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College Update: St. Francis' McAleenan in middle of everything for UNLV

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Ryan McAleenan (St. Francis, 2012) University of Las Vegas Nevada sophomore: A journey that saw the Glendale native head from San Jose State to College of the Canyons hit a new peak when the 6-foot-2, 230-pound sophomore earned his first start with the Rebels at linebacker Saturday at San Diego State.

While UNLV (1-4) dropped its Mountain West Conference West Division opener, 34-17, McAleenan certainly made an impact as the middle linebacker finished second on the squad in tackles with seven, trailing only Tau Lotulelei's team-best total of eight tackles.

McAleenan turned in a pair of valuable stops for his squad, including when he combined with teammate Matt Lea to hold Aztecs receiver Jemond Hazely to five yards on a third and 16 for San Diego State (2-2) at its 44. The gain resulted in an Aztecs punt at three-minute mark of the third quarter with the Rebels trying to rally from a 28-10 deficit.

McAleenan earlier stuffed running back Donne Pumphrey on a second and goal from the two-yard line on the first play of the second quarter.

For the season, McAleenan has 13 tackles and has made an appearance in all five games for the Rebels.

Perhaps the sophomore will get a chance for revenge Saturday as the Rebels make their first trip to San Jose State, McAleenan's old stomping grounds, since 1996 for a 5 p.m. tilt.

Eric Verso (St. Francis, 2011) Stanford University redshirt junior: If there's been a catalyst for Stanford's early success, perhaps no one is more deserving of that designation than Verso.

The junior striker currently leads his squad with nine points as Verso has connected on three goals and three assists for Stanford, which has jumped out of the gate to a 6-1 mark this season.

Verso has played in six of seven matches for the Cardinal, with his last action coming Sept. 21 as No. 24-ranked Stanford upset visiting No. 11 Delaware, 2-1.

In that contest, Verso kick-started his team's offense with a goal in the 54th minute, which gave Stanford a 1-0 lead.

While Delaware responded with a tally in the 57th minute, Jordan Morris secured arguably Stanford's biggest win this season with a score in the 66th minute to put the home team ahead for good, 2-1.

Even though Verso was out of the lineup for Stanford's 3-0 nonconference home victory over Gonzaga on Friday, he's expected to be back Thursday as the Cardinal opens up Pac-12 play at Oregon State at 7 p.m.

Verso will get a little exposure Sunday, though, as Stanford's contest at Washington, slated for 5 p.m., will be shown on the Pac-12 Network.

Savannah Viola (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 2012) University of New Mexico sophomore: The midfielder enjoyed the thrill of delivering a game-winning score for her team in the Mountain West Conference season opener no less.

Viola scored in the 55th minute off an assist from junior Dylan O'Conner that turned out to be the game-winner as the Lobos (3-3-1, 1-0-1) topped host Fresno State on Friday.

New Mexico followed up that victory with a 1-1 road tie versus San Jose State on Sunday.

So far this season, Viola has one goal and one assist with nine shots taken for the Lobos, who are 3-1-1 over their last five contests.

New Mexico next hosts Air Force on Friday at 7 p.m.

Aaron Sugimoto (Flintridge Prep, 2013) Occidental College sophomore: The one-time Rebels standout continues to be a valuable contributor for a young Tigers team that includes four underclassmen.

Sugimoto was the Tigers' No. 4 runner at Saturday's Stanford Invitational and helped paced Occidental to 13th with 351 points in the men's non-Division I eight-kilometer race.

Sugimoto finished 85th overall at the elite invitational with a time of 26:19.

The action marked only the second competition of the year for the sophomore, who commenced his season by placing 30th in 27:21 at the UC Irvine Invitational held on campus Sept. 6.

That day, Occidental College finished fourth overall with 93 points.

Next up for the Tigers is the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Saturday, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

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