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L.A. UNIVERSITY BEAT / WENDY WITHERSPOON

This Team Runs Hot Thanks to Fawcett

November 01, 1994|WENDY WITHERSPOON

Perhaps the coaches of the third-ranked Stanford women's soccer team thought they were being generous when they agreed to come to town for a game against UCLA, a school with a fledging program.

Perhaps they thought that totally dominating a team would be a nice tuneup for the playoffs.

Think again, Stanford.

Cardinal players are scratching their heads, pondering the Bruins' stunning 1-1 overtime tie on Saturday on the North Soccer Field.

Women's soccer at UCLA is in its second year of existence, having grown out of club roots.

Stanford (14-1-1) has had an NCAA Division I program for 10 years. The Cardinal advanced to the NCAA tournament semifinals last season and is one of four teams--the others are Connecticut, North Carolina and Santa Clara--to have appeared in postseason play each of the last four years. Last year, Pacific 10 Conference coaches voted Stanford the conference champion, although official conference play does not begin until next season. Stanford's only loss this season was to second-ranked North Carolina (18-1-1).

UCLA (10-3-3) is about as young a team as they come. The Bruins start nine freshmen and two sophomores, so the tie against such a powerhouse was remarkable.

"It just proves to my girls and to a lot of people that we are a team to contend with and we are a growing program," said Joy Fawcett, UCLA's coach.

Clearly, Fawcett has recruited some talented players. The question is, why did they choose UCLA?

Ask them and the answer is almost always the same: It's the coach.

Fawcett, in her second year at UCLA, has been a member of the women's U.S. national team since 1987, helping the United States win the World Championship in 1991. Before joining the national team, Fawcett, whose maiden name is Biefeld, was the Southern Section 4-A Division player of the year for Huntington Beach Edison High in 1986. She also is the all-time leading scorer for California, where she scored 55 goals.

Fawcett's ties to the national team appealed to many recruits.

"She had a lot of experience on the national team and that's something I would like to do," said freshman Traci Arkenberg, UCLA's leading scorer with 12 goals and four assists. "That is one way of getting there, through her. She brings into our practices a lot of the same drills that they do on the national team. She treats us as if we are national team players, making everyone compete against each other."

Fawcett also practices with the team.

"She's very good," Arkenberg said. "It's a lot of fun to play with her."

Gretchen Overgaard, UCLA's freshman goalie, said players also chose the new program because of the chance to play right away.

"It was kind of like an opportunity I couldn't pass up," Overgaard said. "To build a program from the grass roots really appealed to me. I could have gone to an already nationally recognized school and been just another member. But here, I could really contribute and make an impact right away and that was very important."

Overgaard (8-2-3) has made an impact. Her 0.46 goals-against average ranks fifth in the nation.

She was highly recruited at Monte Vista High in Danville and took trips to several nationally ranked programs. Her decision to attend UCLA was more than a little surprising.

"It was a big risk," she said, "but I'm glad I took it."

*

The Loyola Marymount women's volleyball team has toiled quietly this season, barely making the national rankings at No. 24. But with a balanced attack, the Lions, 15-7 overall and 9-1 and in first place in the West Coast Conference, have put together quite a season. Consider:

--Four Loyola Marymount players have been selected as the conference player of the week this season--Tate Medley, a sophomore middle blocker; Kim Blankinship, a sophomore outside hitter; Mardell Wrensch, a junior middle blocker, and Tracy Holman, a freshman setter.

--Loyola Marymount defeated Long Beach State on Sept. 10, its first victory over the 49ers since 1990.

--The Lions are 11-2 in their last 13 matches. Before a 15-13, 2-15, 15-12, 2-15, 15-13 loss to Pepperdine on Saturday, Loyola Marymount had won a school-record 12 consecutive West Coast Conference matches, dating back to last season.

Notes

Karen Hecox, a senior at UCLA, successfully defended her title at the Pac-10 cross-country championships Saturday at Palo Alto. Hecox, the only UCLA distance runner to win a conference championship, finished the five-kilometer course in 17 minutes. Shelley Taylor, a UCLA junior, finished sixth in 17:31. On the men's side, Mebrahtom Keflezighi, a UCLA freshman, finished the eight-kilometer course in 24:29 to take second place, 25 seconds behind the winner, Martin Keino, of Arizona. Keino is the son of two-time Olympic gold medalist Kip Keino of Kenya.

It was a tough night for a couple of California volleyball teams Saturday in Washington. No. 23 Washington State, 15-8 overall and 7-6 in Pac-10, defeated No. 11 USC (15-5, 9-4), 15-9, 18-16, 15-10, and unranked Washington (12-9, 7-6) defeated third-ranked UCLA, (22-3, 11-2), 15-13, 3-15, 11-15, 15-12, 15-13. "Their programs have been on the rise," said UCLA Coach Andy Banachowski. "Washington played very well. We just barely beat them down here and they just returned the favor on us. They are a big, powerful hitting team and that type of team seems to give us some difficulty this year."

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