner of the Daily Breeze player of the year award. Here’s more from the Associated Press:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Stanford’s Christen Press, a former Chadwick School standout, won the Hermann Trophy on Friday as the nation’s top women’s college soccer player.

Akron’s Darlington Nagbe won the men’s honor.

Press, a senior forward, scored 26 goals last season, the most in the nation and tying the Stanford record as the Cardinal reached the NCAA final, where it lost to Notre Dame. She will attend the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team camp that opens this weekend at Home Depot Center.

Nagbe, a junior forward and midfielder, helped the Zips win the NCAA title, the school’s first in NCAA competition in any sport. He had seven goals and 13 assists last season, and is among the top prospects in next week’s Major League Soccer draft.

For the first time in the history of the award, given by the Missouri Athletic Club, both winners were from the same schools as the previous year. Teal Bunbury, who went on to an excellent rookie season with the Kansas City Wizards, and Kelley O’Hara won last year.

The previous back-to-back winners of the men’s award from the same school were Duke’s Thomas Kain and John Kerr in 1985-86. The men’s award began in 1967 and the women’s award in 1988.

Notre Dame junior forward Melissa Henderson was second, followed by California senior forward Alex Morgan of Diamond Bar, whose goal in the first leg of a playoff gave the U.S. a 1-0 victory at Italy that helped the Americans qualify for his year’s Women’s World Cup.

Voting is done by NCAA Division I soccer coaches.

Press is the most prolific scorer in Stanford history, establishing the career record in goals (71), assists (41) and points (183), according to a press release from the college.

Stanford had an 67-0-1 record when Press had a goal or assist during her collegiate career.

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Press-ganged at College Cup

Notre Dame 1 Stanford

i-9cb0813ff7324e2b74a64ea350a8625b-NDstanfordsoccer.jpgShutout: This was about as close as Christen Press, left, got to the Notre Dame goal and any chance of scoring on goalkeeper Nikki Weiss Sunday at the NCAA championship (AP Photo).

Palos Verdes Estates’ Christen Press, the nation’s leading scorer, was held to just one shot on goal by a dominating Notre Dame midfield and defense and Stanford lost for the first time this season in the College Cup Sunday in North Carolina.

It’s the second consecutive College Cup final loss for Stanford and the second time in a row Stanford had gone through the season unbeaten only to fall at the final hurdle

Stanford was fortunate Notre Dame didn’t add one or two more, an excellent performance by freshman goalkeeper Emily Oliver keeping them in the game.

Press, Stanford’s all-time leading scorer, is a candidate for the Hermann Trophy, given to the nation’s best female college player; Stanford’s Kelley O’Hara won last year.

Game story

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