'Eaters pile up honors

UC Irvine, which won its first Big West Conference regular-season women's soccer title by posting the only unbeaten, untied regular-season conference record in history, dominated the all-conference honors announced Tuesday.

UCI senior forward Tanya Taylor was named Offensive Player of the Year, while junior CoCo Goodson is the Defensive Player of the Year. Senior Danielle de Seriere is the Goalkeeper of the Year and Anteaters' head man Scott Juniper is Coach of the Year.

Senior defender Nikki Forrest, junior midfielder Judy Christopher and sophomore midfielder Mar Rodriguez join the aforementioned UCI players on the first team.

No. 16-ranked UCI (17-2-2), which had its 17-game unbeaten streak and its 14-game winning streak snapped with a 1-0 loss to Long Beach State in the conference tournament final Sunday, will make its NCAA Tournament debut Friday at home against Arizona State.

Taylor, a second-team all-conference performer last season, led conference players in goals (10) and assists (nine). Possessing superior speed and quickness, Taylor excelled, despite consistently drawing extra attention from opposing defenders. She ranks fifth at UCI in career goals (23), third in assists (18) and fourth in points (64, two points for a goal and one for an assist).

Goodson anchored a back line that, along with de Seriere helped produce 10 shutouts and limited foes to 16 goals in 21 games. The 16 goals were the fewest allowed by any Big West Team. Goodson, a transfer from Texas in her first season with the Anteaters, also scored eight goals, tied for second among conference players. At 5-foot-11, her size and tenacity helped her win balls in the air and her skill and agility made her a formidable defender. The superior velocity she put on the ball with her kicks also allowed her to trigger set pieces. Five of her goals were game-winners, most in the conference.

Christopher, a defensive midfielder, is a repeat first-team selection. Her aggressive, determined play helped the Anteaters control the midfield. She not only was an extra defensive presence, but also served as a catalyst for the offense, efficiently connecting with teammates to move the ball forward. She had one goal, a game-winner, and four assists.

Forrest, another member of the back line, added to her defensive skills by taking many corner kicks, which led to the majority of her seven assists, second-most on the team. She also scored one goal.

One of three team captains, de Seriere's 10 shutouts this season give her 30 for her career, a school record and No. 2 all-time in conference annals. Her career goals-against average also ranks No. 1 at UCI and her 0.76 goals-against average this season led all conference keepers. She started all 21 games and her 2,081 minutes played is a conference single-season record.

Rodriguez an attacking midfielder who spent some time at forward, helped Mexico's under-20 national team reach the quarterfinals in the U20 World Cup last summer in Germany. She has six goals, four of which were game-winners, and three assists. Eight of her 11 career goals have been game-winners.

Juniper, in his fourth season, has spurred a remarkable turnaround since assuming control.

With a 48-25-8 record he ranks third all-time in career winning percentage among Big West coaches (.642).

Taylor, Goodson and Juniper are the first from UCI to claim their respective individual honors.

Lexi Kopf, a speedy junior forward who produced six goals and two assists, received honorable mention.

Lindsay Bullock of Long Beach State has been named Midfielder of the Year and Pacific's Brittni Beeman is the Freshman of the Year.

— From staff reports

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