August 31, 1998
Friday, September 4 Butler Bloomington, Ind. 5:00 p.m. CT Saturday, September 5 at #3 Indiana Bloomington, Ind. 7:30 p.m. CTBEARS OPEN SEASON ON THE ROAD: After finishing the 1997 season with an 11-6-1 overall record, the California men's soccer team opens the season on the road against Butler Sept. 4, at 5 p.m., and Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m., against third-ranked Indiana at the Indiana-Adidas Metlife Classic.
ABOUT BUTLER: After posting a mediocre 9-9-1 record and only a 4-2-1 mark in Midwestern Collegiate Conference play, Butler surprised everyone by winning the 1997 MCC title. In the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs took undefeated, untied and No. 1 Indiana to three overtimes before losing 2-1. The Bulldogs are coached by Ian Martin (Florida International '82) and led on the field by striker Stephen Armstrong, the Bulldogs' top returning scorer (12G, 3A) from last season.
ABOUT INDIANA: Indiana is ranked in the pre-season polls No. 2 and No. 3 by Soccer America and the NSCAA, respectively. Last year, the Hoosiers suffered its only loss of the season in the NCAA semifinals with a 1-0 overtime decision to eventual-champion UCLA, finishing the year 23-1. Last November, Indiana came to Berkeley ranked No. 1 and defeated California, 3-1. Ukranians Dema Kovalenko, Aleksey Korol and Yuri Lavrinenko (40 goals and 24 assists combined) return for their junior year. Indiana coach Jerry Yeagley enters his 25th year at the helm.
CHALLENGING SCHEDULE: California's 1998 schedule is one of the toughest in the country. The Bears play three of the final four teams from 1997 (UCLA, Indiana and St. Louis), six pre-season top-10 ranked teams and the last two NCAA champions in UCLA (1997) and St. Johns (1996).
TOP RETURNERS: The Bears return 16 letterwinners, including 10 players who saw significant starting time from last season's team that took third place (2-2 record) in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's Mountain Division. The returning starters include the team's top-three returning scorers: junior midfielder Justin Bell(Manhattan Beach/Loyola HS-- 6G, 2A), sophomore forward Kendall Simmonds (Simi Valley, Royal HS -- 5G, 4A) and junior forward John McDonald (Granada Hills, Alemany HS -- 5G, 2A). Returning to the Bears backline are: junior Chris Sawicki (Northridge, La Canada HS) at sweeper, Derrick Dyslin (La Canada/La Canada HS) and Doug Juday (Modesto, Johansen HS). In the midfield: senior John Beck (Fredericksburg, VA/James Madison HS), an All-Ivy League selection at Brown in 1995, returns from a broken leg as the team's playmaker along with senior Brandon Moggio (Northville, MI/Detroit County Day), and junior J.V. Ganal (Los Gatos, Bellermine Prep). In goal, the Bears return Doug Brooks (Succasunna, NJ/Roxbury HS), who according to coach Mallon is one of the top-five keepers in the country.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH: Three newcomers to watch this year include sophomore defender Michael Congiu (Chicago, IL/Wheaton North HS), a transfer from Wisconsin, who according to coach Mallon is a blue-collar worker that will add a lot of depth to the Bears' backline. Freshman wing midfielder Brian Purcell (Barrington, RI/Barrington HS) was a Parade and NSCAA high school All-American. Freshman Chris Roner (Novato) is expected to add punch in an attacking midfielder role and is one of Cal's best players in the air.
HEAD COACH: Mark Mallon returns for his sixth season as head coach of the Bears with a school and career record of 42-45-8. Last season, Mallon's squad jumped to a 4-0-1 mark and a No. 10 national ranking before a series of injuries effected his team's play. Mallon is joined by first-year assistants Manoj Khettry, Peter Woodring and Drew Leonard.
EXHIBITION VS ALUMNI: California wrapped up its second of two exhibition games with a 5-2 win over an alumni squad Saturday at Witter Field. The current Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of goals by McDonald, Beck and Simmonds. The alumni got on the board first in the second half to cut the lead to 3-1. Roner and Purcell sandwiched another alumni goal to round out the scoring.