Bruins Into NCAA Title Game!
Dec. 2, 2000
San Jose, Calif. - Stephanie Rigamat's goal in the 77th minute of play helped lead the sixth-seeded UCLA women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Portland Friday evening in the NCAA College Cup semifinals before 8,870 at San Jose's Spartan Stadium. UCLA (19-3-1) will take on fifth-seeded North Carolina (20-4-0), a 2-1 winner over top-seeded Notre Dame, in Sunday's final beginning at 12:30 p.m. PST. That match can be seen live on ESPN2.
The Bruins are looking to become only the second team ever to win the national title in their first-ever appearance in the Final Four. Florida defeated North Carolina, 1-0 in its first College Cup appearance back in 1998.
Rigamat scored the game-winning goal, her team-leading eighth game-winner of the season, at the 76:29 mark on a cross from Bruin midfielder Venus James. James sent a hard cross from the left side of the box that Rigamat was able to re-direct with her head, flicking it past Portland goalkeeper Cheryl Loveless.
'I wasn't doing well with my feet because it was so wet and slick so I figured I might as well get it done with a header,' said Rigamat in the post-match press conference. 'We just kept pressuring them. (Sarah-Gayle Swanson) and Venus got a great combination and served it up. I had the easy part.'
Swanson, who nearly scored on several attempts in the first half, came inches within putting UCLA ahead in the 38th minute of the match when her volley off a Tracey Milburn cross hit the bottom of the cross bar. Loveless, however, was able to get up and gather the ball before UCLA could take advantage.
Friday's match marked the second meeting ever between UCLA and Portland. The Bruins defeated the Pilots, 1-0 in the first-round of the NCAA Championships back in 1997.
'Obviously we're extremely pleased to advance and have the opportunity to compete for the national championship,' said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. 'I thought it was a tremendous game tonight. Portland played great soccer, and the fans got their moneys worth. One more game - that's kind of our goal. We're excited to get the opportunity to play against North Carolina.'
UCLA is 0-2 all-time against North Carolina. Most recently, the Tar Heels defeated the Bruins 2-0 at the USC Fila Challenge last season.
At No. 6, UCLA has a chance to become the lowest seed ever to win the NCAA Championship.