Nov. 13, 2006
BERKELEY - Eleventh-ranked California (12-5-1, 7-3-0 Pac-10), selected as the 13th seed in its 13th NCAA College Cup, will host first-round winner New Mexico, the 2005 national runner-up, in a second-round match at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Edwards Stadium. The Golden Bears earned their sixth straight postseason berth and their second consecutive first-round bye on Nov. 6, when the NCAA selected the Bears as an at-large entrant in the postseason.
Seventh-year head coach Kevin Grimes, named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year last week for an unprecedented third time, has led the Bears to a 12-5-1 overall record, 6-2-0 home record and 7-3-0 Pac-10 record in 2006.
Under Grimes, Cal has a 4-5-1 record in the postseason. Overall, the Bears have a 4-12-1 record in the tournament.
Cal, coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at rival Stanford on Nov. 3, wrapped up the conference title on Oct. 29, when it beat UCLA, 4-1, in Los Angeles.
Despite winning the Pac-10 title, Cal did not receive an automatic bid to the 2006 postseason, as the Pac-10 does not have one this year. Twenty-two other conferences did qualify their champions automatically, while 26 teams, including the Bears, earned at-large bids to the NCAA Championship.
Including Cal, four Pac-10 teams were selected to the 2006 postseason field. UCLA earned a No. 8 seed and a first-round bye. The Bruins will host Harvard on Wednesday. San Diego State, meanwhile, lost to UC Santa Barbara in the first round, 2-1. Washington beat Creighton, 3-0, in the first round and will play Santa Clara in the second round on Nov. 15.
The NCAA College Cup concludes with the semifinals on Dec. 1 and the final on Dec. 3 in St. Louis, Mo.
Last Time against the Lobos...in the College Cup
Cal, on its best run into the NCAA College Cup in school history, saw that run end with a quarterfinal loss to host New Mexico, 1-0 in overtime, on Dec. 2, 2005, in Albuquerque, N.M. A crowd of 5,600 was on hand for that game, as the Bears ended the season with a 14-4-3 record (6-3-1 Pac-10).
Jeff Rowland scored the winning goal in the 94th minute for the Lobos, who tied Cal in shots, with 14 each. Cal senior goalkeeper Eric Kronberg made seven saves and Cal senior forward Calen Carr led the Bears with five shots.
Scouting the Lobos
New Mexico enters this game with a 14-3-3 record. The Lobos won the 2006 MPSF title, with an 8-1-1 mark, for the fifth time in the last six years. Last year, they lost to Maryland, 1-0, in the national final.
In the first round of the 2006 NCAA College Cup, New Mexico freshman Stephen Brown midfielder scored off a corner kick from junior midfielder Joey Vitagliano at the 89:42 mark to beat San Francisco, 1-0, on Friday, Nov. 10, in San Francisco. UNM junior goalkeeper Mike Graczyk made three saves, as the Dons outshot the Lobos, 13-12, to preserve the shutout. Sophomore defender Mike Porter picked up a yellow card at 19:19 against USF.
Sophomore forward Chris Wright leads the Lobos in scoring (15 points), goalscoring (6) and game-winning goals (tied with Brown and Vitagliano at 3 each). Freshman defender Zach Tierney leads UNM in assists (5).
Jeremy Fishbein is in his fifth year as head coach of New Mexico, at which he has a 75-19-11 all-time record.
Leading the Pac
Cal led the Pac-10 Conference in a variety of categories at the end of the regular season, including least goals allowed (15), least goals allowed per game (0.83), lowest goals-against average (0.82), most shutouts (8), least fouls (225), least offside (42, tied with UCLA) and least yellow cards (12).
Individually, Cal junior goalkeeper Justin Myers led the conference in three categories: lowest GAA (0.77), best save percentage (.804) and most shutouts (6, tied with San Diego State's Tally Hall and Washington's Rylan Hawkins).
Bears junior forward Javier Ayala-Hil finished second in the Pac-10 in five categories: points (22), points per game (1.22), goals (10), goals per game (0.56) and game-winning goals (4). Cal freshman midfielder Hector Jimenez tied with three players for fourth place in assists (5).
