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December 5, 2008

UCLA seniors end careers after setting new standards
by Kathryn L. Knapp
Editor, ChicagoLand Soccer News

CARY, N.C. – For six straight years the UCLA Bruins have made it to the College Cup. And for six straight years, they’ve fallen short of the national championship. But the senior class has set new standards for UCLA women's soccer.

They’ve lost in the semifinals for the past three years 1-0 in 2008 to North Carolina; 2-1 in 2007 to USC; 2-0 to North Carolina in 2006. In 2005 and 2004, they fell in the finals (4-0 to Portland in 2005 and a PK loss to Notre Dame in 2004. And in 2003 they fell 3-0 to North Carolina in the semis.

The senior class has been among the best in Bruin history. Catherine Calvert, Christina DiMartino, Erin Hardy, Coco Klenert, Caitlyn Mac Kechnie, Ashley Thompson and McCall Zaerboni have led the Bruins to new heights.

“I’m so proud of our team,” senior defender Erin Hardy said. “We love each other. We believe in each other. It didn’t go our way, but we can hold our heads high.”

In 2008 alone, they tied their all-time win record with 22 wins. They also set a new shutout record with 19 (formerly 18 shutouts from 2005). UCLA allowed just six goals all season, outscoring opponents 60-6 and setting a new record (formerly 10 goals allowed in 2000).

“I’ve had a great senior class,” UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis said. “It was a phenomenal season and they were such a big part of it.”

The seniors earned a four-year record of 85-9-6 and posted 62 shutouts. In that tenure they’ve placed first in the Pac-10 Conference every season. The Bruins outscored opponents 246 to 53 from 2005-2008.

“We’re proud we got here all four years,” senior midfielder Christina DiMartino said. “It’s a journey and it’s a hard long road. It’s special and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Goalkeeper Ashley Thompson agreed.

“We have no regrets,” Thompson added. “It just didn’t go our way.”

UCLA is now known as one of the teams to beat. They’ve been in the College Cup seven times since 2000. The team just began play in 1993. Since then they’ve grown to be a national powerhouse. They’ve proven they have staying power. This class fell a bit short of the ultimate goal, but Ellis said she couldn’t be more proud of her team.

“We came out against teams this year fearless,” Ellis said. “If you’re creating chances, you’re in the game. If you’re not coming in here and not competing it’s one thing. But we came in, we competed and we can walk away with our heads held high.”

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