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NCAA COLLEGE NOTEBOOK

UCI Could Be Shut Out of Title Race

October 31, 2000|PAUL McLEOD

The Big West Conference women's soccer race has been turned upside down as it enters the final week of the regular season.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo took over first place and dropped host UC Irvine from first to fourth with a 1-0 victory Sunday. The Anteaters have been shut out in three consecutive games, and have not scored in the last 277 minutes, prompting Coach Marine Cano to say that he is going to make major lineup changes this week.

"Our defense has been good, but when the opportunity [to score] comes and we have the ball, we just don't put it away," Cano said. "There's no excuse for that."

For Irvine to win the title and an automatic NCAA playoff berth, it needs to win at Santa Barbara Wednesday and at home against Cal State Fullerton Friday, and have Santa Barbara win Friday at San Luis Obispo.

Two wins by Santa Barbara would earn the Gauchos the title by virtue of the Big West tiebreaker. Cal State Fullerton lost twice last week to fall out of contention.

MEN'S PLAYOFF SET

Fullerton and Irvine are assured berths in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's soccer postseason tournament, but the Pacific Division champion--which will host the event--is still to be determined.

First-place Fullerton (12-4-1, 5-0-1) can clinch the top spot with a victory over visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Saturday. Second-place UC Irvine (11-6-1, 4-1-1) plays its final conference game Sunday at San Diego State.

San Jose State (16-0-1, 8-0) has clinched first place in the Mountain Division and is ranked No. 1 in the National Soccer Coaches Assn. poll. Denver (8-5-1, 4-2) is assured of second.

The four-team tournament will be held Nov. 10 and 12 at the Pacific Division champion.

Fullerton Coach Al Mistri said he thinks the Titans' 3-2 overtime victory over UCLA last week will boost their chances for an NCAA at-large berth if they don't win the automatic bid. Fullerton moved back into the top 20 in the coaches' poll this week, ranked No. 18.

NOTABLE

The surprising eighth-place finish posted by Irvine sophomore Tessa Cendejas at last week's Big West Conference cross-country championships was a career best. Irvine competes at the NCAA Division I West Regional Nov. 11. . . . Sophomore Matt Okoro, a 6-7 forward from Buena Park High, intends to redshirt for the Irvine men's basketball team. . . . Long Beach State senior Jennifer Reott, formerly of El Dorado High, scored her 10th career goal, a school record for the three-year-old women's soccer program, in a 4-1 victory over Pacific recently. . . The Chapman women's soccer team (15-4-1) set a school record for regular-season victories and shutouts (13). Chapman hosts UC Santa Cruz at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the opening round of the NCAA Division III West Regional. . . . The Cal State Fullerton women's gymnastics team is having a Meet The Team Day at 2 p.m. Sunday at the gymnastics workout room on the second floor of Titan Gym. The Titans open the season Jan. 14 against UCLA. . . . For the fourth time this season, the Golden West women's soccer team has had to cancel a game because it cannot field enough players. The Rustlers (0-17) will not meet defending state champion Cypress today as scheduled. . . . The Orange Empire Conference water polo tournaments will be Thursday through Saturday at Cypress College. Regular-season champion Golden West is top-seeded in both men's and women's pairings.

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*Staff writers Lon Eubanks and Peter Yoon contributed to this report.

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To reach us send e-mail to paul.mcleod@latimes.com or lon.eubanks@latimes.com.

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