The Bruins take a break from Pac-12 competition this weekend when No. 22 UCLA men’s soccer (8-4) hosts Loyola Marymount (5-8) on Saturday.
The matchup against the Lions, however, presents a different challenge – playing against an alum.
LMU’s head coach Paul Krumpe graduated from UCLA in 1986 and won a national championship both as a player and as an assistant coach for the Bruins.
Krumpe was the co-captain of the 1985 NCAA champion team – the school’s first men’s soccer championship. Before Krumpe accepted the coaching job at LMU, he was an assistant coach for the Bruins for three seasons. UCLA had a record of 56-9-1 in that span while reaching three NCAA regionals and winning the national championship in 1997.
“(Krumpe) is an integral part in the history of our program and is someone that obviously performed well when he was here,” said coach Jorge Salcedo. “He still loves UCLA and is a supporter of our program because of his lineage, but he’s done great things at (LMU) as well.”
This is Krumpe’s 21st season as the Lions’ head coach. Despite their losing record this year, the Lions will enter Saturday with a 2-1 conference record, which puts them in third place behind No. 9 Portand and No. 4 Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference.
Senior defender Erik Holt said this break in conference play is an opportunity for the Bruins to keep developing momentum.
“We’re all excited to keep it going,” Holt said. “We’ve had a good string of results these past three games and we’re just looking to build and get better.”
The Lions have been shutout five times this season and have had only one game where they scored more than two goals. Their leading scorer is forward Kris Fourcand with three goals and their leader in assists is midfielder Antonio Porreco with four.
As for the Bruins, their leading scorer is close to getting back on the pitch.
Junior forward Mohammad Kamara has been sidelined the past three weeks with injuries and Salcedo said that Kamara will be back very soon.
“There’s a good chance that he’ll be back on Saturday,” Salcedo said. “He’s close to being back full time in practice and it looks like some time in the near future, he’ll be back in the field.”
The race for the Pac-12 title getting tighter
For two weeks in a row, UCLA and Stanford have been tied for the Pac-12 lead.
Freshman goalkeeper Justin Garces, who has started every game in Pac-12 play, said that the team’s success has come from the competitiveness in training.
“With the goalies, we go at it and build off of each other,” Garces said. “As a team, everybody has been competing and going at it hard every day in practice all season long.”
The rest of the conference found themselves six points back of the Bruins and Cardinal last week, but some of the teams have started to close the gap. Oregon State is now three points out of first after beating Stanford and Cal last weekend.
Salcedo and the Bruins said that their work is far from over with six games left to play, including road games against both Washington and Oregon State.
“You see the gap that us and Stanford have made against the other teams, but that doesn’t mean that there is a game in talent and competitiveness,” Salcedo said. “Washington, Oregon State, Cal and San Diego State are all teams that can beat anybody in the conference.”