SoCal MCLA roundup: Gauchos bounce back big; USC posts first win

USC Lacrosse

There were a lot of storylines in play this weekend, but perhaps the biggest was No. 11 UC Santa Barbara’s double-dip against ranked opponents Cal Poly (No. 5) and California (No. 13). The Gauchos came through in good shape following their opening loss to Stanford in overtime, beating the Mustangs 12-3 on the road Saturday and the Bears 9-8 in OT at home Saturday.

USC Ryan Kreston
Sophomore Ryan Kreston had a goal and three assists in USC’s 8-4 win over LMU on Saturday.

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I stayed closer to home and headed out to Loyola Marymount to get a look at USC, which is back in action after sitting out last season (more on that soon). The Trojans had lost their opener 12-10 at D-II Occidental the week before, so this was USC’s first MCLA win since April 7, 2011.

The Trojans were missing a couple of players from the Occidental game — the roster still is somewhat unsettled, coaches told me — but they still managed a late burst to beat the Lions 8-4. Most of USC’s scoring came through the attack, with freshman Kevin Cuellar scoring four goals and picking up two assists and sophomore Ryan Kreston contributing a goal and three assists. Senior goalie Carder Nastri made 13 saves.

Over in Westwood, UCLA held off a late San Diego rally to win its opener 11-9. After San Diego took 1-0 lead, UCLA scored six unanswered to take a 6-1 lead into halftime. The Bruins led 10-3 early in the fourth before the Toreros rallied to within 10-7. Kevin Rowen, a Lacrosse All-Stars contributor and UCLA player, said it’s the first time the Bruins have beaten San Diego, having lost 5-4 in overtime last season and 8-7 in four overtimes in 2011, not to mention a loss in the 2011 SLC playoffs.

The other big storyline involving national rankings came in Division II, where No. 8 Concordia had little trouble with No. 12 St. Mary’s, winning 22-9. I watched the first half of this one via The Lacrosse Network, and the Eagles, with two scrimmages to work from, were clearly superior. They will get a test this weekend, though, as they face No. 1-ranked St. Thomas on Friday night in the Full House Faceoff in Las Vegas. Saturday, Concordia faces Portland.

No. 19 Cal-State Fullerton knocked off St. Mary’s 10-9 on Sunday. The Titans also are headed to Las Vegas this weekend, where they’ll take on Westminster on Friday and UC Santa Cruz on Saturday.

Elsewhere in SoCal MCLA action:

• Claremont won its third in a row to open the season Sunday, beating Channel Islands 17-3. The box score doesn’t provide a lot of insight, but I saw a tweet from Channel Islands assistant coach Chris Panos indicating the Dolphins were called for 25 penalties in the game. As for Claremont, all three of its wins have come against Division II teams — Pepperdine and Biola (18-6 on Saturday) are the others — so I don’t know that we know a lot about the Cougars just yet. They play at San Diego State in two weeks.

• Speaking of San Diego State, the Aztecs lost 14-7 to Grand Canyon, playing its first season in MCLA’s Division I. Sophomore midfielder John Wilson out of Torrey Pines HS scored three goals for SDSU, and freshman attack Jack Vonarb out of Crespi HS scored two and had two assists.

• Saturday, Occidental beat UC Irvine 15-7. No score was reported on the site for Cal Lutheran at Cal State Long Beach. Sunday’s scheduled matchup of Cal Maritime at Marymount-Palos Verdes is listed as postponed.