Samantha Mewis steps up on offense at UCLA
Her role, on and off the field, is changing this season on the UCLA women’s soccer team, a program ranked fifth in the Division 1 preseason poll.
Samantha Mewis did not score in the Bruins’ first two games, convincing victories over Northeastern (4-0) and Cal State Northridge (3-0). But with the graduation of leading scorer Zakiya Bywaters , the 2012 Pac-10 Player of the Year, the expectation is that the former Whitman-Hanson Regional High standout will need to step forward as a scorer this season.
The 5-foot-11 junior midfielder netted three goals and three assists in 16 games last season after missing the team’s first six games while leading the United States to a gold medal at the FIFA U-20 World Championships in Japan.
She knows that her role this year will include creating more offense.
“Zakiya isn’t here anymore, so we’ll need to spread out the scoring,” said Mewis, who helped set up a goal against Northeastern when she wove the ball through the defense to Rosie White , who scored on her own rebound. “I’ll probably play attacking center mid and some forward. I want to be a scoring threat. It’s a goal of mine to score more goals this year. Mentally, I’ll need to be up for every game.”
It did not take long for first-year UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell to realize that the 20-year-old Mewis is a special talent.
“She can strike the ball as well as any college player I’ve seen in a while,” said Cromwell, who previously guided the University of Central Florida to 11 NCAA appearances in 14 seasons. “She is one of those players who has the full package. We definitely need her around the goal because her finishing ability is very good and she likes to shoot. She is constantly looking to create offense. She is both a goal scorer and a playmaker.”
Mewis, the country’s top high school recruit in 2011, racked up 77 goals and 34 assists in her career at Whitman-Hanson, leading the Panthers to the Division 1 South Sectional title in 2010.
This season, she is taking on a larger leadership role to help ease the transition for a talented freshman class. An English major, she is also dabbling in digital media, authoring a weekly blog on the UCLA website, called “Mew’s Views.”
Her blog posts have already covered the lingering bad taste left from UCLA’s 2-1 loss to Stanford in the NCAA Elite Eight last season. The Bruins (18-3-2) lost just twice during the regular season, including another 2-1 decision to Stanford.
The two teams hook up again Oct. 10.
“We’ve had that date circled on the calendar for a long time,” said Mewis. “They were both 2-1 games and we were winning 1-0 and gave up the lead both times. They are a really good team but know we’re on the same level as them. We really want another chance to play them.”
Mewis is an accomplished player on the international circuit, having played in tournaments in Japan, New Zealand, and Guatemala. She returned home to Hanson in early June and was at Gillette Stadium to watch her older sister, Kristie, score a goal for the US women in a 4-1 win over Korea.
Mewis, on track to graduate in December 2014, hopes to follow her older sister into the National Women’s Soccer League. The US national team may be an option, too.
For now, her focus is on leading UCLA to a national title. At a school that owns 109 NCAA titles, women’s soccer has yet to bring home a championship.
“We have a great freshman class and lot of returning juniors and seniors,” said Mewis. “We want to win a national championship this year. It would mean a lot for the school for us to win and as a team it would mean a lot if we pulled it all together. It would be one of the coolest things ever, and I’m really excited to see if we can do it.”
Kristie Mewis moves on to pro, full national teams
It has been quite a summer for Kristie Mewis.
The 2013 Boston College grad netted her first goal in senior international play with her tally against Korea in front of 13,000 in Foxborough. She followed up that marker with her first goal as a professional for FC Kansas City of the National Women’s Soccer League.
Her goal proved to be the winner in a 3-2 victory over Portland as FC Kansas City locked up a spot in the NWSL playoffs. As a rookie, Mewis started 20 games on defense and was generally regarded as the reason FC Kansas City had the best defensive team in the league.
Last week she was named to the US women’s national team roster for a Sept. 3 showdown against Mexico at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Magliozzi piling up saves for Brooklyn Cyclones
Milton’s Johnny Magliozzi pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Sunday to earn his seventh save for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Single A affiliate of the New York Mets. Magliozzi, selected in the 17th round (No. 506 overall) in June’s Major League Baseball draft after two successful seasons at the University of Florida, has a 1.59 earned run average and 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings at Brooklyn. He recorded his first save by striking out the side at Lowell on July 24. The 5-10, 180-pound right-hander had 12 saves for the Gators in 2013, falling one shy of the school’s single-season record.John R. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.