The weekend MCLA slate is pretty quiet, at least locally, with a number of teams off for spring break and most others playing out of town. Chapman has the most intriguing road trip, playing two of the best programs in the country on a visit to the Rocky Mountains. In Division II, Cal State San Marcos has a tough back-to-back with visits to Concordia and Pepperdine.
No. 5 Chapman, 7-2 and riding a six-game winning streak, embarks on its second big road trip of the season, this time to Colorado. The Panthers play at No. 3 Colorado (9-0) Saturday then at No. 1 Colorado State (9-0) on Monday. Chapman swept No. 4 Arizona State (8-1) and No. 21 Grand Canyon (5-3) on an Arizona swing three weeks ago and hasn’t lost since falling to No. 8 Oregon 9-8 and No. 6 BYU 11-8 in late February.
Among other Southland Division I teams, UCLA (4-4, 0-1) visits UNLV (5-4, 2-2) in an SLC divisional matchup, and Loyola Marymount (2-7, 1-2) travels to play San Diego State (7-2, 0-2).
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (6-3) and Claremont (4-3) are off until Tuesday, while USC is on spring break and doesn’t play again until March 30.
Cal State San Marcos (5-1, 1-1), coming off its first loss of the season — 13-4 to Cal State Fullerton, faces it’s second consecutive stern test Saturday with a trip to Irvine to play No. 4 Concordia (6-1, 3-0). Sunday, the Cougars venture further north to take on Pepperdine (3-2, 3-0), which leads the SLC North.
I didn’t get to see the San Marcos-Fullerton game last Saturday — won 13-4 by the No. 17 (D-II) Titans (7-3, 1-0) — but from what I heard from both sides it didn’t turn on the anticipated matchup of the high-scoring Cougars’ offense vs. the Titans’ veteran defense. Rather, Fullerton dominated time of possession and never allowed the San Marcos offense to get rolling. The high-scoring attack duo of Kyle Peterson and Dylan Perry scored only two goal, both man-up.
“Coach [Christian] Wheeler really has Fullerton clicking on all cylinders at the perfect time of the year,” San Marco coach Teddy Hicks said via email. “They really are a complete package. Offensively and defensively, they operate as one unit. They played a very solid game.”
It took the Titans a few weeks to figure out their offense after losing Cameron Cole and Chris Cole to transfer, but Fullerton is averaging 15 goals per game its last four and 9.5 for the season. Junior attack Gabe Alamillo (Mater Dei) scored four goals against San Marcos, and junior middie Jeff Lyon (El Toro) had two goals and three assists.
Defensively, the Titans are allowing only 7.2 goals per game for the season.
Not to look ahead, but let’s look ahead: If division-leading Concordia gets past San Marcos on Saturday, the Eagles will have only Fullerton left in conference play. Last year, Fullerton lost the regular-season matchup 15-7, then beat Concordia 10-9 in the SLC playoffs. In 2011, Concordia won in the regular season but Fullerton also bounced back for a playoff victory. The rivalry resumes April 13 at Fullerton.
Fullerton is home to Cal-State Long Beach (1-3, 0-3) this weekend. Elsewhere in the SLC D-II, Biola (2-8, 2-1) takes on Central Washington today in La Mirada, and Cal Lutheran (1-3, 1-2) visits Occidental (4-2, 1-1) on Saturday. Channel Islands (3-5) and Marymount (0-7) are off.
Correction: When we published this initially earlier today, we had the score backward on last year’s regular-season matchup between Fullerton and Concordia. The above paragraph is now corrected.