Jumping Juniper! Women’s Soccer Romps

Recovering from a disappointing season last year, the Lady Anteaters are off to a good start in 2009-’10 as they look to claim the Big West title.

UCI improved their overall record with a 2-0 shutout of Bowling Green at the UC Riverside Tournament at UCR Soccer Stadium on Sunday. The goals were scored by freshman Mar Rodriguez and junior Milana Shabestari.

Third-year Head Coach, Scott Juniper, leads a team dependant on a youth movement this year to carry them. Despite the fact that the team only has three seniors, UCI has started the season in great form, going 7-1-1 through their first nine games this season.

After dropping the opener 2-0 against Arizona State, the team rebounded nicely by winning against the University of Arizona, the University of Nevada and winning the UCI Invitational by beating both Fresno State and Southern Utah. The UCI Invitational showed the strength of this year’s squad, especially junior Keeper Danielle de Seriere, who did not allow a single goal throughout the tournament.

UCI won big in both its next matches — 3-0 over Fresno State and 4-0 over Southern Utah. Against Fresno State, the score was tied 0-0 at half-time, but the Lady Anteaters came out of the break energized, getting goals from Dana Sanderlin, Lexi Kopf and Sarah Devine. Following that win, UCI was matched up against Southern Utah, who they destroyed 4-0. Tournament MVP Tanya Taylor opened the floodgates in the 18th minute, and UCI added three other goals later in the game.

UCI players dominated the All-Tournament team, claiming 5 of the 12 spots, significantly higher than any other team in the tourney. Led by junior Tanya Taylor, junior keeper Danielle de Seriere, Sanderlin and co-captains Kate Berrini and Alyssa Humphrey also were chosen to the All-Tournament Team. Amazingly, this was the second year in a row that both Berrini and Humphrey were selected to the All-Tournament Team. The 4-0 victory over Southern Utah marked a five-game winning streak, Irvine’s longest since opening the 1998 season 5-0.

Unfortunately, that streak was broken in the Lady Anteaters’ next match, a non-conference game against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which was a grueling effort that ended with the score tied 1-1 after two overtimes. Dana Sanderlin quickly gave UCI the lead with a beautiful shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but UNLV fought back, adding the last goal of the game. Although the match ended in a tie, UCI was clearly the more dominant team as indicated by their 11 shots on goal compared to just five for the Rebels. This match showed the huge strides the Anteaters have made from just last year, where they slumped to a 2-0 defeat by the same Rebels.

The Anteaters got back to their winning ways in their opening match of the University of California, Riverside Invitational against Utah Valley State, winning 2-0. UCI dominated from the get-go with huge contributions from two freshmen. First, Rodriquez slotted home a goal off an assist from Humphrey in the sixty-fourth minute and then freshman Jackie Samis added another goal, clinching the win with a goal with only minutes left in the game off an assist from Shabestari. De Seriere was once again rock solid in goal for the Anteaters — stopping all three shots on goal that the Wolverines took. This gave her an impressive four shutouts on the year out of only eight games. The Anteaters meanwhile took nine shots on goal, seven of which were saved by Wolverines keeper Tasha Bell.

UCI will next host Washington on 9-25-09 at 7:00 p.m.