Golden Eagle Athletics | Spotlight

Golden Eagles seek to soar in fall openers

Cal State L.A. is home to top teams in volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer

Picture of two CSULA soccer players.
Pictured left: Melina Barragan, the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American in 2010, returns for Cal State L.A.’s women’s soccer team. Pictured right: Julian Ringhof earned first-team All-West Region honors last season and is a key returner for Cal State L.A.’s men’s soccer team this year.

With a leg up on the competition, Cal State L.A.’s men’s soccer team, ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation for a second straight year in 2010, will host the first home event of the fall campaign when the Golden Eagles entertain West Region opponent Saint Martin’s on Thursday, Sept. 1, 4:30 p.m., at Jesse Owens Track in the Billie Jean King Sports Complex. The Golden Eagles will also host Colorado Mesa in a home game on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 4:30 p.m.

Cal State L.A. began the 2010 season ranked No. 12 in the country and was the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for two weeks in September. The Golden Eagles finished the season with a 9-7-1 overall record and posted its fifth straight winning season, the longest stretch of winning seasons since 1980-85.

Cal State L.A. is 64-30-12 over the past five seasons and has reached the NCAA West Region championship match three times during that span.

All-West Region defender Julian Ringhof returns to the team for his second year, as does Taylor Rivas, who was one of only three players to start in all 17 games last season. Led by Ringhof and Rivas, the Golden Eagles allowed only 22 goals in 17 games and had seven shutouts.

Also kicking it into high gear, Cal State L.A.’s women’s soccer team, which captured its second straight California Collegiate Athletic Association South Division championship and advanced to the conference title game for a second straight year in 2010, also opens its 2011 season on Thursday, Sept. 1, against Saint Martin’s at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles will host Grand Canyon on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.

The Golden Eagles were 15-4-1 last season and earned a 13-3 conference mark. Cal State L.A., which won its first conference championship in women’s soccer in 2009, has a 32-7-3 overall record over the past two seasons. The Golden Eagles finished the season ranked 19th in the country. Cal State L.A. reached the NCAA playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

Proving that the best offense is a good defense, All-American defender Melina Barragan, 2010 CCAA Defender of the Year, returns for the Golden Eagles to help the team prepare to carry on without two-time All-American Liz Franco, the program’s all-time leading scorer. Franco concluded her four-year career with 104 total points and a conference record 40 assists.

Seven of Cal State L.A.’s home doubleheaders in men’s and women’s soccer will be played in September, including the conference openers on Friday, Sept. 9, against UC San Diego.

Picture of CSULA women’s volleyball players.
Cal State L.A.’s volleyball team reacts after posting a big late-season win over Sonoma State in the Eagles Nest that helped secure a seventh consecutive NCAA playoff berth.

Cal State L.A.’s volleyball team, which posted its 14th consecutive winning season and qualified for the NCAA playoffs for a seventh straight year in 2010, will play its first six matches away from home, beginning with a two-day tournament at Cal State San Bernardino on Friday, Sept. 2.

The Golden Eagles will play their first home game on Friday, Sept. 16, against Cal State San Bernardino at 7 p.m.

Cal State L.A. was 13-9 in conference play and 16-11 overall last season. The Golden Eagles finished strongly, winning five of their last six matches to reach the playoffs as a No. 7 seed but fell to No. 2 seed Seattle Pacific in five sets in the playoffs.

Junior Marquis Mora, who earned All-Conference honors last season, leads a talented returning squad, including Natalia Gonzalez, who led the team in kills in 2010. The Golden Eagles will also welcome back All-Conference setter Kaylynne Taeatafa, who earned All-CCAA honors in 2009 but missed the 2010 season due to an injury.

Cal State L.A.’s cross country team, which won the West Region championship in 2006 and a conference title in 2007, will head South for its opener on Friday, Sept. 2, to UC San Diego. The Golden Eagles will also compete in invitationals at UC Riverside, Pomona-Pitzer and Cal State Northridge before the conference championships hosted by Sonoma State on Oct. 22.

Maritza Hernandez, the CCAA 10,000-meter champion in outdoor track, will lead the Golden Eagles’ list of talented returners.

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