UCI women make history

September 27, 2010
  • UC Irvine sophomore Mar Rodriguez (15) was named MVP of the Anteater Invitational that UCI won.
UC Irvine sophomore Mar Rodriguez (15) was named MVP of… (Kent Treptow, Daily…)

Danielle de Seriere can't stop smiling.

The senior goalkeeper is one of many reasons the UC Irvine women's soccer team is off to an 8-1-2 start and has earned the program's first national ranking.

And de Seriere said Monday during taping for the year's first edition of the Blue & Gold Report radio program that she was anything but indifferent about the Anteaters' noteworthy opening.

"It's awesome," said de Seriere, who has posted four shutouts to help Coach Scott Juniper's squad outscore teams, 25-11, this season. "I'm so excited."

UCI has generated excitement among some pollsters, as it was ranked No. 23 by Soccer America on Monday. The 'Eaters, who have won five straight and are unbeaten in their last eight, heading into Friday's Big West Conference opener against visiting Pacific at 7 p.m., are also ranked No. 3 in the West Region by the National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America.


UCI has outscored foes, 20-6, during the recent unbeaten streak and bested foes by a combined 10-2 margin during the five-game winning streak.

Juniper's squad has beaten San Diego and Oregon State, both ranked No. 17 at the time, and also tied then-No. 14-ranked Cal.

Senior forward Tanya Taylor leads the offense with six goals and three assists, while junior forward Lexi Kopf has chipped in four goals and one assist.

Sophomore midfielder Mar Rodriguez (three goals and one assist) was named MVP of the four-team Anteater Invitational, which UCI won Sunday after producing its second win in as many tournament contests.

Rodriguez, a member of the Under-20 Mexican national team that competed in the U-20 World Cup over the summer in Germany, has eight career goals. Six of those have been game-winners.

Rodriguez and others, including returning first-team all-conference junior midfielder Judy Christopher, have helped UCI bolster its collective confidence, de Seriere said.

"Everyone has the same mentality," she said. "We all want to win the Big West. We're playing for each other and there are no cliques on this team. I tell our defenders 'If we are not scored upon, we're going to be national champions.' Everything has changed from last year."

Taylor, Christopher and sophomore Alexis Rafael joined de Seriere on the all-tournament team over the weekend.

UCI enters the conference campaign with the most wins of any Big West team. Long Beach State is 7-3-1 and UC Davis is 5-3-1.

UCI plays host to UC Davis Sunday at 1 p.m. and visits Long Beach State on Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.

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