[TOP 25 SPOTLIGHT] The coaching change at UCLA has brought with it a makeover in the Bruins' roster. B.J. Snow, who took over for Jill Ellis in January, started six first-year players and 10 saw action in No. 8 UCLA's 2-0 win on opening day at Cal State Northridge.
When Ellis left to take a position in player development at U.S. Soccer, UCLA had already assembled arguably the country's best recruiting classes. The 2011 incoming class was surely the deepest.
It included transfer Chelsea Stewart and Rose White, who represented Canada and New Zealand, respectively, at the Women's World Cup, and Samantha Mewis, who has played for the USA at the U-17 and U-20 World Cups.
Stewart, White and Mewis started against Northridge along with freshmen Caprice Dydasco, Abby Dahlkemper and Courtney Proctor.
Dydasco, who was recruited out of Hawaii, helped set up the first UCLA goal scored by star Sydney Leroux. Stewart fed White for the insurance goal.
Fellow freshman Kyle McCarthy and Sarah Killion also saw their first college action, along with Charney Burk, a senior transfer from Portland, and Crystal Shaffie, a red-shirt freshman.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for Snow was the availability of Jenna Richmond. The sophomore tore her ACL in last year's NCAA Tournament but made a successful return to the Bruin lineup as a reserve.
The 2010 season did not go as the Bruins hoped. Losses to Northwestern, Colorado and Pepperdine signaled things weren't right in Westwood, but they got worse when the Bruins lost three Pac-10 games in a row -- and four out of five games.
UCLA's season ended with a 3-0 loss in the rain at Stanford in the third round of the NCAA Tournament and ended a string of seven straight appearances at the Women's College Cup.
Ellis exited without an elusive national championship. Snow is only 33 and has risen quickly through the coaching ranks at UCLA -- from volunteer assistant to full-time coach in the span of just one year, then to assistant head coach in 2009.