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Anteaters' seasons end cruelly

November 29, 2010
  • [Scott Juniper is entering his fourth season as the UC Irvine women's soccer coach.] *** []
[Scott Juniper is entering his fourth season as the UC… (Courtesy UCI, Daily…)

Soccer is excruciating. Just ask the men's and women's coaches and players at UC Irvine.

The UCI men were denied an NCAA Tournament bid, despite being ranked as high as No. 7 and being ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the West Region for most of the season.

The Anteaters' women saw their season end in the round of 16 on a golden goal late in the second overtime against Washington.

UCI women's coach Scott Juniper greeted reporters after the Washington game with: "Can you guys spell Grrrr?"

Even Washington Coach Lesle Gallimore, who spent some time as a student at UCI and who advanced past the second round by virtue of a 10-9 penalty-kick advantage at Portland, was quick to recognize the fickle fate that can and, inevitably does, rear its cruel head for all but the most fortunate teams.

"I hate soccer, have I told anyone yet?" Gallimore said with a smile after her team devastated UCI on Sept. 20. "I can't stand soccer. I don't know why I coach it. Its cruel. It's a cruel sport. It's one of those things where it's never good to be on the losing end and there are times when you feel like you've done everything you can and you still don't come out victorious."

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With the benefit of some perspective, Juniper found some poignant words about the breakthrough season of his 19-3-2 squad that included the program's first Big West Conference regular-season title and first NCAA Tournament appearance.

"Regardless of the record, regardless of the wins, regardless of the championships, you have to ask yourself if you pursued victory with honor," Juniper said in his periodic newsletter sent Sunday. "There are a lot of accomplishments to talk about but to be able to answer a very big yes to this question is what makes me most proud of what this team has accomplished. Ultimately, isn't this a defining measure of success in any endeavor?"

A pair of local products are still helping their respective college programs increase their measure of success this season.

Newport Coast resident Camille Levin, a junior utility player at Stanford, has helped the No. 1 national seed reach the College Cup, the sport's version of the final four. Levin, who received honorable mention in All-Pac 10 voting, has started all 24 games for the 22-0-2 Cardinal, who meet Boston College in one semifinal Friday in Cary, N.C. Levin, who was a high school All-American at Tarbut V'Torah in Irvine, has 11 assists, second-best on the team, and has scored one goal.

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