In the National Stats
As a team, Cal finished the regular season ranked 26th nationally in scoring offense (33 goals, 1.83 goals per game) and 28th nationally in winning percentage (0.694, 12-5-1 record).
Individually, Cal junior goalkeeper Justin Myers ranked 28th nationally in goals-against average (0.769).
In the National Polls
In the last set of national polls before the NCAA College Cup began, Cal was ranked No. 11 by the NSCAA/adidas poll, No. 10 by Soccer Times, No. 11 by College Soccer News and No. 11 by Soccer America.
Overall, the Bears were ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation, in the Oct. 24 NSCAA/adidas poll.
Grimes Named Pac-10 Coach of the Year
Cal head coach Kevin Grimes was named the 2006 Pac-10 Coach of the Year for an unprecedented third time on Nov. 9.
Grimes, in his seventh-year at Cal, is the only coach to have garnered the Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor in men's soccer more than once, having won in 2002, 2005 and 2006. Grimes has an overall record of 80-50-13 at Cal, and is only one of four Bears coaches to reach 50 wins in Berkeley.
Four Bears Picked for All-Pac-10 First Team
Cal junior forward Javier Ayala-Hil, senior midfielder Eric Ebert, senior midfielder Andrew Jacobson and senior defender Steve Purdy earned spots on the All-Pac-10 First Team.
Ayala-Hil leads Cal in scoring (22 points) goalscoring (10) and game-winning goals (4). The latter came against Dartmouth (Sept. 15), Sacramento State (Sept. 17), Washington (Oct. 15) and UCLA (Oct. 29). The 5-8 product of East Palo Alto also has two assists after starting in 18 of 18 games for the Bears.
Ebert, a three-year starter from Irvine, scored eight points (3 goals, 2 assists) and one game-winning goal, the latter coming in a 1-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 8). The 6-0 midfielder was All-Pac-10 honorable mention last season.
This is the second straight appearance on the first team for Jacobson, a 6-2 playmaker from Palo Alto who scored seven points (3 goals, 1 assist) this season. Two of his goals were game winners, against conference foes UCLA (Sept. 22) and Washington (Oct. 8).
The 6-4 Purdy, from San Jose, is Cal's second-leading scorer, with a career-high 12 points. He has also scored a career-high five goals, including winners against San Jose State (Sept. 9) and Oregon State (Oct. 13) along with two assists.
In addition to Ayala-Hil, Jacobson and Purdy gaining spot on the all-conference first team, six Bears collected honorable mention recognition: senior midfielder Nick Hatzke, freshman midfielder Hector Jimenez, freshman midfielder Imaan Kerchgani, junior goalkeeper Justin Myers, junior defender Luke Sassano and sophomore forward Jacob Wilson.
Ayala-Hil: Soccer America Player of the Week Nov. 1
Cal junior forward Javier Ayala-Hil, Cal's leading scorer, was named the men's Soccer America Player of the Week on Nov. 1, after scoring a hat trick in a 4-1 win over UCLA on Oct. 29 in Los Angeles that clinched the Pac-10 title for the Bears. He was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week for his performance.
The product of East Palo Alto, Calif., scored in the 12th, 58th and 77th minutes against the Bruins. His second goal was the game-winning strike.
Ayala-Hil leads the Bears in points (22), goals (10) and game-winning goals (4). He also has two assists.
Purdy Garners Pac-10, Soccer Times Honors
Cal senior defender Steve Purdy was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal against Oregon State on Oct. 13 and leading a defense that shut down Kevin Forrest in Cal's 3-2 (1OT) win over Washington on Oct. 15.
This was Purdy's first Pac-10 Player of the Week award and the Bears' 10th such honor overall. He is Cal's second-leading scorer (9 points) and goalscorer (4).
Against the Beavers, Purdy hit a 30-yard free kick in the 85th minute to give Cal a 1-0 victory. The Huskies' Forrest, who at the time led the Pac-10 with 23 points, had just two shots, no goals and no assists against Purdy and the Bears.
After Cal's 2-0 win over Stanford on Oct. 20 in Berkeley, Soccer Times picked Purdy to its "Best of the Rest" list for the defender's play in shutting out the Cardinal.